Henry Rollins: 'A Lot of Americans Agree With Putin on His Stance Against Homosexuals'

"Russia is tough - the history, the land, the people - brutal," Rollins adds.

Henry Rollins: 'A Lot of Americans Agree With Putin on His Stance Against Homosexuals'
36
As this year's Winter Olympics are kicking off today (February 7) in Sochi, Russia, Henry Rollins discussed the country's anti-LGBT attitude, calling it far more media-covered than games themselves.

"There has been surprisingly little coverage about the Games, compared with the reportage of Russia's anti-LGBT attitude, now under global scrutiny," the singer kicked off in hisĀ LA Weekly blog, further describing his experiences with Russia.

"Before any American points a finger at President Putin and calls him nasty names, they should recognize that a lot of Americans agree with Putin on his stance against homosexual and transgender people," Henry pointed out.

"I just hope there will be no attacks by Chechen rebels upon the thousands of people visiting Russia," he continued. "I don't expect things to get better for LGBT folks in Russia anytime soon, as the people in that country can be an extremely change-resistant bunch.

"Many years ago, when I started visiting Russia, I became interested in not only the history but also some of the writers. Mikhail Bulgakov's insane 'The Master and Margarita' is a great read. Allow me to suggest the Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky translation. Bulgakov had to keep the manuscript hidden from Stalin's goons; it didn't see full publication until nearly 30 years after Bulgakov's death in 1940."

Still discussing favorite Soviet-era writers, Rollins singled out Daniil Kharms and Ryszard Kapuscinski, dubbing his "Imperium" book "the most captivating book on Soviet-era Russia I have read."

"Russia is tough. The history, the land, the people - brutal. I have been to Russia five times now. Never boring," the vocalist added, just to include several excerpts from a 1994 journal describing his very first visit to Russia.

Finally, Rollins concluded: "May the best athletes win, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera!"

So once again, Mr. Rollins addressed a touchy issue. Do you agree with him?

