Latvia. Home of the Homophobe.

It’s catchier than ‘Latvia – The Land that Sings’, don’t you think? Although I can see why the tourist board would go with the latter.

The other day, a friend of mine was horrified when his son came out with ‘two men kissing is wrong’. However, coming from the mouth of a 7-year-old who is just repeating something he heard somewhere and doesn’t fully understand, it’s forgivable – and fixable.

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Hearing something like this from a 27-year-old is far more troubling. (Warning: Prepare to have your mind blown.)

God’s Gift to Men: I hate ‘gays’.

Me: Have you ever met one? 

GGTM: No, but I’d hate to.

Me: What? Why?

GGTM: Y’know. They’d try to convert me. 

Me: Um, why on earth would they try to do that?

GGTM: Because they’re gay. 

Me: When you walk into a nightclub, do you think every woman there wants you? Actually, do you think every woman in this room wants to jump your bones?

GGTM: No, of course not. 

Me: So why would you assume that ALL gay men would find you irresistible?

GGTM: Because they’re gay.

Maybe if he had taken his head out of his ass for a minute or two, he might have been surprised to see that there wasn’t, in fact, a long line of gay men trying to gain access to it. It’s hard to find a positive to a conversation like this one, but if I had to, I’d say that it was that this idiot only made 6 sets of ears bleed in the confined space of a classroom. Far more worrying are the public figures here who feel the same way and have access to the media.

In an interview with openspace.ru, the lead singer of the most successful band Latvia has ever produced, Brain Storm, said that he couldn’t accept homosexuality, or the Riga Pride Parade, as it offended his ‘Christian’ sensibilities. The Oxford English Dictionary gives the informal definition of a Christian as “Having qualities associated with Christians, especially those of decency, kindness, and fairness.” I’m not religious but I don’t see much decency, kindness or fairness in his comments. But maybe they have a different definition in this part of the world?

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It certainly seems so, as Mr Kaupers is not alone. Although homosexuality in Latvia was decriminalised in 1992, some leading political figures would be more than happy to see this decision reversed, saying that it undermines traditional family values. Yeah right. With the highest divorce rate in Europe in 2011, Latvia is really covering itself in glory in this area. Or perhaps they blame ‘the gays’ for this too?

Worse, there are those who actually believe that ‘homosexual’ and ‘paedophile’ are synonyms. I don’t even know where to start…

Of course, there are still people who believe that homophobia is not an issue in Latvia. A friend of mine told me the other day that her university lecturer had set them the assignment of choosing a social problem and trying to find a solution to it. She chose homophobia. He said it wasn’t an issue.

gaypride

What a lovely event to bring your child to…

Let’s take a look at the history of the Pride Parade in Riga and see if you agree with him:

2005: The first Pride Parade is given permission to go ahead. Prime Minister Aigars Kalvitis had opposed the event, saying “Riga should not promote things like that. For sexual minorities to parade in the very heart of Riga, next to the Doma church, is unacceptable.”

2006: The Pride march is banned over “security threats”. Violent protesters throw eggs and human excrement at people.

2007: The Pride march is allowed to go ahead, but inside an enclosed park. Outside the park, demonstrators (outnumbering the participants) hurl abuse at the marchers and throw two explosive devices which explode in the park.

2009: Riga City Council initially revokes permission for the Baltic Pride march.

2012: With the number of police officers in the street almost outnumbering the participants, Riga hosts its most successful and peaceful Gay Pride Parade so far.

(Information found here.)

Researchers at Leipzig Zoo have discovered that chimps that throw shit are actually more intelligent than their non-shit-flinging counterparts. I doubt the same is true of humans.

Perhaps Latvia should be known as ‘The Land that Flings’ instead?

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About BerLinda

Adjusting to life in Germany, after living in Latvia for four years. Should be easy, right?
This entry was posted in Culture and Traditions, Expat, Festivals, Latvia, Love and Relationships, Social Issues, Tolerance and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

155 Responses to Latvia. Home of the Homophobe.

  1. Emmi says:

    Latvians throwing feces at gays… now thats a little harsh…
    As much as I detest homophobia I also don`t like people who think they can tell others how to live. What is considered normal in one country is abnormal in others. We all need to respect each others cultures. If gay marriage is acceptable in USA and UK, well fine, but in other countries it may not be a good thing especially if those countries have a tiny population. I don`t mind gay marriage myself but I believe it takes time for many countires, especially post-Soviet countries to become more tolerant and open-minded. Latvians need to change their attitude regarding gender realtions and homophobia first, then one can talk about gay parades. Those events will only anger people who are mentally not ready for that. They need to learn how to tolerate gay lifestyle first, its really to early for them (and their even more homophobic eastern neighbours) to start celebrating that lifestyle. Besides, certain things can never be changed. Perhaps Latvia, Russia, Poland, Ukraine, Lithuania will never accept gay marriage just like Ireland will never accept womens rights to make a choice concerning her own body. I was shocked when I recently learned that Republic of Ireland has still not legalized abortion. They even hanged midwives who aborted babies in the 50s. Now thats pretty scary to me. On the other hand you never see Lithuanian, Latvian or I dont know, Austrian activists on the streets of Dublin demanding abortion rights for females. And after thinking for a moment, I figured out, maybe the abortion ban is not such a bad idea. What I mean is, what works for one country may never work for another. Instead of critisizing each other, maybe we should tolerate each others traditions and habits and maybe learn from each other instead of bashing. Then hopefully we will all be more tolerant and open minded and many issues will resolve themselves without any changes in legislation.

    • Expat Eye says:

      Absolutely agree with you. And I’m also totally pro-choice. The fact that Ireland hasn’t brought in abortion yet shows that we’re still living in a Catholic backwater in some ways. But then you’ve got some countries who use abortion as a form of contraception which I don’t agree with either.

