In Putin’s Russia, the most prominent homophobic vigilante group has called itself Occupy Paedophilia. Portraying themselves as champions of the rights of children, they target gay people for assault and humiliation. Some Russian laws treat “paedophile” and “gay” as though they are synonymous. In Ukraine, the anti-gay vigilante group White Lions similarly justifies attacking gay people on the grounds they are paedophiles. Gay rights’ demonstrations in Poland have, in the past, been met with cries of “Ban paedophiles”, while leading members of the ruling Law and Justice Party have lumped homosexuality in with “paedophilia, necrophilia and zoophilia.”
In the coming days, weeks and months, I bet you that homophobic bigots will use Spacey’s case to press the case that LGBTQ people threaten children. It will be used to justify oppression and mental and physical abuse. There will be those who have yet to come out who will be deterred from doing so. And all because of Spacey’s statement.