Now here's a way to put some real skin in the game... Openly gay entertainer Andy Cohen will not return as the cohost of the Miss Universe pageant. The competition is being held in Russia for the first time later this year.
Andy Cohen will not be taking his regular post as cohost of the 2013 Miss Universe competition, which will be held on Nov. 9 at the Crocus City Hall in Moscow, Russia.
The Watch What Happens Live star told his friend and pageant cohost of the past two years, E! News' Giuliana Rancic, that he turned it down because "their discriminatory policies make it unsafe for the gays who live there and gays coming to work or visit."
"The law is that anyone under suspicion of homosexuality can be arrested," he told Rancic, adding that he "didn't feel right as a gay man stepping foot into Russia."
These are the kind of actions we really need if we want to advance the civil rights of LGBT people in Russia. Russia should be treated more like South Africa* was than trying to relive the Coors/orange juice days by boycotting a beverage. When celebrities, businesses, and entertainment companies start walking away over the human rights violations, that is when the Russian government - with their weak economy - will sit up and take notice.
This is much bigger than your choice of alcohol brand, folks. People are really starting to think Big Picture now and it gives me much more confidence in our abilities to actually help LGBT Russians bring real change to their government and their neighbors.
*Taking into consideration, of course, that there is no cookie cutter method of international diplomacy.