  2. rower says:

    not sure, if my two cents are not the same as already expressed thoughts… however, i apologise in advance for a long reply.
    okay, to start with – i admit, i’m bi. not gay (with all my respect to all the women in my life).
    first of all – i’m against that “praid” thing. here’s why – i think that this “going against all” is simply a showing off. all this “i’m gay and i’m proud of _it_” attitude… why do not bald people or lefthanded march once for a while? or one could think numbers of purely gene-dependant things – eye color, curliness of hair, hairy hands arms (hell, yessss – i want women with hairy arms march all over the world and demand free depilation, equal rights in showbiz and access to rich, handsome and trustworthy men). so, why sexual orientation must be different? what i really hate is that showing off part. otherwise it’s completely OK for me.
    now to sexuality as it is :
    there have been talks (even scientifically based), that homosexuality is deviation from norm. that it has no “natural” basis. and that it probably must have medical (and not medial!) attention to it. actually, this was one of explanations given to me in 80ies – when i grew up. as for “deviation” – norm is statistical thing, and from genetic POV it’s probably a mutation of some kind. after all – it’s hard to believe, that it’s just a recessive gene, in which case (statistically) one out of 4 would be homosexual, and some couples would definately have all of their numerous children homesexual. after all – homosexuality has no evolutionary (and hence – genetic) advantage over heterosexuality. however there might be some psychological advantages – like one might feel safer to keep together with same-gender person as with other (deeper/better understanding of other’s problems, sympathy, even empathy), probably because of similar past-time experience, and less chance of being abused in any way (as the other party is roughly the same type and calibre as one. and yes, that works for men, too), and last, but not least – one will definately know better how to please (sexually) same gender person (do-to-other-as-you-wish-to-be-done-to-yourself rule). these psycological “estamps” can not propogate through genetic means, except wish for safety & comfort which is applicable to everything at all.
    back to “deviation” thing. this deviation status puts homosexuality in dangerously close proximity of other sexually related “mind disturbancies”, including numerous perversies (and that includes beastiality, paedophilia and some -isms and other -philias). so i clearly understand why some people (due to their lazy minds or any other reasons) hate anything that is “non-traditional”, especially – sexuality. not to forget hundreds of years of christian morality (at least oficial).
    btw, no one wonders why explicit nudity or other sexualy related activities in public are still banned? it’s believed to be embarasiing, isn’t it ? IMVHO it is, indeed. despite infamous “lack of sex” in soviet times there was a Q/A joke about it – “why one should not attempt to have a sexual intercouse on the public? — bystanders will just kill you both with advices!”. there is something in that, i think. and i really think, that whatever any two (or more) persons do in their bedrooms is OK as soon as following two are true 1) they’re all happy 2) it stays in that bedroom. even if you like to play doctor with green dragon, i do not care, as long as you do not hurt that dragons feelings (and body, of course). call that disturbancies, -isms or whatever, but hell, keep those private things private. i’m not running through streets shouting about my sexual preferences and i really expect everybody else to act accordingly. and you know what ? all non-straight people i know act the same, and i know more than “just a couple or two”.

    now to “tolerance” thing. what POV a country might express through its legal system? (as for personal tolerance, i guess, i’ve been clear enough). here we should look at questions – what state does expect from family, and why family should be protected. the answer seems to be quite simple – state is interested in its stability, which simple enough, turns to “spend tax money to get more tax money to keep it going for even longer (read – to get even more tax money)”. all the hassle with healthcare and education (social stuff) after all is just for that.
    so what expectations there are from states POV (in and fulfillment in regard to stright / gay / lesbian families.):
    – to raise more taxpayers — yes / no / no (without “external” intervention)
    – to lower state support burden :
    — directly – no (state dotation on childbirth/rising is expected) / no / no (no kids – no change in burden)
    — indirectly – yes (if children help their elders) / no / no (no kids = no help expected)

    so, where is the interest for state to protect a unisex family, which, by physiological capability is childless ? there are also numerous legal issues with families where child is biologically related only to one of parents (like, is step-father/-mother a legal representative of a child, if biological mother/father is alive but lives separately), which have to be adressed by specifically. and on top of that – IIRC the definition of “family” includes “to keep connected economy” and “to raise children”. if non-straights want to keep theyr economies connected (essentially – live together, have shared bank accounts and from one to another) – they can do so, there are no legal boundaries. ones just can not do that in one simple step by signing one SINGLE paper and call that act marriage. there should be 3 — power of attorney (one on each side), will and mutual agreement of sharing. bank-related hassle with shared accounts stays essentially the same for traditional families as for a bunch of unrelated persons – you must explicitly present all of allowed persons for each account and account stays on its openers name. the second half – “to raise children” – is not (oficially) expected by state to happen. state struggles to keep “normal” families up and raise healthy children, that (in turn) will keep that chain going – why to care for this “minority” ? … i’ll better shut up, or this “minority” talk will get me to far away from topic.

    R.
    p.s. oops, this one got reeeeeally long. sorry for that. 🙂
    pps. one missed slash typo and i totally messed up the markup of my reply. 😦 must be midnight.

  3. Gunta says:

    Linda,
    On a slightly different topic – have you ever had any issues with geting into bars/clubs in Riga because you are a foreigner? I recall there used to be a few infamous places that would do that – I wonder if that has changed in the last 3 years I’ve been gone.

    • Expat Eye says:

      Hi Gunta, I haven’t but some of my friends have. It seems to be more related to guys – Piens, Kokteili un Sapni and I think Radio Bar are three that people have had problems with. And it’s not like they looked like trouble – my friend is in his late thirties and was out for a drink with his dad who’s in his 70s in one case! Some guy wanted to write a guest post on it for the blog but then he left the country so I guess he forgot 😉

      • Gunta says:

        Yeah, we latvians are also xenophobes on top of everything else! A post about that would be good. My husband (american) and I used to live in Riga, and we never had any problems with that, but then again – we mostly hang out in Irish pubs and those are “foreigner friendly”.

      • Expat Eye says:

        Yeah, Moloney’s is my favourite of them! I’ve read some reviews of bars here and foreign guys were even turned away from places when they were with Latvian friends – doesn’t make any sense at all! If I can gather a collection of experiences, I might write a post on it 😉

  4. wasd says:

    As long as it goes for gays, that does not end there. I mean dialogs like that.
    So why you dont like X?
    I dunno, i just dont like it.
    Have you ever seen/met/touched/smelled/watched it?
    No, but i would probably hate it anyways.

    Perfect Hate formula. I have nothing for those pride events, never seen one. When we need energy to show goverment, that we are here and we care what they do – 3 to 10 people shows up. But when the gay pride is happening, they manage to trhow human fecies around like snowballs… go figure why we are still sucking in every other aspect than eradicating gay prides from Riga.

    Rant Off.

  5. When I was in college, X decades ago, I took a class on feminism ands learned that studies indicated that new mother’s who gave birth in a hospital were allowed to hold their female newborns twice as long as a male newborn. It blew my mind! I came away from the class with the firm belief that women cannot be liberated until men are liberated from the roles society shoves the in as well.

    Point being, any sexually repressed society is going to be of overflowing with deviant behavior and twisted perspectives on the connection between love and sex. I think homophobes in this type of setting are so confused by their own lack of understanding that they can only exhibit contempt for anyone who knows him/her self so well as to not only be willing to their express sexuality, but has the courage to express and hopefully embrace their own sexuality, in spite of it being outside the majority. Hopefully this week change one day. Russia ‘ s view on the matter doesn’t help. However I believe that Russia may bring about its own demise, if for no other reason than karmically.

