Lifestyle & Belief

'You're gay, so it's normal that you were attacked'

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Credit: Erik Martensson/Reuters

People sing the Russian national anthem while raising rainbow flags and a Russian flag at the Stockholm Olympic Stadium

Gay-rights activists from around the world are taking advantage of the spotlight on Sochi to speak out against a new Russia law that bans the promotion of "non-traditional" sexuality. 

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(This story is based on a radio interview. Listen to the full interview.)

And the activists are calling on corporate sponsors of the Olympics to take a stand as well. Wednesday, Olympic sponsor AT&T called the legislation "harmful to LGBT individuals and families, and harmful to a diverse society." 

Activists say the law fosters a climate of discrimination.

Human Rights Watch recently created a video, demanding that Russia crack down on anti-gay violence.

In the video, an activist describes getting beaten up by a group, and going to the police to report the attack.

He says the officers were dismissive. "You're gay, it's normal that you were attacked," he recalls. "Why would you need to file a claim against someone?" 

Christopher Dickey has written about anti-gay discrimination in Europe in a new article in The Daily Beast called America's Ambassadors of Hate

Dickey says there's an important US component to all of this: ultra-conservative American evangelists and missionaries who've played a role in whipping up anti-gay sentiment overseas, especially in places like Russia. 

"These same people were fighting against same-sex marriage, fighting against lesbian, gay, bi- and transgender rights in the United States and they have been hit by a tidal wave of changing opinion — where one state after another is starting to recognize gay marriage in America," Dickey says. "So having lost their constituency in the United States they're looking overseas to see if they can't convince governments in Uganda or Russia, which may have their own motives. They argue that 'you better do something to stop this homosexual tide or the same thing will happen to you that happened in the Unites States,' as if that were the worst thing imaginable."

Note: Viewers may find some of the images in this video disturbing. 

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