Chart of the Day: Sochi mayor claims there are no gay people in his town


image via Mother Jones

According to the mayor of Sochi, which will soon play host to the Olympics, there are no gay people in his town. Yet there are thriving gay nightclubs. How can gay people be invisible all the time except for during the night, when they come out in droves? It must be sorcery. In a video report, the BBC’s John Sweeny attempted to find out what the mayor of Sochi thought about his gay constituents. It turns out it’s a moot point because, as Mayor Anatoly Pakhomov explains, “We don’t have them in our town.” When Sweeny asks if he’s sure, Pakhomov responds, “I’m not sure. I don’t bloody know them.” What makes Sweeny so sure that there are gays in Sochi? He’s just a typical Western outsider trying to impose his own beliefs on Russia’s traditions. Well, as he tells the mayor, he went to a gay club the night before. And, indeed, despite the non-existence/ the mayor not “bloody” knowing any LGBT people, one club is so popular, it draws 400 people a night. Not only do the gays become visible only at night and hide from their mayor, they promote – see? I told you – sorcery.

Speaking of imposing ideas, when Sweeny asks Pakhomov if gay people will be welcome to the Olympics, the mayor responds: “Our hospitality will be extended to everyone who respects the laws of the Russian federation and who doesn’t impose their habits and their will on others. But yes, everyone is welcome.” It certainly sounds very welcoming. Almost as hospitable as when Putin, last week, said that gay people were welcome, as long as they didn’t contaminate the youth with their propaganda. Or their sorcery, he should have added.


Screen Shot 2013-10-28 at 11.13.50 PM Katie Halper used to do Russian-Ukranian folk dance. For 15 years. 


Born and raised on the mean streets of New York City’s Upper West Side, Katie Halper is a comic, writer, blogger, satirist and filmmaker based in New York. Katie graduated from The Dalton School (where she teaches history) and Wesleyan University (where she learned that labels are for jars.) A director of Living Liberally and co-founder/performer in Laughing Liberally, Katie has performed at Town Hall, Symphony Space, The Culture Project, D.C. Comedy Festival, all five Netroots Nations, and The Nation Magazine Cruise, where she made Howard Dean laugh! and has appeared with Lizz Winstead, Markos Moulitsas, The Yes Men, Cynthia Nixon and Jim Hightower. Her writing and videos have appeared in The New York Times, Comedy Central, The Nation Magazine, Gawker, Nerve, Jezebel, the Huffington Post, Alternet and Katie has been featured in/on NY Magazine, LA Times, In These Times, Gawker,Jezebel, MSNBC, Air America, GritTV, the Alan Colmes Show, Sirius radio (which hung up on her once) and the National Review, which called Katie “cute and some what brainy.” Katie co-produced Tim Robbins’s film Embedded, (Venice Film Festival, Sundance Channel); Estela Bravo’s Free to Fly (Havana Film Festival, LA Latino Film Festival); was outreach director for The Take, Naomi Klein/Avi Lewis documentary about Argentine workers (Toronto & Venice Film Festivals, Film Forum); co-directed New Yorkers Remember the Spanish Civil War, a video for Museum of the City of NY exhibit, and wrote/directed viral satiric videos including Jews/ Women/ Gays for McCain.

Katie is a writer, comedian, filmmaker, and New Yorker.

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