G-A-Y bars joins boycott of Russian vodka and urges supermarkets to do the same

PinkNews logo with white background and rainbow corners

G-A-Y group has become the latest to vow to boycott Russian vodkas in solidarity with LGBT people living in Russia, where gay “propaganda”, and the adoption of children by foreign gay couples were recently made illegal.

G-A-Y which owns the brand, its bars, and Heaven nightclub, will not be serving Russian vodka from now on, confirmed its founder and owner.

Founder and owner of G-A-Y group Jeremy Joseph tweeted to say: “Just in the middle of discussing with our wholesalers, but G-A-Y will not be selling Russian Vodka”. He went on to say that supermarkets should also join the boycott.

Speaking to PinkNews, he said: “We take for granted that each day we are making moves closer to equality in the UK, but we shouldn’t take this for granted. More importantly we shouldn’t forget that what we have here is not the same as in other countries. Some countries are taking steps back rather than forward, and what is going on in Russia is so upsetting.”

Noting many countries around the world where homosexuality is still illegal, he said: “Imagine for one second being gay in a country where it is illegal, where you can be tortured & imprisoned for your sexuality.”

Mr Joseph went on to say that the decision to boycott was more than economical, and was intended to send a message of solidarity with the LGBT community. Supermarkets and wholesalers should do the same, he said.

He continued: “Gay venues banning Russian vodka isn’t just about trying to hit the Russian economy, but its a way of showing solidarity & that the Lesbian & gay community in Russia are on our minds, not only should we ban Russian vodka from gay venues but we should campaign for Supermarkets & the bigger wholesalers of Russian vodka to follow gay venues, then that would make a difference. Putin shame on you, lets hope karma does exist.”

The upper house of the Russian Parliament voted last month to approve both a bill banning adoption of Russian children by foreign same-sex couples and the nationwide anti-”propaganda” bill banning the promotion of “non-traditional” relationships to minors.

The bills, which have since been signed by President Vladimir Putin, bans foreign same-sex couples and unmarried individuals in countries where same-sex marriage is legal from adopting Russian children.

Earlier today, KU bar also announced that it would be boycotting Russian Vodka, with an advertisement echoing Dan Savage’s message this week to “dump Russian vodka”.

Stolinyacha also recently joined the battle against anti-gay laws in Russia, with a message on its facebook page which reads: “Stolichnaya Premium Vodka stands strong & proud with the global LGBT community against the actions and beliefs of the Russian government.”

Last week, speaking exclusively to PinkNews, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg urged Russia to protect the rights of LGBT citizens following concerns about gay athletes and spectators attending the 2014 Winter Olympics.

This week, reports emerged of a neo-Nazi Russian group has taken to social media to publicise images and videos of gay teenagers lured in on the promise of a date, before torturing them and forcing them to come out to friends and family on video.

In May, a gay man from the southern Russian city of Volgograd who was tortured to death in an apparent hate crime, was sexually assaulted with beer bottles, and had his skull “smashed with a stone”, authorities said.