Should Cruise Lines Boycott Russian Ports of Call?

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#1
Manchester, Maryland
56 Posts
Joined Apr 2013
Many Cruise Lines visit St. Petersburg, Russia on their Northern European Cruises. In my opinion All the Cruise Lines should be joining the International Boycott of all things Russian - why? Because of the Anti-Gay Propaganda Laws that were passed this Summer by the Russian Legislature and signed into law by President Putin.

These laws are an affront to anyone Gay or Lesbian. They allow rampant discrimination against anyone who appears to be Gay, who wears Gay themed clothing, who visits Gay Bars, or who even carries or wears a Rainbow flag.

Regional laws were first put into effect by the Mayor of St. Petersburg, and they are a horror. Foreign Nationals caught under this Anti-Propaganda Act are subject to large fines and up to 15 days imprisonment. Just think of that - if you were to visit the port of St. Petersburg and wore your Rainbow flag sweatshirt or T-shirt, you could be arrested under this law!

If you even wore a Rainbow Flag lapel pin, or anything that they could consider "Gay Propaganda" you could be subject to arrest.

For me, I fought hard for my equal rights here in my home State of Maryland. I fought hard for the Right to Marry my husband, a law that was finally passed and implemented earlier this year. I for one do not hide the fact that I am in a same-sex relationship.

I really wonder that the Cruise Lines are advising their Gay and Lesbian passengers who are about to visit a Russian Port? Do they tell them to not wear any Gay themed clothing? Do they advise them to not act "Gay"? Do they advise them to not call their significant other an endearing term like "Honey"?

Like I said, I think we as a group of Gay and Lesbian Cruisers should be asking all the Cruise Lines to begin Boycotting Russian Ports - and to give Russia the reason - because of their passage of their Anti-Gay legislation - their violation of Human Rights, as part of the European and World community.

Let the Mayor of St. Petersburg know this - I'm sure he realizes how much money his city takes in as the result of Cruise ship visits. Let him know that discrimination against anyone has no place in today's society. Let him know that this is the reason for the Boycott.

Boycott Russian Ports!!!


Ken
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#2
CA, USA
13,712 Posts
Joined Apr 2004
I agree completely with your sentiments. Unfortunately, the main reason to book a Baltic cruise is the three days in St. Petersburg. If they eliminate that there is no cruise and I don't think the cruise lines would be willing to give up such a lucrative summer long itinerary.
#3
Toronto, Canada
141 Posts
Joined Jun 2009
For the same reason they should also be boycotting most Caribbean ports?
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#4
Netherlands
81 Posts
Joined Oct 2012
The whole world needs to tell Russia that what it's doing is wrong for a modern European democracy. The airlines and cruise lines in particular. They bring gay people to St Petersburg by the thousands. All the big money need to speak quite clearly and forcefully to Russia about this.

Atlantis is doing a Baltic cruise without St Petersburg. Brave of Rich. I think we should support him. He says they'll put the port back on the menu if there is a positive development there.

ESPN's Keith Olbermann on Russia:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature...&v=hzamkjc7r-Q

And, yes, Caribbean ports too. Imagine a Caribbean port that stopped a ship, say, full of Jews or blacks. The outrage of the cruise line industry would be immediate. If the cruise lines got serious about gay rights, these islands would change their tunes.

Or of course we can hold them to a lower standard...

But wouldn't that be racist?
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#5
ONTario-CAnada
2,872 Posts
Joined Dec 2006
I believe the entire world should be as outraged at the homophobic attitudes being manifested in Russia as they were when these same attitudes were prevalent in the United States and Canada
#6
CA, USA
13,712 Posts
Joined Apr 2004
The difference is that the U.S./Canada did not pass laws against homosexuals. The feelings were individual and not mandated by an election stealing dictator.
#7
9,607 Posts
Joined May 2009
Originally posted by wripro
The difference is that the U.S./Canada did not pass laws against homosexuals. The feelings were individual and not mandated by an election stealing dictator.
Really? Until Lawrence v. Texas, there were plenty of anti-gay "sodomy" laws on the books. And right now, the part of DOMA that was not struck down in Windsor is still there as federal law, purporting to allow a state NOT to recognize a lawful same-sex marriage entered into in another state. And there are a ton of state Constitutions that were recently amended to limit marriage to heterosexual couples.

Are things better for gay people in the U.S. than they are in Russia? Without a doubt. But the U.S. has plenty of anti-gay laws on the books, and they are still hurting gay people; let's not pretend that we are so wonderful here in the United States that all the prejudice and discrimination has "merely" been based on "individual feelings."
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#8
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Originally posted by wripro
The difference is that the U.S./Canada did not pass laws against homosexuals. The feelings were individual and not mandated by an election stealing dictator.


