Stoli Russian Vodka Boycott in LGTB Community

July 30, 2013 under News

Stoli Russian vodka boycott in Vancouver

Dear readers, as Vancouver’s Pride Parade is about to go on this week, the hype around the Russian vodka boycott is getting heated in our city.  I would like to present you with a response from Lena who lives in Belarus as an example of a fresh perspective on the topic.

 

by Lena, Belarus

Putin, Russian Vodka and Gays

Putin, Russian vodka and gays, what is the connection? If you ask this question nowadays, people may think that you are completely ignorant or you live on an uninhabited island. Russia issued anti-gay laws, that caused protests in America and activists suggested to boycott Russian vodka. Sounds ridiculous, but this is the truth.

Here we do not talk about sexual minorities. Maybe because there are not so many of them. By the way, just to specify “Here” means not in Russia. I am from Belarus. And here we really do not pay special attention to sexual minorities. People like millions of others, they work, eat, drink, relax… usual activities. We do not see any reason to speak about them too much or to forbid them to live. Politicians organize parades and shows to honor themselves. Why not gays then? I don’t think they are worse. But if you think so, you can give me reasons why.

I also do not understand what this anti-gay law is for. Why then not anti-criminals law? Criminals who took people`s lives are not forbidden, they stay in prison, eat and drink for money that we pay as taxes.

Well, Putin knows better, maybe gays are more dangerous that criminals. Here we have the same culture as Russia, I wouldn’t say that we are more democratic or more developed. We have the same religion, the same traditions. But we judge people according to their personality, their attitude to us, not by their nation or race or whether they belong to sexual minority or not.

Now about vodka. How is vodka connected with gays and Russian legislation? Completely different thing is Olympic Games in Sochi. This for sure would have influence. But I do not think that such kind of boycott can be supported by majority of people. Russia have always been and still is a great country with strong traditions and unique culture, and visiting Olympic Games can be a good reason for many foreigners to discover Russia. America can boycott the Olympic Games, but since it’s Europe here, and Europeans will gladly use such an opportunity.

But right, if Olympic Games are boycotted, this will be a good reason for Russia to think about gays once more. Though again gays will be accused, as nobody would accuse for this the Russian government. If any kind of boycotting will make the Russian government change their mind? I do not think, so, they for sure were ready for protests. At least they could forecast that there will be unsatisfied people.

Ah, by the way, again to vodka. I don’t think that boycotting of Russian vodka Stolichnaya will support the Russian gays or will make the Russian government think. It would be more logical to boycott Russian products rather than Latvian, as Stolichnaya is neither produced nor bottled in Russia any more. Anyway, the Russian government will be grateful for such protests as they wanted to get that brand back. That is why before running to streets and yelling about protests maybe better to ask yourself a question: who will have the main profit from it? In this case this is Russia who will take the main advantage.

Davie street rainbow pavement for Vancouver Pride Week 2013

Rainbow pavement on the intersection of Bute and Davie in Vancouver in the spirit of Pride Week.

 

Buddhist Supermodel Miranda Kerr

December 3, 2012 under Famous

By David, USA
A few brushes with controversy along the way haven’t stopped the rise to super model stardom for Australian Miranda Kerr; they instead have revealed her as a person with sound judgment, and a good heart. In 1997, at the age of thirteen, Miranda’s first modeling success came when she won a contest to appear in in Australia’s Dolly Magazine.

