Looking for gay men. A Russian lawmaker is the face of a strange reality show

The principle of an unusual show is simple. Eight participants, who live together in a villa, must complete a given task – and in the process reveal which one of them is homosexual. The successful contestants will share a prize of two million rubles (approximately CZK 675,000) among themselves.

However, if they don’t guess correctly, the only gay among the contestants will get the prize. “Pay close attention to your neighbor, perhaps he is the weakest link,” Milonov urged the participants, according to the Komsomolská pravda newspaper.

He is known for his vicious homophobia. Last year, he proposed sterilizing gay people, saying shelters should be set up for them.

Dancing rounds, groping…

The show is hugely popular with Russian audiences, even though it may appear to be decadent entertainment. The challenges that should provide opportunities for participants to observe each other’s manifestations of sexual orientation varied.

It’s part of a broader strategy of waging culture wars to distract people from more serious issues.

Dan Healey, Professor at the University of Oxford

In one of the episodes, the contestants undergo a “lap dance” first of the strippers and then of the strippers. Others are watching. Another challenge had participants touching scantily clad men and women through the opening.

While some found the show to be queer trash, others spoke of interesting insights into Russian perceptions of homosexuality and masculinity.

“This is part of a broader strategy of waging culture wars to distract people from more serious issues,” University of Oxford professor Dan Healey, who studies modern Russian history, told Insider.

“That also says something about Russia – different from Europe and the West, it has its own rating of values,” he added.

Camilla Salazar

"Unapologetic social media guru. General reader. Incurable pop culture specialist."

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