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  7. Ulvis Zirnis says:

    I might’ve missed something, but what’s God’s gift to men?

    • Expat Eye says:

      Someone who thinks every man wants him – like he’s the ultimate prize 😉

      • Ulvis Zirnis says:

        Oh, fair enough, I did not know this euphemism. On the topic, I somehow try to secure myself, that this is a process, through which all countries go to and that that will never be quicker than, well, years. All in all I see step-by-step signs, that it’s calming down.

        And a quick question, technically, if You’re from Ireland, aren’t things worse on these “hot” topics worse there (being a Catholic country and all).

        Cheers.

      • Expat Eye says:

        Hi Ulvis, thanks for the comment! Like you say, it is a process that takes time. I think Ireland has a bit of a head start over Latvia on this (though I haven’t lived there for 5 years so I’m basing this on my memories before I left!). Ireland isn’t nearly as Catholic as it was – of my friends etc, most people only set foot inside a church for weddings and funerals. A lot of people are very disenchanted with the Church after all the scandals of recent years. Within the younger, urban generation, I really don’t think it is an issue (at least for the vast majority). However, in the smaller towns and among the older, more staunchly Catholic generation, then yes, I would think they might not be so open-minded. Hope that answers your question! And I hope I’m not hopelessly out of tune with the reality in Ireland!

      • Ulvis Zirnis says:

        Somehow I remembered lyrics of Blur “And I’ve beens so busy lately, that I haven’t found the time to watch the world spinning gently out of time.” 🙂

      • Expat Eye says:

        Nice 😉 That’s how I feel most days!

  8. Edijs says:

    Dear Linda,
    I couldn’t find your e-mail address, so I’m writing here.
    Is it possible to translate your article and republish it in website skapis.eu? Skapis.eu is a website designed for Latvian LGBT youth. It’s made also by Latvian LGBT youth. We realy liked your article, so we’d be happy to share it with our readers.
    Best regards,
    skapis.eu editor
    Edijs

  9. mmarinaa says:

    Sometimes people say idiotically homophobic things here too. But then they will begrudgingly admit that they know a gay person and he’s never tried to hit on them and he’s actually a great guy. There is also a ton of gay activity going on that is called by any other name, although I won’t elaborate on that because it’s a cultural thing that I don’t know enough to fairly explain. But I can add suggestively that there is a general consensus that as long as you’re the top, you’re still totally straight. Also, everyone accepts that Indian men will walk around holding hands and that local men will greet each other by rubbing noses. And many Arab men have zero problem proclaiming love for male friends, which makes prudish Western men extremely uncomfortable and is highly entertaining to watch.

    I don’t really have a point, although I guess that I’m saying it’s highly complicated. I wouldn’t actually label this country as homophobic, even though technically it is illegal. But the general mindset is too naive to consider it an actual legitimate belief. It’s just a knee-jerk “no homo” sort of thing. And oh the denial about sons who are so obviously homosexual, heh. So basically nobody talks about it, and if there’s nobody around to hear it, is the tree really homophobic, you know? Also there are zero public protests/citizen arranged parades about anything so Pride wouldn’t even be an issue. Which to be honest, is sort of refreshing since I don’t have to hear any homophobic commentary. Maybe free speech is overrated? That’s facetious. But on this issue, the silence is nice. Perhaps by the time people talk about the issue, they will be educated enough to talk about it rationally, without any feces flung.

  10. rigaenglish says:

    The Soviets, for all their supposed atheism, were real prudes and you can see the results in all ex-Soviet countries. A Kazakh student once told me that there is no such thing as being bisexual, there are just straight men who sometimes sleep with other men. Ummm, ok.

  11. Thank you for being sensible. Perhaps if we are lucky you will rub off on one or two.

  12. Ragnarok says:

    I have this double faced look on homosexuality here in Latvia. I would agree that there are a lot of prejudices in Latvia on the topic, though at the same time I have experienced bad attitude towards homosexuals in western world as well. Lived in Norway and have been to most cities in old world. I would say the best place for beeing gay (I appear to be one of them) is Barcelona though I have been to Spain only as tourist. I guess prejudices on houshold level could be the same.

    The main struggle for Latvia is that we miss role models for gay lifestyle. Those three mentioned above are way too less knowing that there are gays in music, tv, politicians etc,, such as Per Kristian Foss in Norway or Barney Frank in USA. On scales we have overweight “Westboro churchers” (I would suggest that anti-gayers watch some of the stuff Westboro does) and tiny tiny bunch of gay rights fighters.

    On houshold level I feel this negative attitude though I would say that it is just a little bit more agressive than other countries. I feel bad about all the lives (their own, wifes, children, …name it) who hides their sexuality beyound “correct” marriage and fucks around in the dark. This is sad and frustrating that well educated and respected people in Latvia supports something like: beeing homosexual is your choice.

    • Expat Eye says:

      Yes, it’s very important that everything looks ‘correct’ to the rest of the world. Who cares if people are miserable for the rest of their lives because of it. Thanks for your comment! Linda.

    • eNVee says:

      Linda will accuse me for keeping my head deep in THERE for this! 😀

      Let us be honest! This meade-up gay “problem” is more or less the same everywhere. Only the form of actions and reactions are different. We have 2 camps with all possible kind of idiots, fighters, arguments, etc. etc. Either of them tend to use extreme amounts of propaganda, exaggerations and populism. Why? Because they FIGHT! Ragnarok mentioned this: “gay rights fighters” and “anti-gayers”. And do not forget that there are shitloads of politicians, media and groups who make their living on these 2 fighting sides. Absolutely the same situation like we have with Latvian versus Russian here.

      I will try to explain why it is so easy to keep heterosexuals fighting. I do not have enaugh insight for the other side, sorry!
      We know nearly all the possible arguments from both sides. Religion, fear for children safety, HIV/AIDS, human rights and so on. At some point they all seem to be legit but for every argument there is a counterargument. Now just add some “oil” to the fire in form of politicians, research, science. One side suggests to educate children about LGBT persons, the other side screams in anger. We have a neverending fight there.

      There is just one serious argument for us, straight persons (incl. myself). And it is a very simple one. It feels disgusting, oh yes it does. I am talking about so many (ofcourse not all) gay men one can see around. The way they look, the way they act. Even well mannered and calm hetero feels awkward seeing that in public. And there is nothing you can do about it. You can educate me to death, but it’s something I can’t overcome. You can keep telling me that dogs poop is something beautiful, but it will not work. I am not comparing a human being to dogs poop, only illustration of feelings…
      http://www.gaywelcome.com/gay-events-detail/110/pride/cologne/cologne-gay-pride.php

      Look at the picture! Does anyone serioulsy think that these pink-dressed beauties are contributing to the gay rights and acceptance? And this one is far from the most disgusting pictures. Do you hope that all the hetero adults will say “YES, let them adopt children, let hem have marriage! Give them their special rights!” I doubt it… It’s not gonna work guys!

