Russian Military to Examine Recruits for ’Gay Tattoos’
Russian military officials said they would subject recruits to a peculiar new examination: They will check for specific tattoos, which authorities claim could reveal whether the recruit is gay or straight, the British newspaper the Guardian reports.
The recruits will undergo the examination thanks to new technical guidelines issued from the Kremlin. According to the Defense Ministry’s central administration, soldiers will be given a thorough physical examination for tattoos on their face, genitalia and buttocks. The department based the rules on a 2005 military psychology textbook.
"The reason for getting tattoos could indicate a low cultural or educational level," the textbook reads. "If an influence by external factors is determined, for example, persuasion or direct coercion, this indicates the malleability of the young man, his disposition to submit to another’s will." Additionally, the book points out a number of signs that could lead to an "uncontrolled sexual behavior."
Some officers, however, object to the guidelines and call the examination ridiculous.
"I just physically can’t so confidentially hold a discussion with each new recruit. The commanders do that anyway," an unnamed battalion chief assistant told the Russian media.. "What will they do, examine their genitals for any tattoos? And how will they ask about someone’s first sexual experience? ’Hey, when did you have your first woman, rookie? Answer directly, no beating around the bush!’"
Most Russian citizens don’t support same-sex relationships, but according to a 2007 UN report, homosexuality and male prostitution is common within the Russian army. Additionally, Russia does not recognized same-sex marriage and the military has implemented a policy similar to "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" for dealing with gay service members.
Russia made international headlines this month after the country’s government pushed for the "homosexual propaganda" bill to become a national law. Currently, the controversial legislation is implemented in St. Petersburg and a few other regions. The law can fine individuals up to $16,000 for providing minors with information that is defined as "propaganda of sodomy, lesbianism, bisexuality and transgenderism." It also bans holding public events to promote LGBT rights, the Associated Press reported. LGBT and civil rights groups around the world have criticized the measure and have called for Russia’s government to nix it.