The world's eyes are on Russia after they introduced a new law, which makes homosexuality illegal.
Yes, you read that correctly.
And no, you haven't tripped and fallen into a time travel machine, it is still 2013.
This isn't an issue for a government body to "step in" and dictate what is "OK" or socially acceptable regarding the gay community.
If my soon to be husband and I went to Russia in the morning and chose to hold hands around the streets of Moscow, St. Petersburg or anywhere else across 17,000 or so km that Russia spans across, we wouldn't be judged. If we were to share a kiss or an embrace, we wouldn't be scowled at or physically assaulted. Yet if I had been born male, or he a female, then this would be an issue. For this to even be an issue across the world in which we inhabite is nonsensical to me.
When we find someone we share a deep connection with, have strong feelings for or fall in love, the natural thing is to shout it out. Tell your friends! Tell your family! Let them share in your excitement!
Yet photographs of Pride parades across Russia have been posted online and have been met with opposition and violence. In a word this is vile. Not the fact that people wish to walk with their heads held high showing the world who they are, not at all. But the fact that they would be judged negatively for it.
Firstly, why is it ANYONE else's business about who you share a bed with? Or how people live their lives? If a same-sex couple wish to have a child or raise a family together, why is this still an issue? Studies have shown that children in same-sex parent homes grow up and develop into fully functioning human beings just fine. Links? Here and here, to name just two.
Similarly to women smashing through the glass ceiling, equality is still a dream. An achieveable dream?
I would like to think so.
But the public need to demand change. If I want to have a career, be a mother and try and strike a balance between that and family life then I think this should be an option. Whether or not I'll succeed is another matter, but the choice should be there. And that is what is key. Choice.
I dream of a world where there is no need for Pride parades or protest for same sex marriage. It should be a non-issue. We are all human beings. Who we choose to spend our time with, love and create a family with should be no one elses business. Although Russia has a rich culture and is steeped in history, I will personally not travel to Russia to support their infrastructure until they sort out their human rights issue regarding the LGBT community. I just cannot support a country where the rights of all citizens are not upheld.
Recently, the wonderfully eloquent Stephen Fry waded into the debate with an open letter to the IOC (International Olympic Committee) and David Cameron. Haven't read it yet? Give it a read here. Similarly, Wentworth Miller declined an invite to a Russian film festival in an open letter where he came out as a gay man. There are now calls for a boycott of the Winter Olympics in 2014, which are due to be held in Russia. Only can time can tell if it will come into effect.
So why am I writing about this when my blog is all about 'Trying to see the funny side'? I can only hope that both I and modern society will have the last laugh when change finally happens. I hope that I can live in a world where people are educated to be accepting of others and spread that acceptance and understanding onto the next generation so that this is no longer an issue. I live in hope!