      What am I saying? Remove this image from our heads, stop fighting and spend your energy on some better doings. That way you will make it much easier for us to accept your kind. In other words – don’t feed the troll! 🙂 Remove extremists on your side and ours will be useless.

      PS. I fully understand that this all seems to be childish, but it is the way it is.

      Have a nice weekend all!

      • Expat Eye says:

        Those guys in pink look like they’re having a great old time to me! Not so different than some of the stag nights I see here (look at the picture):
        https://expateyeonlatvia.wordpress.com/2013/06/09/stag-city/
        This guy is going to go home and get married and (probably) procreate – and nobody is going to stop him. And why should they? What’s wrong with dressing up and going a bit nuts once in a while?!

      • Expat Eye says:

        And another thing – Latvians think that grown men going to the sauna together and beating each other with sticks is ‘normal’; or a bunch of naked guys running over a bridge and rolling around together in the morning dew is ‘normal’ 🙂 Who’s to say what’s ‘normal’ and what isn’t?! 😉

      • Ah, you see, this is interesting this “feeling of disgust” you’ve just described there. Now, no child seeing a couple kissing for the first time, either het or hom, would recoil in disgust. It may not understand what’s happening, and react with curiosity, but not disgust. THAT is a learned behaviour, rather than an innate one.

        Kids being taught what behaviours are acceptable and which are not is part of socialisation. You were socially conditioned to react in this way, though you won’t remember how it happened exactly. It’s hard to overcome deep-seated social conditioning which we were indoctrinated with as children. However, if gay people being affectionate in public was a more common sight than it currently is, most people would, no doubt, be able to “desensitise” and override their negative reaction to it.

        Just think…in the 60’s miniskirts were utterly shocking 😉

      • Expat Eye says:

        Fantastic comment! Thanks!

      • Ragnarok says:

        Dear eNVee, 90% of gay men look and act straight (as your husband, your brother or your father). That what you see as “pinks” are stereotypes fed by media.

    • Just a quick comment on homophobia in Spain – I’ve been living here for two and a half years, and I’ve not seen any, at least not displayed overtly. Of course, there are homophobic people everywhere, but it’s not intrinsic to modern Spanish culture, as far as I’ve been able to gather.

      I’ve not heard anyone passing a homophobic comment in public, and often groups of people going out drinking together are composed of heterosexual and homosexual people, so everyone socialising together is normal. Gay couples out and about holding hands are a normal part of street life, at any time of day. I’ve not heard them being ‘abused’ by other passers-by. (I don’t live in Madrid, but in a small town.)

    • eNVee says:

      Ha ha, lovely picture!
      I guess you got me wrong Linda. Probably because English language is so poor to express myself right… Put that knife down, just kidding! 😀

      There is nothing wrong in that. He is not requesting anything.There are so many disgusting heteros as well. Both mentally and physycally. I am not much more handsome than some ape, to be honest. Maybe even worse. But that is not important there.

      Try to think of their (all those gay organisations) goal. What are they trying to achieve? Is it rejection, disgust or maybe the opposite? What “tools” and efforts they should use? If we would think about it as some private business, I would say they have hired the worst possible PR company. Company that ignores the needs of customer and end-user.
      What is the best way to give a message to the society? Something visual, something that can be looked upon. I could name many examples, but I hope you would agree – seeing once is better than hearing many times. It’s the image. And specially if you have to address human males, the ones who have the most objections against gays.

      What message do we recive from this “company”? Yeah, I guess it’s clear. If they want to keep shocking – well done, works perfect. But it aint gonna help if you want us to understand.
      You can ignore this and keep struggling. Gay people often tell us that we must accept their nature, not to fight it and this is the way they are. OK guys, but would you be so kind and stop trying to change ours by force and shock? You can keep marching on prides dressed like circus monkeys, act like perverts, force pro-LGBT laws and this fight will never end. Is that what you truly want? I realise that not all of you do those things or support prides. Let them speak for you, let them give the message, let them convince and you might have some success.

      Am I wrong?

      • nesakineko says:

        envee, yes, you are so wrong. Gay people aren’t asking for any privileges, just equal rights. Ricky Gervais once said “Same sex marriage isn’t gay privilege, it’s equal rights. Privilege would be something like gay people not paying taxes. Like churches don’t.” Finding something disgusting for you doesn’t make it a legitimate reason for discrimination. If most people find it disgusting that two ugly people kiss publicly or holds hands (which means they kiss at home and you get that image in your head), doesn’t mean you have every right to ban ugly couples! And there is more benefit for baning ugly people from getting married than gay people, because ugly people make ugly babies. Flawless logic, just like yours! I can bet your husband/boyfriend loves oral sex and has had thoughts about sticking it to your bum, just like gay men do it, which you find so disgusting. You should think more about being a decent person and not thinking about what happens in other persons bedrooms. Shame on you.

  13. I agree with you. Latvians still live in Middle ages. I hope it is getting better with every year. It is impossible to change the perception of all nation in one day – sad, but true. I think it will take one or even two generations till Latvians “will grow up” regarding to this question.

    Actually Swedish comedian TV show “Grotesco” made a parody of homophobic people. They made a song “It is the Gays’ Fault” (Det är Bögarnas Fel). Check it out here (it has English subtitles): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vx7p21hrZ6s

  14. chris.oshea3@gmail.com says:

    I wonder what they’d make of me in leather assless chaps, a harness, nipple clamps and glitter in my hair walking down the street there! As homophobic as Ireland is, maybe I’m safer here!

