Several gay nightclubs and bars in Vancouver have taken Russian produced vodka off from their menus following the recent implementation of new anti-gay crackdown laws by the Russian Parliament.
Under the new laws that target youth, homosexuals are restricted from being openly gay in public and are also barred from adopting Russian children. The new anti-gay law also restricts the “spread” of pro-gay propaganda, which includes public protests and any form of media.
Russian police have cracked down on publicly open LGBTQ individuals with not just fines and jail time, but also harsh violence. The police have also turned a blind eye to the surge in violence and harassment against homosexuals by the general public.
Russian is known to be highly traditional society, and recent polls indicate that 90 percent of the population supports the government’s new anti-gay laws.
So far, gay establishments in cities like Los Angeles and Toronto have boycotted Russian made vodka. Vancouver is also among the list of cities, with The Fountainhead Pub being the first in the city to remove their Russian products from their bars. Celebrities Nightclub located directly across the street has also followed in the Fountainhead’s footsteps, and more boycotts by local establishments are expected to be announced in the coming days and weeks.
Russia will be hosting the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi next February. The Fountainhead will not be screening the Sochi Games if the anti-gay laws and violence continue. The safety of LGBTQ athletes and visitors around the world is also in question considering Russian’s hostile environment against homosexuals.
More international action and boycotts against Russian made products and its upcoming Winter Olympics is expected in the coming months.