There is no Putin Airline, of course. The flight safety satire video is produced by The Gay Women’s Channel. It uses humor the way activists and advocates often use it, to help point out the ridiculous nature of, in this case, Vladimir Putin’s escalating laws against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, and their supporters.
To be very clear: there’s nothing funny about what’s happening in Putin’s Russia. In fact, it’s a very serious and dangerous situation. There are calls to boycott the 2014 Winter Olympic Games, to be held in Sochi, Russia, and calls to boycott Russian vodka, especially the particularly popular brand of Stolichnaya, or as it’s usually called, Stoli. Apparently Stoli is listening, as John Aravosis at America Blog Gay reports:
… (I)t appears our boycott has gotten the attention of Stoli, which is being particularly singled out by angry gay and trans people, and our allies, worldwide. …
Stoli CEO Val Mendeleev, issued a long letter yesterday talking about how pro-gay Stoli is in the west. Sadly, as Dan Savage notes, Mendeleev didn’t say anything about what Stoli is doing to be pro-gay or pro-trans in Russia itself. Though the Russian press, at least its English-language version, seems to be taking Stolis words as a harsh criticism of Putin.
Later, Aravosis also posted the Gay Women Channel video.
At Huffington Post Canada, a bit about the group who made the video:
… (T)he Gay Women Channel … is behind the popular “˜Gay Women Will Marry Your Boyfriends’ and created the video to help support lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights and equality. …
While the video’s tongue-in-cheek humour may make you laugh, its goal is to spread awareness to Russia’s anti-gay laws which went into effect last June.
Earlier this month, Skift News discovered that the new laws contained a provision that now applies to foreign tourists visiting Russia. The provision allows the Russian government to detain gay or pro-gay foreigners for up to two weeks before deporting them from the country. Actions that could get travellers in trouble include “˜gay-affirmative’ speech, displaying a rainbow flag and same-sex partners holding hands, notes Travel and Escape.
It seems highly doubtful that there will be an actual boycott of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games. And it’s probably just as unlikely Stoli will be able, if willing, to speak out and be heard by Putin. Obviously, though, as Aravosis reports, Stoli is paying attention, and as more gay and lesbian bars stop serving Russian spirits, Stoli will likely keep paying attention. As always in advocacy, it’s very important to make every effort to highlight the, shall we say, “bad acts” of those you’re opposing. Boycotting Russian vodka and making a satirical video are two ways of doing that.
Here’s the bottom line: LGBT people and their allies in Russia are in serious danger. Finding ways to get that news out and to put pressure on those who are in positions to “do something” ““ say, perhaps, NBC, who will carry the Olympic Games; the U.S. Olympic committee; the U.S. government; the U.N. ““ that’s important.
(Putin Airline Capture Via Gay Women Channel)