143 comments sorted by best / new / date

comments policy
    Maiden95
    Sadly, Henry is right on here. People are angry with Putin for being homophobic, but they don't realize they have friends with the same feelings. Luckily, I have a brain, and I'm not one of those who share homophobic thoughts.
    schirripar
    I've lived in NYC all my life, so my opinion on this is slightly slanted because the city culture is much more open minded about this kind of stuff than other places. People (Not Americans, not Russians, just people) need to learn how to value and respect human life. Cultures and lifestyles have been a revolving door of change since the beginning of humanity, which is something that is surprisingly misunderstood on a lot of levels in today's society. Stuff Changes, deal with it. Also, something something Dave Grohl something something
    cellofreak42
    A lot of Americans also believe that we never landed on the moon. Doesn't make it right.
    Maiden95
    I'm not really sure what you are trying to get at through this comparison. But we did land on the moon.
    kratos379
    Maybe it's not the best worded, but he means that there are many people who believe the moon landing was faked, but just because a large group of people believe something, doesn't make it right, which is a common logical fallacy.
    suicidehummer
    I think what Henry is missing is that gays are often beaten and even murdered in Russia and the police don't even go after the attackers. They are much worse than America and rightfully deserve to be in the hot seat over it.
    Sammy Mantis
    Right on, dude. People who don't share our views and beliefs obviously moral inferiors who don't have brains! Don't you wish everyone could be as progressive and forward-thinking as us?
    Maiden95
    Yes actually. Those lobbying, and I do emphasize LOBBYING, against homosexuality and gay marriage are going to look like those who picketed the civil rights movement 45-50 years ago. Adding on: Not trying to start a war here, but the main reason people are against gay marriage is because "it goes against the word of God", possibly the most trivial, uneducated answer one could give.
    Firehawk2410
    Actually, from people I know who are against homosexuality, the word of God has little to do with it. They are really against homosexuality just because they don't like it and find it repulsive, and some are even ignorant enough to say if gay people have equal rights, they'll eventually "convert" everyone to homosexuality. They only use religion to justify their feelings and make them feel secure about their stance.
    iommi600
    Using moral relativism to justify homophobia will not work, sorry.
    Doomzdayxx
    I didn't read any moral relativism to justify homophobia, but I could see how an ultra sensitive type could find that. Henry Rollins has stated in the past his distaste for homophobia. These blog excerpts just sounded to me like he was explaining facts, along with his opinion on Russian authors.
    iommi600
    I wasn't talking about what Rollins said, I agree with him. I was talking about Sammy Mantis' comment.
    Doomzdayxx
    Touche. I should learn to pay attention to post spacing on the thread I guess. Carry on...
    l0ld4v3
    You can be morally superior than he who hates and discriminate, just by thinking differently.
    1916
    Why can't people just be ****ing people, and judged on their ****ing merits? Why does everything have labels? Does the sexual orientation of someone really affect someone's life if they've never met them?
    Phiddler
    The Olympics are about putting aside differences to compete. I agree with him that people are focusing way to much on Russia's policies and not enough on sport itself. I'm sure that during the games any gay competitor would want to be seen as an athlete first and a homosexual second. They've trained too hard to get there to simply be seen as a human interest story
    slipdisk
    I would think that a gay athlete just wants to be seen as an athlete. there sex life shouldnt even count. a straight competitor wouldnt want to be seen as an athlete first and a heterosexual second. Because its irrelevent. their is no difference between a gay athlete and a straight athelete. except one likes to suck dick and the other likes to eat pussy (lol)
    richard.johnson
    One likes to eat shit off another mans dick... One likes to wear a plastic dick 24/7 and have men's haircuts and dress like a man and that's creepy. I honestly don't understand how people think that this is all ok, but I don't force my opinion on others, same cannot be said for the opposing view... Straight athletes do not constantly talk about their sexuality, straight athletes do not demand that everyone must conform to their own personal beliefs.
    Kueller917
    Now, I'm completely out of it when it comes to sports, but I don't remember any gay athlete talking publicly about all their weird fetishes in the bedroom. I have seen gay men that are always the first to announce how gay they are but it doesn't annoy me more than anyone else flaunting their private life. If an athlete appears with their trophy wife a lot it's basically the same as announcing their heterosexuality constantly. It seems more like former just bothers you more because you're less comfortable with it, not that it's objectively a lesser thing.
    Genrecore
    Russian culture is traditionally homophobic, same with Islamic culture as well. The problem is too many people are trying to assimilate others into "western" values. While as a westerner, I hold tolerance and freedom as a cultural value. That does not mean I should aggressively impose my own to other cultures. For example, If I visit a Muslim country, It is out of courtesy to dress and act modestly. While I may find this "oppressive", I am a mere guest at their land and must respect their customs and traditions.
    HitmanJenkins
    While I get your point, I think there's a slight difference between respecting a country's customs and values, and tolerating homophobia. Homosexuality is a natural occurrence in the animal kingdom and it used to be the same with humans as well. I also think that one of the reasons why a lot of people (myself included) are up in arms about this is because the parallels between Russia's treatment of the LGBT community and that of the Jewish people in Nazi Germany is very, very similar.
    UniformRecon
    It seems to be about 50/50 when it comes to homophobia in the US, and that also really depends on where you live. For instance, I live in Austin, which is an incredible liberal city for the incredibly conservative Texas state. There are gay bars and pride activities and people vote Democratic and everything. However, if you just drive north 15 miles, you have Round Rock, which is part of the "greater Austin area", but is filled with racists, homophobes, and bigots. So, it's very spotty and unbalanced as far as America goes with homophobia and LGBT support.
