Vicky Spratt | Deputy Editor | Monday, 30 November 2015

Russian Maxim Publishes List Of Male Celebrities \'Forgiven\' For Being Gay

Russian Maxim Publishes List Of Male Celebrities 'Forgiven' For Being Gay

The Debrief: Ian Mckellen, Stephen Fry and Freddie Mercury all feature on Russian magazine's list which praises male celebrities for their achievements and 'forgives' them for being gay

The Russian version of Maxim magazine has published released a list of celebrities that they have ‘forgiven’ for being gay. Wait, what? 

Yes, you read that right. 

Ian McKellen, Stephen Fry, Neil Patrick Harris and Freddie Mercury all feature on a list of celebrities who are ‘forgiven’ for being gay according to Russian Maxim. 

The list, titled ‘Gays We Respect’, features ten male celebrities which the magazine says they ‘forgive’ for being gay because they have managed to earn ‘respect’, the implication being that this ‘respect’ is in spite of their sexual orientation just in case we needed to spell that bit out.

To put this in context Russia is a country where so-called ‘gay propaganda’ is banned and has been since an anti-gay law was passed in 2013. 

Where the law says 'propaganda' what it means is  that anyone seen to be giving information out about what they call ‘nontraditional sexual relations’ (other than the robustly heteronormative Putin-esque embodiment of masculinity which rides horses bareback and bare-chested) to under 18s can be punished. While homosexuality itself is not criminalized in Russia, fines can be imposed on people who provide information about the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community in Russia and extends from people who look gay to the fact that gay clubs have to operate underground. 

The threat of violence is also ever-present for Russia’s gay community. According to the US Department of State Human Rights Report in 2013, there is ‘a prevalence of skinhead anti-LGBT violence’, to which the police fail to respond. 

According to Buzzfeed, the introduction to the article says ‘we, men, do not consider men who love men to be men. This is the rule, but there are exceptions.’ It continues, ‘there are gays who have earned our respect and the right to remain real men in our eyes.’

Ian McKellen tops the list due to his popular roles as Gandalf in The Lord of The Rings films and Magneto in the X-Men series. 

Stephen Fry comes in second and is described as ‘the living embodiment of the idea that one can be openly gay and a sensible person at the same time.’

Freddie Mercury features for his ‘bravery when fighting AIDs’ while Neil Patrick Harris is lauded for his exhibiting of ‘bro code’ even though he is what the magazine terms a ‘happy gay’. 

Unsurprisingly the publication of this list has not received a warm welcome. The editor of Maxim’s Russian edition told BuzzFeed news unapologetically ‘our position is clearly formulated in the introduction to the article.’

However a spokesperson for Maxim in the US told said that they were ‘deeply disturbed by the article’ which, they say, ‘is entirely against the views of U.S. Maxim.’

Despite all of the above Vladimir Putin, Russia president, told CBS News in September of this year that he believes ‘there should not be any criminal prosecution or any other prosecution or infringement of people’s rights on the basis of their race, ethnicity, religious or sexual orientation.’

You might also be interested in:

 Is it Ever Ok To Go On Holiday To The 78 Countries In The World Where It Is Illegal To Be Gay

Is Russian-Language Siri Anti-Gay?

The Law Says We Are Second Class Citizens Who Are Dangerous To Children Because We Are Gay

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Tags: Russia, LGBT