Your reply exemplifies your anger with and/or hatred of the Russian leadership, which has little to do with the subject at hand. The "Don't ask Don't tell" law was passed by their parliament and is according to our news sources supported by 85% of their population. The gay community in Russia has a big job on their hands to convince the population they are wrong in this approach almost as much as Texas or many other states. We are not going to solve this problem for them; their community must do that. They did not offer assistance in our obtaining achievements of freedoms, we did that. If you think for a moment that withholding a few cruise ships from visiting their ports will alter the course of their history you have not been reading their history.
#9
Netherlands
81 Posts
Joined Oct 2012
No, but if everyone in the rest of the West tells Russia firmly -- expressly and through their purchasing choices -- that Russia has become a pariah state because of their official homophobic policies, our actions will not provide them with comfort that the rest of the world is looking away.

We mustn't look away.

Russia wants to be part of the West. People there now have money. They want what the rest of us have. Russian tourists are flooding the cities and resorts of Europe.

We went to a five-star all-inclusive resort in Turkey recently. It was filled with Russians. We were afraid to do anything gay in that environment. It was very unpleasant.

What happens when they discover the cruise lines? Are you going to stop "promoting homosexuality" because you're surrounded by Russians?

Yes, I want to visit St Petersburg; however, I don't want to look away.
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#10
ONTario-CAnada
2,872 Posts
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Originally posted by IslandExplorer
...What happens when they discover the cruise lines? Are you going to stop "promoting homosexuality" because you're surrounded by Russians? .


I see your location is Europe. Should the answer be a boycott of something that would make the Kremlin at least look up, surely that is oil and natural gas. You could boycott that, but then I did see the forecast for this evening…

Having been to both the USSR and now Russia we have witnessed males kissing and males walking arm in arm or holding hands in public. They are not gay but that is a most natural occurrence in their culture. Maybe we could learn something.

So what is this law about? They do not want the gay community to publish and distribute anything that would encourage gay youth coming out. No parades, no demonstrations no glorification. They want them to marry and reproduce and probably end up have a very unhappy existence. I believe there will have to be a lot of gay Russians going to jail for breaking this law in order for the general population to begin to ask themselves is this fair treatment for something so menial. Just as citizens in this country began to ask why were gays being rounded up and taken in just for being found in a bar.

But as you say when the Russians expand their world of sailing then they will be on my turf and then I feel I may make a difference, although I would not call it “promoting homosexuality”. Unfortunately, I’m afraid that anything I can do in the way of education by word or by example would more than likely involve that remaining 15% of their population that have already understood.
#11
San Francisco
3,873 Posts
Joined Dec 2005
Originally posted by whw
For the same reason they should also be boycotting most Caribbean ports?
Well, yeah, I don't go on cruises that stop in Jamaica any more. But there's a major difference here: Russia is front and center in the news. There is, in fact, an active boycott movement. It's a Really Big Deal right now.

Cher is refusing to perform in Russia. On the other hand, Elton John, who took a million bucks to perform at Rush Limbaugh's wedding, has announced he'll play there. So take your choice: the fabulous or the venal.
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#12
Netherlands
81 Posts
Joined Oct 2012
Ont CA - Have I misread your post? It seems that you're almost reluctant to criticise Russia. Or at least having doubts about it.

We need to stand together to tell Russia clearly and firmly that what's happening there is completely wrong. Their parliament has expressly rejected the concept of gay rights. It's the first official challenge to the concept in 50 years.

This is not a backward state in the US rejecting gay marriage. It's one of the very largest and wealthiest countries in the world, and it has now passed a law saying that there can be no open public discussion about homosexuality.

It's particularly important to get governments and corporations (including cruise lines) on side. Russia rejects any comment about this from the western media or Hollywood.

By the way, Europe can't survive without Russia's oil and gas. Millions would die in the winter.
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#13
ONTario-CAnada
2,872 Posts
Joined Dec 2006
Originally posted by shepp
... Cher is refusing to perform in Russia. On the other hand, Elton John, who took a million bucks to perform at Rush Limbaugh's wedding, has announced he'll play there. So take your choice: the fabulous or the venal.


Elton John presents himself before the Russian public firstly as an artist, but also as a gay man who is married to another gay man both of whom are raising children. Now isn’t that more effective in the cause than say someone staying home?
#14
ONTario-CAnada
2,872 Posts
Joined Dec 2006
Originally posted by IslandExplorer
Ont CA - Have I misread your post? It seems that you're almost reluctant to criticise Russia. Or at least having doubts about it. .