    Gibson_SG_uzr55
    Just because many Americans are anti-gay, doesn't mean we shouldn't criticize Putin and Russia's laws. Because guess what--us decent Americans are critical of homophobic Americans as well.
    zombiak
    Ryszard Kapuscinski isn't a Russian writer, he's a Polish journalist who wrote a book about the Soviet Union. I think it's a mistake worth correcting (even if the original source, i.e. Henry, was wrong).
    Davey_meister
    What does this have to do with music?
    KerNeL_KLuTcH
    This, if I wanted to hear about political bs, I'd go to a news website, not listen to musicians who are for the most part politically inept. Putin is ****ing psycho, we know.
    Northernmight
    The US' problem with gays and transgenders is largely religious, if you ask me. Now sure. I do have tons of things against religion and will take them up in healthy debate. But people are allowed to believe whatever they want, as long as it doesn't impact on people's happiness. In the case of equality for homosexuals and transgenders it clearly does though, and should be fought ever step of the way. Sometimes i'm glad i'm straight. Being homosexual can be a huge ****ing problem for you in many parts of the world. A thing that is EASILY taken for granted. But it shouldn't be.
    Doomzdayxx
    Two types of gays that I can't stand, the super flamboyant ones, you know...he ones that hold parades with naked men on leashes and giant dildos...and then there's the mean, chip on a shoulder, mad because they don't have a cock and they're weak lesbians....so basically I can't stand the stereotypes. Luckily not all of them are like that
    maowcat
    Totally agree, i had to spend an entire 3 months working for my sociopathic lesbian aunt, worst experience of my life, she's a self centred, egotistical, sexist bitch who divorced her husband because she realized she was a lesbian when he suggested a threesome and went through with it with her (mind you this was after 25 years of marriage). She only trusts lesbians and feminists, will do anything in her power to degrade men and oh **** i can't even go on. Met to many gay men and women like this who are the most self entitled ass holes you can imagine, don't get me started on the lisps, i know about 4 guys who "Developed" lisps right after they came out of the closest. I'm all for gay marriage and LGBT people being treated as equals amongst society, i don't think they should have any distinction from a straight person, i just can't stand the elitist attitude so many of them portray.
    slipdisk
    your auntie isnt Millie Tant by any chance?
    maowcat
    Just googled her, that describes her to a T, it's actually stunning how similar they are it's scary.
    TheForthcoming1
    There is nothing wrong with being gay, many rock stars like Kurt Cobain were/are pro gay, sadly many Americans are anti-gay (how has it harmed anyone btw?) and a good book to read on Russia's History, esp. during WWII, is The Gulag Archipelago, parts I-VII, Putin is also a former KGB member/agent.
    matteo cubano
    I don't know what kind of Americans he's been talking to but 80% of the people I know either don't care if gays get married, are gay/bi or have a family member or friend who is and strongly support them. Then again, I'm 19. But even all of the older people I come in contact with, regardless or religious or political affiliation also are in favor of gay marriage. It's probably one of, if not the most popular stance in American culture. If you hang out with my grandma (which may be closer to the demographic of Rollins' peers) then sure, maybe there's some homophobia around
    tric565
    Forgive me if im wrong, I dont live in the US but my perception of it is that there are large chunks of it that are very open minded and progressive and large chunks of it that are not. I might be wrong in assuming this but I get the feeling that its just where you happen to be that 80% of the people dont care if you are gay or not. That doesnt mean its the same all over the US. It was only about 10 years ago in texas when a man was sent to prison simply for having sex with anouther man in the privacy of his own home. Thats when the supreme court had to step in and force those states with sodomy laws into the 21st century. Just because they were forced to change their laws dont go thinking the attitude in these places have changed. For every New York, LA, San Francisco and Seattle you still have a Texas, Alabama, Utah and Tennessee. And thats not to say that those states dont have people who are progressive and do support LGBT rights but there is still a large percentage of them who are firmly against.
    eatfresh1736
    You don't live in the US? Where do you live? Let us invade you with our patented Democracy!
    Zoltan1251
    funny is, nobody on the internet knows what that law actually says..... it bans distribution of non-traditional sexual relations propaganda to minors..... which is basicaly nothing that serious, and usa in many cases have similar laws put in place..... this is just media putting something in the heads of stupid people
    guitarfreak1337
    Except that 'propaganda' has included ANYTHING that could be associated with homosexuality (i.e. two men holding hands in public) and led to severe beatings at the very least (of which there are videos online). Russia is f*cked up.
    theclassicrock
    He's right though in that it's a generational thing. I'd say that 80-90% of my generation has no problem with gays.
    crazysam23_Atax
    And 80-90% of the older generation probably doesn't either. See, the majority of people in the US don't really mind what other people do in their love life. It's just that small percentage who apparently think condemnation is the best thing ever. Usually these folks are "ultra-religious" people (usually of Christian denominations) who seem to have forgotten that the Bible states many, many times that the only person one is supposed to judge is one's self.
    schirripar
    Why are you pointing fingers at religions for absolutely no reason? Because it's easy to point a finger and blame a group of people for causing social and economic issues? Sounds like the open minded thing to do. The argument is just unnecessary, and founded solely on media agenda
    hansome21
    No, he is pointing at religion because they have a book claiming that a man should be put to death for "laying with a man as a man would lay with a woman." Religion is a huge problem with our social and economic issues, it is entirely politicized in the states. They constantly walk around with signs such as "God hates fags" and "God loves dead soldiers". Religion people make me sick, I hope they all kill each other.
    TSCreaturesband
