No, wait, your computer has not gone potty! That is a quote from a placard held up by a Ukranian babushka who looks about 90 years old, condemning gay relationships. And this is a country which wants to join the EU but keeps its former prime ministered tortured in jail. And a country where most Euro2012 supporters fear to tread because of racism, and violence of all descriptions.
I apologise for the horrible quality of this picture, which was scanned from a newspaper which took it from TV footage. It shows a gay guy from Kiev, Svyatoslav Sheremet, getting his face smashed and bloodied because he was part of a low-key gay group considering to hold their first pride parade (which they actually had already cancelled on police ‘advice’).
The newspaper article, forwarded from the UK, is entitled ‘Eastern European Shame’ and actually was printed before the racial abuse to which the Netherlands soccer team (containing coloured guys) was subjected in Krakow, Poland the other day during a public training session. Previously in Krakow, a gay/lesbian march during a ‘Festival for Tolerance’ was heckled by a huge abusive mob earlier in the week.
The battle to be recognised for what we are (as opposed to ‘what we choose to be’, as some still think it is) is far from won in countries which were formerly under Soviet influence and communism. And lots of other countries, come to that.
By the way, Гидота нe пройде! translates as ‘Gays: DO NOT PASS!‘
I guess that I might have a little trouble selling either of these in those Eastern European countries – places where gay guys can find graffiti on their walls blazing like a beacon to the thugs – “Kill the gays who live here“ - and where such issues seem to be a signal either for the police to stay away, or even to encourage the anti-gay thugs within their own ranks. A picture I have from the Polish demonstration in Krakow shows similar posters, written in ‘English’ (sort of) and probably aimed at the visiting soccer fans: “Homoseksualizm STOP!“
The final part of our own story is subtitled in my mind as ‘Living the Nightmare’, with the word ‘Dream’ crossed through. That’s for an entirely different reason, and there was a happy ending. Nothing, fortunately to do with anti-gay sentiments. But I rather like that idea for the cover graphics, if/when we get that far with ‘Against All Odds’. That’s the volume title but, after researching these recent events and thinking about what the gay community worl-wide is still having to put up with, I’m now a little embarrassed at using for something which perhaps to most will seem a more trivial tribulation. Oh well, too late to change that now. And we were in a potentially life-threatening situation…
Enough. With our thoughts reaching out to our more oppressed colleagues and friends out there, let’s enjoy some more thematic pictures. That’s my happy gay/gymnastic/acrobatic theme. Oh, and a happy couple in a public gay situation, to start with:
Dave and I don’t do this ‘wearing your heart on a sleeve’ public stuff, but we can admire those who do. This is more ‘our style’ of public togetherness:
…checking on progress with the weights ‘in the privacy of our own home’ (as the adverts often have it!):
Biceps and shoulders coming along nicely on those two.
The two places where Dave and I are happiest, of course, is sharing our gym skills, be they actual gymnastics…
…wrestling (although I have to say we don’t usually do it in cargo shorts!)…
…or in bed!
…no, it’s not… you don’t think that Dave and I would actually post a pic of us in bed, surely… and with those tattoos? – We do share the Tuan Jie one, yes, and a little one each for our kids… but you can just go read all about that from the books.