View From The Side: Too Gay To Drive


Too Gay To Drive:

What now Russia, you silly old bear?

So that title's a bit misleading, and possibly offensive. But here we are.

The actual news is this; on January 8th a new law came into force in Russia that banned people with various 'disorders' from driving. The list of said disorders is sourced directly from the WHOs ICD­10 (International Classification of Diseases manual), referring specifically to listings F­60 to F­69, and includes a wide array of supposed disabilities including transvestitism, transgenderism and fetishism.

I know that it's unusual for Russia to seek validation before doing anything mental, but this time around they seem to be legitamisng their actions by classifying these predilections as disorders, because this is exactly how they're termed in the ICD­10, which is essentially as close as you get to an approved World Government handbook on universal physical and mental wellbeing.

Homosexuality is not included as a bannable offence, but this may only be due to the fact that the WHO finally declassified it as a mental illness in 1990. Thanks guys! But the honourable gents who presumably put this decree together left themselves plenty of room to maneuver by including the classification of 'Unspecified Disorders of Sexual Preference'. Well that's nice and clear, then.

Now the reason for the misnomer in my title, apart from the fact that it sounds good (I was trying to think up some pun along the lines of 'Trans­port', but then I remembered I wasn't writing a piece for The Sun), is that I like to imagine that the powers that be in Russia, infuriated that they can't do much to inconvenience actual god­honest homosexuals, view all disorders on a 1 to 10 scale of GAYNESS, like a fucked up Kinsey Scale written by deeply sublimated self­hating homosexual alcoholics.

For example,

1– A bit gay: displaying a vague unwillingness to drink vodka and wrestle bears.

Good old fashioned bumming would probably register as 5- Definitely gay – with scissoring slithering in at 4.5 or so, because in a land run by drunk old men, lesbians will always be seen as a bit less gay than actual man­gays.

I imagine that the top of the scale goes something like

10- Utterly, confusingly and terrifyingly beyond gay, eg Tom Cruise*

So for want of being able to ban actual homosexuals from driving, they've managed to include everything either side: The full list of sexual disorders noted in the decree includes voyeurism, exhibitionism, necrophilia and even frotteurism. And the non­sexual disorders include kleptomania, pyromania and pathological gambling (these ones are probably all classified as 'A Bit Gay').

The decree was supposedly formulated in order to reduce the incidence of death by traffic accidents, and is supported by the Russian Professional Drivers Union, but what the fuck do they think is going to happen? Do they imagine that transvestites will be too busy constantly changing clothes on the go to properly control their vehicles? Or that the frotteurs will be distracted by rubbing their thighs and sliding around on the driver's seat and end up ploughing through the central reservation whilst desperately rubbing and grinning? I can see that an accident could occur if an exhibitionist and a voyeur happened to be driving alongside each other; and possibly a fetishist who has a thing for cars could end up causing a backfire due to exhaust cloggage; and I can almost hear a pathological gambler shouting 'Hey, Aleks, I bet you thousand rouble I can run over that old lady!' But it seems to me just to be a dick move aimed at the remaining parts of the rainbow they can 'legitamately' make trouble for. They probably see it as sticking one to the 'Gays' by having a go at their mates. Cheers for that, World Health Organisation. The WHO is apparently now looking into reviewing their classifications of 'mental disorders', and they do include this delightfully semi-­apologetic explanation of the term in the intro to the ICD­10:

"The term "disorder" is used throughout the classification, so as to avoid even greater problems inherent in the use of terms such as "disease" and "illness". "Disorder" is not an exact term, but it is used here to imply the existence of a clinically recognizable set of symptoms or behaviour associated in most cases with distress and with interference with personal functions."

Exact terms in a document that has an influence on the state of health in the world? Who needs 'em? And from an organisation who only got round to declassifying homosexuality as an illness as recently as 1990, I wouldn't hold your breath.

And, come on Russia, what's with all the anti­gay stuff anyway? The official line is that 'Alternative Lifestyles' can lead to social unrest and population decrease, but I assume the truth to be somewhat more hilarious:

In the eyes of the western media, it all started kicking off in 2013 when Russia passed the law banning the 'promotion of non­traditional sexual relations'. And I find it intriguing that this was passed on the run­up to two large sporting events to be held in Russia, the World Athletics Championship, and then in 2014, the Winter Olympics. Maybe it was all a genius bit of long game media manipulation that they hoped would conclude with OFFICIALLY the world's fittest women furiously kissing each other in protest on the podium, while the world sat around and clapped. And it worked, sort of. It wasn't all that furious in the end, but still, worth a punt I suppose.

We didn't get to see any actual bumming in public though. Either the difference of height on the blocks of the podium made this a tad impractical, or the men just weren't man enough to get gay; and this leads me to my other point: In all seriousness, I rather suspect it boils down to the age old tawdry problem: Homophobia is not, in truth, the fear of gays. It's not even just the fear of 'getting bummed'. It's the fear of getting bummed and liking it. And in an oppressive and repressed patriarchal state, that just will not do. Russia, mighty bear of the East, is terrified of a little cock. Thus, an unescapable ouroboros of homophobia is created by the lack of self­knowledge of a nation of pissed old men. I imagine a snake sucking its own tail would probably be banned from driving in Russia too, but that would actually be quite sensible.

Words: Captain Grimace. Who has also written a finely illustrated book called Johnny Cockhands. It is here

*This is a joke. Please don't sue us. You're as straight as the next man, Tom. Like a tiger. Grrrrr.