we saw the controversial Russian reality show “I’m not gay”

“Я не гей” (“I’m not gay”) is a reality show on Youtube from 25 April. And more than a million people have already seen it. Halfway between Secret Story And Koh Lanta, the concept is to reveal the homosexual among the eight men locked up together. In the course of trials based on the most dubious biases – a candidate’s reaction to a random stripper or stripper, blind identification and touch of female or male buttocks, the latter proof of winning an immunity trophy – is about exposing the “intruder” among heterosexuals.

Participants have 52 minutes per episode to stop their vote. One of them will be eliminated by the majority. If the homosexual goes through the eight episodes without being pierced to date, he wins two million rubles (27,000 euros). The sum will instead go to those who identified it.

The program offers a lot "cliche", based on old and sordid prejudices.  (SCREENSHOT)

“Finding a homosexual in this country is like finding a functioning McDonald’s. There are certainly some, but not many and few know them”throws a Voice off after a traveling camera crosses a snowy landscape against a backdrop of distressing music. The atmosphere heats up with the arrival of the candidates who greet with a laugh a rooster in a cage, placed at the entrance to the television studio. The “rooster” defines a homosexual in Russian prison jargon. A deadly insult, so serious that it has almost disappeared from everyday language. Participants then discover a living room decorated with photos of old men kissing, deer mating. The stage is ready.

The first test consists of sleeping together in the same room, in the same bed and sharing the same shower … Oiled men with prominent pecs and a child in very skimpy clothes complete the scene. In just one week, the show easily surpassed one million views on Youtube. If any comments describe the show as“Interesting” or“fun”most are betting on the coming out of the presenters. “The most ferocious ending: Amiran confesses to being gay and kisses Milonov. It will be megahype!”, writes a viewer. Another applauds the concept: “Anyway, guys, well done for creating such a program format! Finally, viewers will understand that gays are no different from non-gays, that you can be straight and stupid, and that femininity or masculinity means absolutely nothing.”

To frame the “game”, the co-hosts of the show: blogger Amiran Sardarov, who explains that he wanted “entertainment and something socially interesting”and … Vitaly Milonov, a far-right Russian parliamentarian known in particular for his LGBTophobic stances.

In 2013 it was at the origin of the law that punished any act of homosexual “propaganda” in front of minors with a fine. “Every day I will try to help the participants identify the weak link”, he promises. In the images taken in 2014 by France 24 in St. Petersburg, Vitaly Milonov had uttered uplifting words qualifying homosexuals as “Sodomites raping children”. In 2021 you received a reprimand from the Human Rights Council of Russia for asking “sterilization” homosexuals.

Screenshot of Russian LGBT MPTophobe Vitaly Milonov, in the show he co-hosts on Youtube, "I'm not gay"April 25, 2022. (SCREEN CAPTURE)

In Russia, the 2013 law was supported by 67% of the population, according to a survey cited by Geopolis. A third of the interviewees even considered homosexuality a “disease that needed to be treated“And attitudes have hardly changed if we are to believe this Levada Center study in 2020 which states that one in five Russians believe homosexuals should be.”deleted“. To judge “ineffective” the law of 2013, two deputies of the Russian Communist Party also proposed to tighten it in 2015, providing sentences ranging from fine to 15 days in prison for openly homosexual men. They called homosexuality “deadly threat to all humanity”. In Russia it was considered a crime until 1993 and a mental illness until 1999 (1982 in France). If homosexuality is officially decriminalized, Gay Pride is prohibited, activists regularly incarcerated and the beating of homosexuals tolerated, especially in Chechnya.

For magazine Stubborn, “this is probably the most homoerokitch content in the country!” He also feels that the result is somehow “contradictory”because “homoerotic as fuck …”. the Mirror [article en anglais] echoes reactions on the web. “What’s the point ?asks a user concerned about the consequences of the homosexual’s media coverage that will be revealed in the show: “Who will you exhibit next? The Muslims? The Jews?”

In a similar genre, one of the entertainment episodes Weird outside from the American Youtube channel Jubilee which also consisted in unmasking the homosexual among seven people. But the game was about guessing by asking questions for fifteen minutes with a completely different goal: to create a movement of empathy for good living together.

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