    • Expat Eye says:

      Do you know, I think everyone would be so stunned, you’d get away with it haha! You might get a few sideways glares but that’s pretty standard in these parts anyway 😉 I, for one, would LOVE to see it! 🙂

  15. astrameklere says:

    Prides do not help. We nominate one residental gay person in our country house, and it helps to destroy homophobia much more than any parade. 🙂

  16. Daina says:

    Sigh… Just as there are many wonderful things about Latvia, just like any other county, it has its share of problems. Recently a cousin who lives in the Latvian countryside and who is quite religious forwarded me something on a social networking website that made me cringe…I don’t recall the details, as I refused to even read the whole thing, but it had to do with already protesting some LGBT event scheduled to take place in Latvia in 2015 if I’m not mistaken. I responded, and asked her to not send me such things in the future – that she and I have very different viewpoints on this, that I have numerous friends/colleagues/acquaintances who are gay, etc. She responded by apologizing for having sent it to me, and that she’s most concerned about “the children.” That argument has never made any sense to me at all. Every single gay person I know grew up in a traditional family – with a (female) mother and (male) father. They didn’t LEARN this from their parents. And considering how “in the closet” most gays were even just as recently as the 1960s/70s/80s, it’s not something they LEARNED from a teacher or neighbor or whatever. I know of two families with four kids each – the oldest son is gay (one now around age 50, the other is 35 yrs old), the remaining younger three siblings are not. This is not something they learned! They were BORN that way!!! Argh, this is just one of those topics that makes my blood pressure go up when I talk about it, so I’ll stop now. As always, excellent post, Linda! (And don’t listen – not that you would!! – to the bozo who says you shouldn’t write about these topics – you absolutely should!) Also loved LadyoftheCakes’ comments. 🙂

    • Expat Eye says:

      Everyone loves LOTC – sometimes I think my mum prefers her comments to my posts 😉

      Ugh, this fear for ‘the children’ – these people need to get a life. Some parents in this country barely see their children from one end of the year to the other, leaving them with their grandparents while they work abroad. Others choose to bring them along to demonstrations which promote hatred. Is this what ‘traditional family values’ means now? Surely they’d rather their children grew up to be happy, healthy individuals, regardless of who they fall in love with. I fear not though.

      Thanks for the great comment and for reading – as always! 🙂

      • Daina says:

        Yes, I agree that the “traditional” family values that some people espouse are quite fictional and imagined. In the US we now have a number of states where gay marriage is legal, and whenever opponents say, “This will destroy the institution of marriage!”, all I want to say is, “Huh, I didn’t know that straight couples never get divorced, never have affairs, never fall out of love, etc.” Really, what planet are these people living on?!?

      • Expat Eye says:

        Ha ha! Exactly!

  17. pollyheath says:

    Ugh. At least Latvia has some kind of check on this behaviour thanks to the EU. Unlike SOME COUNTRIES I could mention. But seriously, it’s bleak here in Russia. I know a ton of open, accepting people here. Unfortunately they’re greatly outnumbered by close-minded bigots — many of whom are in the government!

    Makes me like America a little bit better, even though there are tons of terrible, (likely) poop-throwing people there too!

  18. Mārtiņš says:

    Unfortunately, you’re right in the title. It is an issue here (people even here in comments miss self criticism about their country).
    And both sexes are equally homophobic. Men are just more emotional, tending to express themselves physically.
    A year ago I was in a cheerful party in the centre of the city. One girl of our company decided to walk home. I accompanied her and left pink-violet girl’s cardigan on from the party. Back I went from her apartment to the centre where the party went on. And on my way met two drunk guys. Because of my outfit they asked if I liked anal sex, oral sex; had to listen to rude synonyms of “gay”. One of them wanted to attack.
    Firstly, by their interpretation wearing something from girls wardrobe already tells my orientation (I am not allowed in Latvia to wear what I want or imagine, conservative nation), second when they assume I am gay it is their duty to fight.
    In London people can wear anything, experiment but here you can meet people who believe that they or they children can be transformed from heterosexuals to homosexuals by the help of “Pride”, propaganda or that in gay marriage the kid will inevitably become gay.

    • Expat Eye says:

      Such crazy thinking. Like if I see some Hare Krishnas I’m going to convert. I wish they’d give people a little more credit! And that experience sounded scary – glad you didn’t get hurt.

      • Mārtiņš says:

        You know, the verbal aggression in coalition with obscurantism hurts the most. May be I could or should have try to hit them. But wasn’t in the mood and one of them had consumed beverages a little too much.
        But let’s try not to focus on negative. I don’t have much in common with narrow-minded people and don’t choose to be in friends with them.

  19. bevchen says:

    A friend of mine said homophobic men are afraid that gay men will treat them the way they themselves treat women. She may have had a point…

  20. Sharn says:

    I think people can be horrible all around the world.

    I recently watched my all mighty dictator’s documentary – Out There – Stephen Fry went around the world talking to homophobes and homosexual people alike. I have to say I cried my little heart out to this doco.

    Because even though I’d like to think I live in a liberal country, when I walked down the street holding my girlfriends hand we got hurled abuse from people passing in cars. When we were at sets of lights waiting to cross and had a cuddle, we were told we were disgusting.

    So I guess the moral of this story is that I don’t think it matters where you are in the world, until people realise that what we do in our own homes has no impact on their lives, their beliefs or the way the world turns there is no “non-issue”.

    Ps. I always hated the word tolerance in context to homophobia. Actually I hate using the word tolerate in regards to a lot of hate crimes, from homophobia to racism, etc.

    • Expat Eye says:

      “So I guess the moral of this story is that I don’t think it matters where you are in the world, until people realise that what we do in our own homes has no impact on their lives, their beliefs or the way the world turns there is no “non-issue”.”
      So true!

    • Couldn’t agree more. We can’t refer this issue to a one country in particular but we have to talk in the context of world.

  21. Come on?! If you say Latvia is land of homophobe, then Ireland is home of alcoholics, Afghanistan is home is suicide terrorists, USA is home of fat people, Germany is home of fascists and so on.

    In every country you’ll find a religious radicals who are against everything their church said is bad. The rest depends how organized they are. Apparently Latvian Orthodox church is well supported by Moscow Orthodox church and has enough money and knowledge to do all these actions. Meanwhile latviensis vulgaris really don’t care if somebody is gay.

    • Expat Eye says:

      I’m not saying everyone here is a homophobe, just that it is an issue.

      • No you are saying that. And again – a itsy-bitsy parts of the whole “issue”, not a broader picture. Please stop looking to things through a keyhole. You start reminding me Russian media who sell out their propaganda in their media and everyone just swallows it without even thinking. (by the way – that interview with Brainstorm – I’d better double check. Not that long ago there was also a fake statement made up that said Renars supports Latvias occupation by Russia and wants USSR back.)
        And no, I don’t think Latvians are homophobic, because it’s a generalisation. Protesters who threw shit – extreme Christian group (does ir mean all Christians now are shit-throwing idiots?)
        Of course in overall society there will always be gay jokes (as well as black jokes, but it doesn’t make everyone racists) but I think at this point Latvians are at a very good state, regarding gay people. My own experience is non the less than positive. Professor at my University – Karlis Streips was one of the first people who admitted he was gay publicly and is a wonderful person and professor, I now share a flat with a gay couple and another guy (straight) and none of us feels uncomfortable or hates each other for sexuality.
        In each and every society – there are idiots, there are homophobes, there are gays, there are those who don’t care, there are national extremists, there are satanists and other “species”. But you can’t make judgements based on one person or small group of people.
        And btw, Ireland had a nice case about calling somebody homophobic: http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2014/02/03/ireland-anti-gay-marriage-group-win-damages-after-drag-queen-calls-them-homophobes/

      • Expat Eye says:

        Thanks for the article – I don’t believe I ever claimed that Ireland was a shining example in this respect either.