Such a young girl modeling in a magazine caused “concerned outrage” among her townspeople. Recently she addressed that early issue:  “In the media at the time they were trying to cling on to anything remotely to do with pedophilia. Dolly is a magazine for teenage girls, not for old men. And I was fully clothed! Doing a winter shoot!”
Fast forward to the present: Just a few weeks ago, People Magazine caught up with Miranda as she was preparing for the December fourth television show, “The 2012 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show”. “What are you doing to prepare?” they asked. “…  a lot of Pilates, yoga, boxing and working my core, butt and legs. I also drink healthy green juices everyday, and protein shakes.”
Miranda’s initial exposure in Dolly magazine led to modeling assignments for Australian brands Tigerlily, Roxy, Billabong Girls, and One Teaspoon.  After these appearances raised her profile in Australia and Asia, she moved to New York and landed runway and print jobs for major brands including Alex Perry, Baby Phat, Lisa Ho, Voodoo Dolls, Levi’s, Bettina Liano, Nicola Finetti, L.A.M.B., Heatherette, Betsey Johnson, Trelise Cooper, Jets, John Richmond, Blumarine Swimwear,  Neiman Marcus, Seafolly Swimwear, Anna Molinari, Rock and Republic, Roberto Cavalli, and Ober Jeans.
Miranda hit the United States market in a big way when she landed a lucrative contract with Maybelline New York in 2006, where her image carried the Maybelline message in print campaigns in major women’s beauty magazines including Cosmopolitan, CLEO, and Elle. After her successful Maybelline campaign, she became the first Australian model to be signed by Victoria’s Secret as the first Australian Victoria’s Secret Angel.
Kerr’s global exposure continued to grow, with her appearances on the televised runway shows “Victoria’s Secret 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009”. In 2009 she founded Kora Organics, and introduced her exclusive line of skincare products Kora Organic Skincare.  The company is based in Sydney, Australia, and Miranda’s mother manages it and her brother works there as well.
Miranda married actor Orlando Bloom in 2010 after having dated him three years, and they gave birth to their first child, a boy, Flynn Christopher Blanchard Bloom.
Miranda practices Nichiren Buddhism, a branch of Mahayana Buddhism based on the Lotus Sutra, which teaches that all people have an innate “Buddha Nature” and thus are capable of attaining enlightenment in their current form and present lifetime. She believes that “we have a responsibility to bring peace and harmony to our lives and the world.”
It is perhaps this commitment to harmony that caused her to save the job of an admirer who didn’t know he was on live television! In February 2010, Channel 7 News, Sydney Australia was broadcasting a live interview on a financial topic at The Macquarie Bank with a bank manager, while an associate in the background could clearly be seen admiring a series of explicit photos of Miranda on his computer screen.
Without knowing it, the interviewer’s story was being upstaged on live TV by Miranda Kerr!  This local TV news interview went viral on You Tube, reaching 1.3 million views in a few days. The associate was suspended and termination seemed likely when a local petition in favor of the Kerr fan keeping his job snowballed. Miranda spoke out in favor of her fan,  and offered to sign the petition. As a result, the bank let the roving eyed associate keep his job.
Stunningly beautiful, her model “trademark” is probably her dimples…. At the young age of twenty nine, we can expect much success for the talented Super Model Miranda Kerr who has not only modeled but started her own company, written an inspirational self-help book for teenage girls “Treasure Yourself”, and done extensive work for charity groups largely concerned with preservation of wildlife.
We close with truly accurate comments about Miranda from celebrity photographer Russell James:  “The US has fallen in love with her. We love her because she has the most incredible girl-next-door look and she’s also insanely beautiful. It means women are not intimidated by her looks and guys think they might be able to talk to her. It’s a fantastic combination … people want to be around her; she’s fun on a shoot … and she’s not stupid, which can be a very annoying trait among some models.”
Good job, and “Cheers!” to you, Australian Super Model Miranda Kerr !
 

Dana International – Always a Diva!

August 22, 2012 under Famous

One of my favourite music events to watch is the Eurovision.  It is something that brings out the best from countries from all over the world.  Not surprisingly, one of my treasured family posessions is a memorial coin from Eurovision in 1999 that was hosted in Israel because their contestant, Dana International, won in the previous year.

It is so hard to believe that this Israeli Eurovision winner, Dana International, used to be a boy.  Her popularity skyrocketed after her victory in 1998.  I remember those times when all of my Israeli friends were listening to her song “Diva”.  She returned to represent Israel at Eurovision many times after that, including 2011 with her song “Ding Dong”.

 

 

Can you imagine, she was banned on TV and radio when she just started out because “transsexual sent the wrong message to the nation’s youth”?  Still, even in countries like in Canada, I run into people who manage to make a mean comment about a transgendered woman.  Dana was met with a lot of opposition from religious groups when she performed at the Eurovision.  This is what she said as a reponse to that:

“My victory proves God is on my side. I want to send my critics a message of forgiveness and say to them: try to accept me and the kind of life I lead. I am what I am and this does not mean I don’t believe in God, and I am part of the Jewish Nation.”

Now she is over 40 and looks better than most women!  She even dresses more feminine – in most of her videos she is wearing either pantyhose, fishnets, leggings, or some kind of tight sexy leg wear.  Could that be why she is one of my favourite performers?