Before May 27, 2015, you’d be hard pressed to find the word “homocivilization” in Russian on the internet or people who had even heard the term before. Then Kremlin-controlled television aired a special episode about homosexuality in the West featuring a “child rights” activist went viral. “We’ve seen radical homosexuality, these are homoradicals,” she asserted. “The world beyond Russia’s borders has built a homocivilization.”
Homocivilization, homo-terror, homo-maidan entered a growing list of Russian slurs and anti-gay hate speech that takes full advantage of the language’s modular structure. The new language sprouted alongside the increasingly hostile, and Kremlin-sanctioned, campaign against gays in Russia. These terms are familiar now to anyone who regularly watches Russian television.
Generally, hate-speech is universal and can be uninteresting in its banality. But in Russia, this new lexicon reveals the underlying trends fueling mania around homophobia.
Gay·ro·pa, proper noun
At its core, rejecting homosexuality is rejecting Europe and its value-system. The most colloquial new “gay” word is gayropa. Even in non-gay-specific contexts, Europe is interchangeable with Gayropa. According to popular opinion, you can’t be gay and be Russian. Homosexuality is a foreign import incompatible with Slavic and Orthodox identity. The source of homosexuality is then the West and Europe, or Gayropa, in particular.
Sod·o·mite; ho·mo-sa·ti·na, noun
Activists and politicians leading the cause against gay rights in Russia almost always overlap with religious, Orthodox activists and spokesmen. Homosexuality is an offense on the “natural family” described in the Bible and tolerance of gays is equivalent to heresy. The parable of Sodom and Gomorrah is often invoked and anything that involves gay culture, is homosatina.
Even in President Putin’s vocabulary, tolerance carries a negative connotation. The concept implies a tyranny of minorities over a majority’s right. Combining the Russian word for faggot, pederast, and tolerance, a tolerast is a person who values political correctness over majority opinion.
Gen·der fas·cism, noun
An emerging obsession over the role of the Soviet Union in World War II combined with modern Russia propaganda about far-right groups in Ukraine compounds with anti-gay sentiment to form gender fascism. Gender itself is viewed as a western ideology that strives to destroy traditional gender norms. Gender fascism brings homosexuality into the realm of a political ploy to control and weaken Russian society. A gender fascist not only supports gay rights but also strives to impose gender norms on Russian society.
The story you just read is a small piece of a complex and an ever-changing storyline that Coda covers relentlessly and with singular focus. But we can’t do it without your help. Show your support for journalism that stays on the story by becoming a member today. Coda Story is a 501(c)3 U.S. non-profit. Your contribution to Coda Story is tax deductible.