        However, I think it’s you who is looking through a keyhole. Just because you and your buddy live with a gay couple in happy, clappy harmony, doesn’t mean that homophobia is not an issue in the country as a whole.

      • I am not saying everything is uber fine but this article is full of exaggerations. This is the same viewpoint as in the question I asked – the ones who flinged shit are extreme Christians – so are now all Christians psychos who throw shit at people with whom their opinions don’t match?
        I do know the gay community here in Latvia and yes, there are still many who won’t come out of the closet – but it’s not only Latvia’s problem. And there is a bunch who have their sexuality there – in the open and don’t have any problems at work, with family etc. Just look at the case with actress Ellen Page who came out recently in the very democratic, fantastic, gay-loving USA. You should have read comments from people and video blogs on the topic. Of course – there were many who supported her and there were still a lot of people who said terrible things not even knowing the girl, just judging her for her existence.
        If you call it an issue – then refer to the whole world – you have a lot of sources here. Then there will be no “keyholes”.
        P.S. Have you heard the “other side” or simply saying, have you talked to anyone from Latvian gay community?

      • Expat Eye says:

        Yes, I’ve spoken to Latvian gay people. And I have a couple of foreign friends here who are gay.

  22. Edijs says:

    If you think that this is something, wait until you go to Russia where this opinion is manifested on a legislative level, plus people there tend to be much more physical to express their dissatisfaction.

    This guy you talked with seems like an easy target since he cant even coherently explain his reasons for hatred. There are loads of people here who have developed very refined reasoning (as in they take a “scientific” approach since they are self proclaimed experts and “unbiased” on the issue) of why homosexuals shouldn’t be granted equality and talking with such people might uncover deeper knowledge of why it is so.

    • Expat Eye says:

      A scientific approach. Sigh. Aren’t there more useful things science could be used for?? And again with the Russian comparison – it’s always easy to find someone worse than you are and use it as an excuse. Why not look to some positive examples and use them as a role model instead?

      • Edijs says:

        Because Russians are also using American precedents in Middle east and Balkans to justify their actions in Crimea issue. The same logic, only on much larger scale that has an impact on millions of people.

        If my stance on this issue is not clear for you then I will simply say that I don’t care about the sexuality of other people. From time to time i have engaged into arguments with local people about this issue since i find their opinions rather hypocritical and I’m just pointing out that you still got off easy with this guy.

      • Expat Eye says:

        It didn’t feel like it at the time.

    • vtv says:

      My dear neighbor, that country is so big and so uncontrollable and unmanageable, that at all time the radicality and strictness of laws was compensated by absence of control. Try thinking of around 100 Latvias with all its diversities, nightlife, hipsters & etc. You really think that among those millions people won’t find a way to do what they want and how they want? Of course, that restriction thing is bad, but I think you underestimate people.

  23. Ansh says:

    Always wondered how people afraid of some gays when there are myriads of complete idiotic cretins around them. That’s scary…

  24. TRex says:

    Regarding the Baltics it’s not just Latvia. Lithuania has recently enacted or at least drafted draconian anti-gay laws almost exactly the same as those in Russia. I’m not sure where Estonia stands on the issue.

    Latvia is a deeply conservative country and more rural than urban in it’s mindset. It’s male pop. is also macho and aggressive. Macho aggressive men don’t mix well with “the other,” in this case gays.

    • Expat Eye says:

      Maybe it’s time they all woke up and stopped worrying about a complete non-issue when there are so many other things they could be focusing on!

  25. vtv says:

    Ban everyting and hate others – that’s more or less the way of thinking since Soviets. Latvia has a lot of tolerance problems and LGBT is just one of them and not the biggest! Many people live with hate to other people as those speak different language, are of different income group, do different jobs. We have a culture of hate and it’s very much supported by different forces in country.

    It’s very convinient! Parties do not need economic programs – they just need to trigger hate (beware of the great election shitstorms this year), municipalities don’t need to work hard as they can find a neighbor here or abroad to point with saying it’s even worse there, pedestrians hate cyclists and vice versa, car drivers hate both and are hated in return and so on, so on, so on. I can continue for a long time like this.

    I see a source of the problem in the fact that it’s socially acceptable to express hate. I mean if there’s at least one topic where hate is not banned, hate will not be limited by that only topic. Unfortunately it’s ok to hate in Latvia and sometimes it’s even is positioned as “true straitforwardness”.

    • Expat Eye says:

      What would you say is the biggest tolerance problem, out of interest? And yes, I agree with your comment. Find someone else to target and you don’t have to look at your own sad little life 😉

      • vtv says:

        The biggest problem is the most basic: positive attitude towards other people. I think it’s just too common to think that other person is worse than you. If that could be replaced at least by “not worse” that would be a big step forward.

  26. First, have you got a link to that shit-flinging chimp study?

    Secondly, well, my. Progress, though?

  27. Liene K says:

    I’ve met more homophobes here in the US than in Latvia. But that might be because the US has a bigger population. At least the situation is not as bad as for gays living in Latvia’s neighbor to the east,

  28. MrJohnson says:

    Flinging shit might be a good move if you have no other weapon. I am having a good time imagining someone shitting on their hand and then throwing it at somebody.

  29. Reply to Jānis T (it won’t let me respond on the thread): First of all, thanks for sharing your thoughts and experiences on this topic. I think it’s quite common to have one’s first few sexual experiences with members of one’s own sex, i.e. during your teenage years – same-sex, same-age friends are more easily accessible and far less intimidating. You’ve done it, I’ve done it, lots of heterosexual people have done it. Rite of passage kind of thing.

    Paedophilia – I think that’s a different issue entirely. Homosexuality and paedophilia should not be lumped in together. I’ve had an experience like that as a kid. Nothing serious, and, thank God, not carried out by a family member/friend, but a complete stranger. Always easier to deal with. The teacher scenario must have been quite unsettling for you… never pleasant to be exploited/abused by people you’re meant to trust and respect. Glad to hear someone spoke up.

    As for homosexuals “not continuing their genes” – lots of them do want to have children, if only society would allow them to do so…! Forcing people to get married against and act against their true nature, making not only themselves but also their partner utterly miserable, is that really a desirable way to lead a life? All for the sake of begetting a couple of children and passing on your genes? We’re up to 7 billion people. If a few of us decide not to breed for whatever reason, I don’t think we’re in imminent danger of dying out 😉

    • Jānis T. says:

      Thanks for responding.

