It is extremely saddening to hear of the continuing aggression towards gay people in Russia. President Putin recently signed a ludicrous law banning the promotion of "non-traditional values". Russia also bans gay pride events and horrific stories of violence towards the gay community are on the rise.
Instead of harassing and prosecuting gay people, Russia should welcome them for the wonderful diversity and creativity they bring to society. This goes for every society around the world. It's good to see many establishments are boycotting Russian vodka brands as part of a global campaign in solidarity with the LGBT community in Russia. It is also good to see vodka brand Stolichnaya's response declaring they "fully support and endorse your objectives to fight against prejudice in Russia". The protests should focus upon those standing against gay people rather than in support. I also loved Tilda Swinton encouraging everyone to share the photo below 'from Russia with love'.
As well as highlighting the setbacks, we should celebrate the progress towards equality that is being made in many places. It was great to see England and Wales pass the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act, while President Obama has been vocal in his support for equal marriage. Countries from Denmark and Brazil to France and New Zealand have joined the global community of nations legalising same-sex marriage too.
This weekend there will be a fantastic celebration of the gay community at Brighton Pride. This follows San Francisco Pride, where Virgin America were proud to be the official airline partner for the sixth year running. Over 200 teammates were in attendance, bringing some Great Gatsby style to the festivities in these brilliant Fly Empowered photos. Events like these should be celebrated, not banned.
Even the pope took a step in the right direction when he was brave enough to say "If someone is gay...who am I to judge?"