Vladimir Putin is featured on the cover of The Advocate's December 2014/January 2015 issue. With the words "Person of the Year" cropped into a neat Hitler mustache on his upper-lip, the association is clear--and is receiving plenty of plaudits. It was revealed on MSNBC last night, with the magazine's editorial director, Aaron Hicklin, sharing the news since the magazine's editor in chief, Matthew Breen, is currently out of the country on a work-related trip.
In his profile of the Russian leader, Jeremy Lybarger neatly lays out his case for why Putin has made the biggest impact on the global gay community in 2014. His famous anti-gay propaganda bill and homophobic policies have made a terrible and massive impact on Russia. His "Russian purity" rhetoric, which Lybarger calls the "cornerstone of Putin's identity," and desire to remove the country of "undesirables" are eerily reminiscent of Hitler. His ability to whip Russian homophobia into a frenzy to further his political aims is nothing short of masterful.
In his fervor to keep Russia free of Western influences, including McDonald's, Honey Whisky, and NGOs, Putin has introduced his anti-gay policies. Gay rights are expanding in the West, ergo Putin does the opposite.
Sadly it doesn't seem that the situation will improve anytime soon. Lybarger quotes Julie Dorf, a senior adviser at the Council for Global Equality: "Putin's not going away until 2024, so the situation, politically, isn't going to change for quite some time." Lybarger laments this, writing, "the prospect of another decade under Putin is devastating."
Though Putin has made the biggest impact on the LGBT community this year, we can only hope that someone who has a positive influence on the community will be recognized next year as The Advocate's "Person of the Year."
[Full Disclosure: The Advocate and Out magazines are both owned by Here Media and Grand Editorial produces the content for Out, The Advocate, and Out.com]