Open Letter: A Call for Vancouver Council to take REAL Action on Anti-LGBT Laws in Russia

August 1, 2013 at 9:22 pm  •  Posted in From The Editor, Human Rights, International Issues by  •  0 Comments

Councillor Stevenson,

Thank you for your response. I’m hoping we might dialogue more on this; while I don’t believe that boycotting an ally is the way to go, I can assure you that I’ll not only be joining, but urging on [a boycott]* of those Russian Vodkas manufacturers that have not shown themselves to be supporters of LGBT rights.
I agree that now is the time to make our voices heard, and so I’d like to hear yours: you say my suggestions are good ones and definite possibilities (I’m not so sure—my NHL suggestions was pure hyperbole!) but if you truly believe that, if you are behind doing more than supporting a boycott that even many Russian LGBT activists have called misplaced or useless, which of my suggestions are you committed to moving forward with council yourself?
Will you  move a motion that Vancouver City take NO PART in the upcoming Socchi Olympics unless Russia changes it’s gay anti-propaganda laws?Will you personally call for Canada to pull it’s athletic team from the Olympics? (I should say that this is an action I don’t believe I would take myself; but it’s certainly a message that would be heard far louder than boycotting vodka.)Will you move a motion to end any Vancouver trade missions to Russia, and stating that will include not joining any provincial or Canadian trade missions to Russia?
If you’re willing to commit to at least one of those courses of action, I’d be happy to talk to you about reconsidering my decision to serve Stolichnya this Sunday evening. I don’t believe that it’s right to abandon an ally like SPI, but as you pointed out with your South African apartheid boycott analogy, sometimes we have to look at the big picture. If I have to join a misplaced boycott in order to see real, concrete action from the city on this I’d be happy to.
Reive Doig
NOIR Fetish Ball
* Correction: As sent to Councillor Stevenson this email originally omitted the words “a boycott.” They have been added in parentheses to make the intent of sentence clearer to readers.

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