My point is and has always been education. Over 100 million Russians believe these laws of discrimination are needed and just. Threatening them will achieve nothing. My point on energy is that Russia receives billions of dollars a day in energy supplies. What are a few less ships in the St. Petersburg harbour mean in comparison? And pouring a couple of bottles of Stoli down the drain is ludicrous. The battle for their hearts and minds will be fought by and for the Russian gay community. They are the ones who need our support. And presenting ourselves as gay people in our travels can only emphasize that we are not to be feared.
#15
San Francisco
3,873 Posts
Joined Dec 2005
Originally posted by ONT-CA

Elton John presents himself before the Russian public firstly as an artist, but also as a gay man who is married to another gay man both of whom are raising children. Now isn’t that more effective in the cause than say someone staying home?
And how is that effective, exactly? You think that Russians don't have the Internet, and that the 75% of Russians who are anti-gay but aren't fans of Elton John will suddenly think, "Wow! That old homosexual can sure play the piano! Why, I'm in favor of LGBT rights!"

Madonna and Gaga both played post-boycott Russia last year, and gee, the situation sure has gotten better since then, right?

Do you think when Elton John broke the boycott to play Sun CIty, all the whites decided that apartheid was wrong? That when he took a cool mil to play Limbaugh's wedding, the Foxheads decided marriage equality was cool after all? Really? Really?

If he had guts, he'd do what brave folks Dan Choi did and put his well-fed butt on the line, not charge big bucks for some concert. At least he'd announce he was playing a free concert in St. Petersburg, or play a tour in the USA and donate all the proceeds to Russian LGBT rights groups. As it is, he's just some celebrity whose political bona fides are pretty pathetic.

Anyway, the Russians, having just banned Selena Gomez, probably won't let Mr. John in, either...so it's moot.

And yeah, I find it disappointing that the cruise lines still highlight St. Petersburg. But then, for them as for Elton John, it's all about the money.

Too bad George Gershwin didn't play a concert tour in 1935 Germany. It would have made things so much better.
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#16
San Francisco
3,873 Posts
Joined Dec 2005
Originally posted by ONT-CA

And presenting ourselves as gay people in our travels can only emphasize that we are not to be feared.
OK, next time you visit St. Petersburg, you just saunter down the street in your "Gay Is Good" T-shirt and see how that works out.
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#17
San Francisco
3,873 Posts
Joined Dec 2005
Originally posted by ONT-CA
If you think for a moment that withholding a few cruise ships from visiting their ports will alter the course of their history you have not been reading their history. [/color][/font][/color]
OK, I really don't want to beat this to death, so to speak, but I just now noticed that on another thread concerning a cruise that stopped in Jamaica and Grand Cayman, you wrote, "The issue is our gay brothers and sisters in these locations who have to endure the machetes and the hatred of the people on these islands. The idea of supporting these homophobes financially by spending our tourist dollars as few as that may be is abhorrent to me. To have chosen these ports was a total disregard for the gay people who live there and who must endure the homophobia."

Now, perhaps you can explain the distinction? Are Russians somehow more educable than Caribbean islanders? Jamaica's Prime Minister supports LGBT rights, which makes her government worse than Russia's how? Are black people's machetes somehow more toxic than white fascists' fists? Or are our tourist dollars spent in Saint Petersburg somehow different? If Elton John played Kingston, would that perhaps improve the situation?
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#19
San Francisco
3,873 Posts
Joined Dec 2005
Originally posted by ONT-CA
Is Russophobia any less distastefull than homophobia?
Oh, give me a break. Two of my grandparents were Russian. I do not have an "unreasoning hatred of and bigotry against" the 84% of good Russkies who do not believe we should be accepted by society. It's a reasoned dislike of their attitudes and what they've wrought in their country, and I'm not going to give them a pass just because the Hermitage is in their motherland.

What I find distasteful, honest and truly, is your apparent double standard regarding the homophobia of poor black Caribbean Islanders and that of lumpenproletariat white-supremicist Russian thugs.

To me there's hardly a dime's worth of difference between Rastafarian homophobes and Russian Orthodox homophobes, except the Rastas have better music and weed.

Does that answer your question?
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#20
ONTario-CAnada
2,872 Posts
Joined Dec 2006
Originally posted by shepp
...To me there's hardly a dime's worth of difference between Rastafarian homophobes and Russian Orthodox homophobes, except the Rastas have better music and weed.
Does that answer your question?
Jamaican homophobia is primarily based on religious grounds and has led to the deaths of several openly gay citizens, their lives taken by being hacked to death with machetes.

Russian homophobia is primarily based upon culture and mistaken fear for its survival. Homosexuals in Russia are being deprived of freedom of speech not their lives.