      Just for the matter of stating the fact. I was not referring to the experimenting / first experience stuff. Btw, such thing was quite suppressed between persons of the same gender during 70ties an 80ties in Latvia, I think even teens were too afraid. I was referring to one you brought up, where physically or (kind of) mentally superior uses his superiority to achieve some sexual goal without consent.

      As about threats, therefore I used “” notion 😀

      • I think we are all in agreement here that non-consensual sexual acts, no matter who carries them out and for what reason, are not to be condoned. It’s not a “gay issue”, though, but an “issue” in general.

        The majority of paedophiles assault young girls, while some direct their actions at boys, as we all know. Paedophiles are people who are sexually attracted to children, and while some of them may choose victims of their own sex, they are NOT representative of the homosexual population, just like (male) paedohpiles abusing girls do not represent the sexual behaviour of all heterosexual men.

        The belief that paedophilia and homosexuality go together, or that they are, in fact, “the same thing”, is common in my grandparents’ generation, and it stems purely from ignorance. In their time, all “sexually aberrant” behaviour was tarred with the same brush, without anyone daring to examine this preconception. And beliefs like these, because they are so tightly bound up with shame and social taboos, are very deep-seated, and re-education is difficult. The human psyche has turgid depths, which are difficult to reach with logic.

  30. I’m absolutely stunned … shocked, really. One thinks that people with new freedoms would cherish all new freedoms, as they did in South Africa. This for sure does NOT happen at the gay pride parade in Cape Town. Honestly, the trouble with homophobia is that it treats fellow human beings as objects … I am NOT an object, I am a gay human people. Really, I can’t think of how to express how depressed this makes me feel … and that doesn’t happen often. Sigh.

  31. Anna says:

    There is now a legislative proposal in Lithuania to ban Pride events. You know how the liberal EU and western media are spinning it, because the Baltics just cant be bad? These proposals are holdovers of these countries’ Soviet legacy. That’s right, religious conservatism is the fault of the atheist regime. Maybe Russia, Putin and those damn commies were responsible for Proposition 8 in California too.

    • Expat Eye says:

      Don’t mention the P word…

    • Don’t mix Religion with Soviet together. It has nothing to do with USSR. As per the 2011 census, 77.2% of Lithuanians belonged to the Roman Catholic Church. Guess who doesn’t like gays more? Ex-soviet people or conservative Catholics?
      In Latvia at the same time: Lutheranism 34.2%, Catholicism 24.1%, Russian Orthodox 17.8% and others.

      • Anna says:

        My point was EXACTLY not to mix those. Everything is pointing that to the fact that rising homophobia in the Baltics is driven by religious conservatism (even if not Catholic per se), but the typical media narrative always implicates these countries’ Soviet past.

      • Exactly – therefore, of course sad for Lithuania, but I don’t think Latvia will ever do something like that as we are not that religious as Catholic Lithuania. And thank God for that (irony?)!

  32. I. says:

    Not everyone is homophobic in Latvia – me and all of my friends are very tolerant and support their rights. Why don’t you better write one more article about the toilets or Janises, please do not start discussing social issues, as you are obviously not qualified for that. I am sorry if this came out too harsh. I love your blog, but keep it in the funny blog category.

    • Expat Eye says:

      I don’t know how you qualify for something like that! I’ve been living here for a while and have heard lots of homophobic comments during that time. The information I used is freely available on the internet for anyone who cares to look. I’m glad you like the blog but it is my blog and I’ll write about anything I find relevant. Yes, it’s usually funny (or at least I think so) but sometimes, I write about things I feel are important as well.

      I know not everyone in the country is homophobic – of course they’re not – but it is an issue and it is worth talking about. And I’m kind of done with the toilet thing now 😉

  33. The biggest nuisance on Earth? Heterosexual men. What do women worry about when they’re out and about, alone, at night, e.g. walking back home from Pizza Express after a meal out with a couple of girlfriends? Other women? Gay guys? Nope. And do heterosexual guys hurry home from the pub, afraid as hell of gay men jumping them? Nope.

    Every woman I know, including me, has been sexually assaulted or accosted, in one way or another. Most of them not seriously, but they were “molested”, felt up on a crowded train, etc. How many heterosexual men, I wonder, have been accosted by people OF EITHER SEX? Is this an experience EVERY heterosexual man has had at least once in his life? Like us women? It might be, but I seriously doubt it.

    And gay people are a “threat”? To what/whom exactly??? Somebody explain this to me…

    [OK, I’m not saying all heterosexual men are rapists. Some of my best friends are het men, LOL. Just making a point.]

    • Expat Eye says:

      I don’t even know how to reply to this comment! 🙂 But I totally agree that the ‘threat’ is all in their heads! Ridiculous argument!

      • I really didn’t mean to offend any perfectly nice heterosexual men who’d never think about foisting themselves onto a women uninvitedly… this wasn’t meant to be some ill-conceived feminist rant 😉 Nevertheless, it’s a valid observation, I think.

        I just fail to see WHY homosexuality is perceived to be a “threat”. Or why children can’t deal with the mere concept without being “damaged” in some way. Idiotic!

      • Expat Eye says:

        I think the kid in the photo will end up far more damaged by his idiotic parents who thought that was an appropriate day trip!
        Some of the heterosexual men in LV make me want to weep – and I’m not just talking about the Latvians either 😉

      • Jānis T. says:

        i know and can 😉

        first. there are a few pure physical and psychological mechanisms in place why males and females of homo sapiens express sexuality differently, the same goes for other species. google it…

        second. i had a few “felt-up” episodes by men during my childhood and early teens. i felt confused + there were no reliable info on this topic so i just ingested it. i don’t think i’m special in that sense, because one of the latest ones were discussed between peers, because “feeling-up” was done towards several guys by teacher and after that this teacher was publicly accused by one of the peers. based on those experiences, i tried homosexual contact couple of times when i grew up and then i understood that it’s not me, it’s them. maybe pedophyles, maybe just desperate homosexual men

        third. rare heterosexual man will tell you what i just told

        fourth. the biggest “threat” i personally see in homosexualism is that those people have voluntarily or involuntarily decided not to continue their genes. the lesser one is that it can convince (young) heterosexuals to spend time otherwise not worth to spend understanding they are heterosexual. but. i dealt with it, everybody can deal with it. hint: explain this to your children first: why boy doggies do it! 😀

  34. Carsten says:

    Sometimes it is just amazing what is going on in peoples heads. I am having a son myself, slightly older than the one mentioned, but I have been faced with the same issue. What is going in the schools? I must admit I stopped everything I was doing, sat down with him and explained how things are working in the rest of EU and particular Scandinavia where I am from. Simple information.

    It is just like Latvia has got the whole ‘equality’ concept wrong and Christian values is not an argument but mostly an excuse or something to hide behind.

