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.
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?
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.
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?