A petition from Change.org and spearheaded by New Jersey’s Francesco Pascuzzi is making the Internet rounds asking that the organization behind the Miss Universe pageant not host the 2013 event in Moscow, Russia on November 9th.
“As a lifelong pageant fan, I’m shocked and disappointed that the Miss Universe Organization has chosen to host its competition this year in Russia, where LGBTQ people are under attack,” the petition reads.
President Putin has said the newly implemented propaganda laws aren’t discriminatory to gays, but instill Catholic Orthodox values, maintain his order within the country, and protects the youth.
“Russia is no longer a safe destination and host country,” the petition continues. “When the Miss Universe Organization allowed transgender beauty Jenna Talackova to enter the Miss Universe Canada pageant in 2012, reversing its previous policies on the matter, it sent a strong and unequivocal message in favor of equality and of the LGBTQ community. Choosing Russia as a host country undermines this progress.”
Several advocates and established gay bars around the world have responded with boycotts over Russian vodka as well as the country’s place in hosting the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. 83 Members of Congress have supported a resolution that will protect LGBT athletes and spectators while President Obama has gone on record with his disapproval of Russia’s policies.
“Many Miss Universe fans, myself included, identify as LGBTQ — and surely many employees of the organization are, as well. How are any of these people, who might want or will have to attend the event, supposed to travel to Russia under these new laws and feel safe, when they could (and likely will) be beaten, arrested and/or detained on the spot for being who they are? Clearly, there is more at stake here than the organization’s reputation. With this petition, we are asking the Miss Universe Organization to send a strong message in favor of equality and human rights by pulling out from hosting the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow.”
The petition has already reached over 5,000 signatures at the time of this writing.