On Wednesday 10th January, the Slavonic and LGBT societies hosted Professor Dan Healey who came to give a talk on the history of homophobia in Russia. Being a published author on the subject he based this thought provoking lecture on his book, “Russian Homophobia from Stalin to Sochi.”
Professor Healey started the talk by walking the pupils through the rise of homophobia as a political tool, and its implementation in countries such as Nazi Germany to win support of the population by making gay men and women one of the scapegoats. This theory was then extended to the Soviet Union as Professor Healey went on to demonstrate that homophobic laws were only put in place by Stalin in 1930s, during the period of collectivization, the five year plans and famine, all of which took a toll on the population. He also spoke about homophobia under the Putin regime and how certain progress has been made in terms of gay rights as homosexual relationships were legalised in 1990s.
During the equally insightful Q&A session, homophobia in Tsarist Russia as well as the prospects for the LGBT community in Russia were discussed.
Professor Healey concluded the lecture by telling the pupils that for Russia to make further progress in its attitude towards the LGBT community, the western countries have to be more proactive in their help instead of merely being critical of the existing prejudices within the population. We would like to thank Professor Healey for coming to Eton and for giving such an intuitive talk.