It’s been far too long since something offensively anti-gay came out of Russia. To remedy this, the Russian version of the men’s magazine Maxim released a list titled “Gays We Respect,” heavily implying that, unless you entertain the masses, you aren’t really a person.
“We, men, do not consider men who love men to be men. This is the rule,” the article begins. “But there are exceptions. There are gay people who deserve our respect and the right to remain in the eyes of our fellows.”
Ian McKellen, who starred this year in gay director Bill Condon's Mr. Holmes, sits atop the "esteemed list" of gay men Russians can tolerate, and the magazine credits his roles as Magneto (X-Men) and Gandalf (The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit) as the reasons they can “forgive his orientation.” What magnanimous people.
Other “respectable” gay men on the list include British wit Stephen Fry, whom the article lauds as being “gay and sensible,” Oscar Wilde, Freddie Mercury (“an exception to all rules”), Alan Turing, and Neil Patrick Harris, who was afforded a spot on the list because of his depiction of womanizer Barney and invention of the “Bro Code” in How I Met Your Mother.
The article further serves to illustrate how out of touch with the rest of the world Russia is when it comes to acceptance and inclusion. A spokesperson from Maxim’s US counterpart released a statement:
“We are deeply disturbed by the article in Maxim Russia and fully condemn it. It is entirely against the views of U.S. Maxim.”
The real question is, how much does it mean to be “respected” by people who still hate a fundamental part of you?