    A country like this who wants so badly to be like a Scandinavian country (and many times put themselves in the same geographical group?!?) has so far to go and it all starts with reasonable education, information and tolerance.

    I believe many intolerant men here could learn for my motto: the more gays (male) there are, the more women there are for me.

    It is that simple or maybe that is also against some old fashioned values…

    • Expat Eye says:

      Ha ha, love that motto! 🙂 And agree with your comment about ‘Christian values’ – they’re just used as a shield for bigotry. Thank god your son has you – I fear for that child in the photo and others like him.

    • Jānis T. says:

      the best suggestion: “reasonable education, information and tolerance” in this thread so far and there will be no better, i believe. thanks

  35. R says:

    it may seem like homophobia is not an issue in latvia because, honestly, there are only like 3 relatively famous people who have publicly come out. for people who are struggling with their sexual identity, that is not inspiring at all. besides, sexuality is still one of the taboo topics in our society, so it’s fairly easy to live your whole life without once encountering an “out and proud” person.
    here is a very cringeworthy video (although in latvian) where one of the “famous gays of latvia” (kārlis streips) tries to keep it together while the other famous heterosexual dude tries and fails to come up with a coherent argument against gays. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qBc9b_Pz0bg
    sadly, i think it’s safe to say that his opinions mirror those of the majority of the population. as all social issues, this too stems from ignorance and lack of education, but there’s a long way to go until homosexuality is discussed in schools, mostly because of the conservative people in government who wouldn’t dare to “expose children to such obscenities”, as if talking about it would immediately “convert” them (and what’s so bad about being gay, anyway).
    here’s to hoping it will all change soon!

    • Expat Eye says:

      I love the way they wouldn’t dare expose ‘children to such obscenities’ yet take them to an anti-gay demonstration. Where’s the logic in that!? Thank you for your comment and for the video – here’s hoping with you! Linda.

  36. Cindi says:

    Your way with words is perfect. This: “Maybe if he had taken his head out of his ass for a minute or two, he might have been surprised to see that there wasn’t, in fact, a long line of gay men trying to gain access to it.”

    That really needs to be shouted from the rooftop, but since 1. I don’t go up on rooftops anymore and 2. I’m too far away to be heard (although 3. the wind is blowing so hard off the North Sea right now I’d probably end up in Latvia if I went up there), I’ll just settle for copying and pasting your words in this comment. And agreeing that there is sure a lot of ignorance in the world … and I’m sorry to see Riga and Latvia are right there with it.

    (There are a lot of other really good words in this post too.)

    And yes, please stay away from flung shit.

    • Expat Eye says:

      I might get a ‘sauna suit’ from Nancy – that would protect me 😉 And yes, Latvia is not alone in this – not by a long shot. Sad world.

      Please don’t go up on your roof – I’d have to delete your favourite line out of guilt if anything happened to you!

  37. Jānis T. says:

    you most probably know that education by shocking works under certain circumstances 😉 i just doubt that this is the case on this topic for people living in this country…

    • Expat Eye says:

      I doubt it too but you never know! I don’t think the intolerant are frequenting sites like Mosaika and Amnesty International, but maybe they’ll happen on this by accident and learn something!

      • Jānis T. says:

        i think it would help to let understand causes, WHY (especially with a popularity of yours 😉
        couple of hints:
        being gay being equal to being a criminal for 50 years – it can’t disappear from common memory of a nation for quite long time. btw, you could easily enter the “category” just by having had “wrong” contact. and btw, you could have had “contact” and then blackmailed by certain organisation to do things for them in exchange not being prosecuted (do you think the initial “contact” was not organised? wrong) i’m not scientist, but my guess is couple of generations.

        and WHY was all THAT in place? not just for simple control of a few individuals by kgb. you may have heard that there were no sex in ussr, which is so-not-true 😀 check this if interested http://rbth.com/society/2013/09/30/sex_in_the_soviet_union_myths_and_mores_30325.html and you might notice the reasons mentioned there: consequences of war where a lot of males were killed, control of power, control of economics in a totalitarian way…

        living with a bit bigger neighbour where kind-of-the-same laws are still alive doesn’t everybody make exactly 100% sure about their own future… btw, look at the headlines
        today

        i’d say out loud if i knew what to do about all of it 😦

      • Expat Eye says:

        Yeah, me too. I agree that it will take a couple of generations.

        And I’ve never believed that there was no sex in the USSR – or anywhere else for that matter 😉 Interesting article though!

      • Anna says:

        This is more to the comment that follows. See, I hate this discourse about ‘no sex in the USSR.’ Homosexuality was only decriminalized in the UK in 1982, less than a decade before the Soviet regime ended (and in some parts – 1990s). In Ireland it was 1993. In the US it was only 2003! But no, if it’s anything bad or close-minded, than it has to be USSR’s/Russia’s fault. Of course. OF COURSE.

      • Expat Eye says:

        Ireland had its own Putin for years in the form of the Catholic Church. Thankfully its hold over the country is loosening all the time.

      • Anna says:

        But at least it’s your country, you know? You’re not blaming OUR Putin. It just bugs the shit out of me that the new wave of religious conservatism is blamed on the 25-year-gone atheist regime where homosexuality was illegal but abortion, for example, was not.

      • Expat Eye says:

        The thing is Latvians aren’t particularly religious. I guess they’d rather say ‘I’m a Christian’ than admit they’re still closer to Russia in their thinking than to Europe.

      • Anna says:

        that’s actually fairly similar to Russia. Orthodoxy is resurgent but most people are very secular in their life.

      • Expat Eye says:

        Another similarity 😉

      • Anna says:

        dont say that around Latvians…

      • Expat Eye says:

        Crap. I’m surrounded… Luckily they’re mostly staring into space not speaking to each other so I doubt they’ve noticed me 😉

      • Lāsma says:

        I do think that the Soviet way of thinking is the real reason behind this problem. Surely, there are other reasons as well, such as religion. However, all post-Soviet states share some common things. It’s not Russia’s or Putin’s fault and it’s a shame that many Latvians and Lithuanians still have this medieval point of view. However, people were told that homosexuality is bad, just like they were told that the US is their enemy. Let’s face it, the Soviet way of thinking wasn’t liberal at all!
        Surely, there are narrow-minded individuals in other countries as well. There are also some homophobic politicians here in the UK. Having said that, thinking that the Soviet Union had nothing to do with issues like xenophobia and homophobia is unreasonably idealistic.

  38. nancytex2013 says:

    Entirely disturbing, yet not entirely surprising. We’ve got a long way to go across all parts of the world, I fear, but you seem to have an especially far way to go in your neck of the woods.

    p.s. Steer clear of flung shit.

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