Homophobia in Russia is reaching new levels of absurdity with news that the military will be examining recruits to check that they do not have ‘gay tattoos.’
According to reports, the Russian Defence Ministry’s central administration has urged units to assess the sexual orientation of conscripts and contract soldiers entering the military.
The guidelines suggest checking the would-be soldiers’ bodies for tattoos near the face, sexual organs and buttocks, as these could indicate if the individual is gay or a sexual deviant.
The guidelines also advise assessors to look out for recruits’ mental instability, including early sexual experiences and “uncontrolled sexual behaviour,” and to interview them on their sexual experiences.
The St Petersburg Times reported that an unnamed military psychologist commented: “I had one gay contract soldier who joined just to find more partners for himself. For people like that, of course, there’s no place in the army.”
The newspaper noted that most officers surveyed on the guidelines said that they were impractical and they would not strictly follow them.
According to Wikipedia, while gay people can theoretically legally serve in the Russian military, “they are strongly advised to hide their homosexuality for the sake of their personal safety”.
The military’s new guidelines reflect a growing intolerance towards LGBT people in Russia.
Following a number of delays, a bill proposing to ban homosexual “propaganda” is expected to be read in Russia’s parliament on Friday.
The bill, which is said to have wide support among legislators, would fine individuals and organisations for “promoting” homosexuality to minors and would effectively ban any public shows of support for LGBT rights and any displays of homosexuality across Russia.