Why is Vladimir Putin on the cover of gay glossy Advocate?

Sun. November 9, 2014 9:06 AM by OnTopMag.com

Gay glossy The Advocate has named Vladimir Putin its "Person of the Year."

An image of Putin with the caption "PERSON OF THE YEAR" strategically placed above his upper lip to make the Russian leader appear more like Adolf Hitler graces the cover of The Advocate's December/January issue.

In the accompanying cover story, Jeremy Laybarger describes Putin as "the single greatest threat to LGBTs in the world in 2014" and includes at least one Nazi comparison.

"In language disturbingly reminiscent of Nazi propaganda, [Putin] told reporters in January that anything that gets in the way of Russia's population growth should be 'cleaned up.' In addition to LGBT undesirables, Russia's ethnic minorities also pose a threat, as do freethinkers who openly critique the regime," Laybarger wrote.

Of course, Putin has supported, even promoted, the nation's current crackdown on gays. But did he throw Russia's anti-gay sentiment into overdrive or is he merely exploiting deeply held stereotypes for political gain?

Laybarger turned to Tanya Cooper, a researcher with Human Rights Watch, for answers.

"When politicians, celebrities and respectable journalists in Russia tell you repeatedly, either on television or in print, that gay people are perverts, sodomites and pedophiles, you just believe it," she said.

"The attack on the LGBT community in Russia started almost simultaneously with the attack on civil society and the demonizing of NGO's as foreign agents," she added elsewhere. "There was a campaign to expose all the evils of Western culture and say that immigrants, liberals who get their inspiration from Western political culture and LGBT people are all Western exports and therefore alien to Russia."

Laybarger concludes with the grim reality that Putin isn't going away for another decade.

The enemy of Russia's LGBT activists "is an eternal KGB agent with dreams of empire, a pragmatist and sportsman who crushes his opposition while still incongruously proclaiming, as he did in a New York Times op-ed, '[We] are all different, but when we ask for the Lord's blessings, we must not forget that God created us equal.'"

Article provided in partnership with On Top Magazine