    Religion itself is not a bad thing, it's people who attempt to legislate their belief systems onto other people who are the problem. It disappoints me to see people just hate upon the institution of religion because religious extremists exist. (Anyone reading this wishing to "enlighten" me about Atheism, don't. I'm well-read on Harris, Hitchens, Dawkins, Shermer, etc.)
    hansome21
    Religion is evil, as it makes people do evil things. What kind of monster can look at a perfect newborn baby and say "Let's mutilate it's genitals, and when they are old enough to talk, we will indoctrinate them with fear and hatred". That is pure evil.
    schirripar
    Which makes the opposing view of ripping a newborn out of the womb before it's born seem so much more humane.
    hansome21
    @schirripar, I don't understand your comment? Is that about C sections or abortions? If it's abortions, you can thank the non-religious progressive people (your enemies), because abortions are at a 50 year all time low thanks to education and contraceptives. Also, there is plenty of good reasons for an abortion, even if you are religious. The baby could be killing the mother, the mother could have been raped, or the baby might be dead in the womb. Your little book doesn't have all the answers, I would argue it has none, just more questions.
    schirripar
    I think it's cute that you think I'm some religious extremist because I disagree with you. Oh right, I'm on the internet.
    qrEE
    "ripping a newborn out of the womb" - straw manning abortion issues to the point of referring to the opposing view as extremists implicitly... is an indication of extremism. Also, God commits an abortion in the bible. Good luck figuring that one out.
    mulefish
    Religion isn't inherently evil. Nor are all religions equal. Not every religion is guilty of what you are accusing them of.
    schirripar
    I would argue that using the Westboro Baptist Church as your basis for religious people is a pretty closed minded thing to do. I'm not even religious, I'm just playing devils advocate
    Benjumanji
    @hansome21 Those people who walk around with "God hates fags" signs are about as rare as shark attacks. The media just loves to focus on them because they're ridiculous and polarizing. People love to hate Westboro Baptist Church because of how insane it is. Everyone forgets there's only 40 of those losers. Us other 100+ million Christians in the U.S. all get a bad name because of a few idiots.
    Firehawk2410
    Thanks for generalizing all religion into the beliefs of a 40-person ultra-conservative extremist congregation in Kansas. You do realize the majority of religious people actually condemn what the Westboro Baptist Church does, yes?
    xevious1
    its not 80 to 90 percent. For example California. California is a liberal state but even when California voted to outlaw gay marriage the vote fell in favor to outlaw, and it was close to a 50/50 split. look at some real numbers.
    iwannabesedated
    To be fair, voting demographics don't really reflect real demographics either. I'd wager that most people who didn't vote at all have no problems with gays, but just don't care enough to actually protect their rights.
    schirripar
    A common misconception is that people don't differentiate homophobia and being against gay marriage. Homophobic people don't believe homosexuality is a socially acceptable thing. People against gay marriage couldn't care less who you're dating, but simply have more traditional views on the institution of marriage. Now wither that that is right or wrong is a debate in itself, but the latter is definitely more represented than homophobic people. With that being said, I do think the entire thing is ridiculous and people should pursue whatever makes them happy, marriage or otherwise.
    hamsteroceros
    While I share your opinion on your conclusion here, I have to argue with you re: your claim that anti-gay marriage folks make that distinction. One follows from the other, dude. If homosexuality is just fine, then why would there be a limiting definition of marriage in the first place?
    hamsteroceros
    Is that you, schirripar? I'll make some very general statements too then, I guess... If someone truly doesn't care about someone else being gay, then marriage would mean the same thing for everyone, regardless who is married. I welcome any argument against the logical soundness of that. If, on the other hand, one doesn't want to appear to be a homophobe and claims not to care, then it gets sticky. This is the territory of "I don't care if they're gay, I just don't want them to shove it in my face" and "I don't care what they do, that isn't real marriage" as well as so many other shades of disingenuity. Seriously, if one truly, deep-down, felt that such a distinction as mentioned above were legitimate and the two elements were not causally linked, I would have to conclude that he/she were deluded or in denial. Let the downvotes rain.
    Jhenri
    Because some folks do believe that marriage is more of a religious concept than it has become. I know quite a few people like that and it boggles the mind.
    hamsteroceros
    It also boggles the mind how many people's feelings on the subject are deeply rooted in religion while they themselves do not consider themselves to be religious, yet many of these people cannot see the foundation of their own beliefs.
    schirripar
    Marriage is more sociologically rooted, meaning that it is an institution, or something that "has always been so." This is the reason athiests get married without it being considered a taboo. Homophobia is more of an issue of right and wrong, or morality if you will. Of course it's not black and white. I was just trying to add some clarification to the topic, saying that there are multiple stances being taken, not just one "I hate gays" stance.
    hamsteroceros
    You dissociate morality from sociology and sociology from religion, only to equate morality with religion. These are fundamental points on which we differ. Religion is absolutely sociological and while morality is as well, it absolutely is not necessarily based in religion. Furthermore, sexuality between consenting adults is not an issue of morality, either, so long as a "marriage" is at risk. THAT is purely a sociological issue.
    blackfloyd7
    I don't care if a person is gay or want's gay rights but the states can do whatever they want that's why it's called the United States. Each state can make it's own laws. If you don't like it then leave. Go read a history book. The State's were around before the federal goverment. The state's can override the federal government. The state's created the federal government. Go read article 5 of the constitution.
    connordeluca
    I'm gay. Just curious as to what to general views are regarding homosexual rights and the significance of sexual orientation, in the opinions of the ultimate guitar community? please feel free to judge