'Milk' producer Bruce Cohen calls for Uprising of Love

Hollywood film producer Bruce Cohen talks with Gill about screening his film

Hollywood film producer Bruce Cohen talks with Gill about screening his film "Milk" in St. Petersburg, as well as the Uprising of Love coalition he co-founded. (Gus Ruelas/Reuters)

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Hollywood film producer Bruce Cohen speaks with co-host Gill Deacon about the difficulties of screening Milk, his film about gay activist Harvey Milk, during a film festival in St. Petersburg after Russia instituted its controversial "gay propaganda" law.

While Sochi mayor Anatoly Pakhomov claims there are "no gays in Sochi," Cohen teamed up with the likes of Madonna and Melissa Etheridge to found the Uprising of Love coalition in order to support and raise awareness of LGBT people in Russia.

Everyone must come out

Cohen says Milk's message -- Everyone must come out -- is "alive and well" and critically important today in Russia.

"Counter-intuitively perhaps, what [LGBT Russians are] realizing slowly is what they need to do now is come out," he says, referencing the movement led by activists like Milk in 1970s America.

"It's the very opposite of what you'd think - 'well now we need to hide'. No. Unless you have the courage and faith to come out and introduce yourself to your neighbours, to the people who know you and love you, things are never going to change."

The Human Rights Watch video mentioned in the interview -- Gay Men Beaten on camera -- is available for viewing online, but please note that the contents are graphic and contain scenes viewers may find disturbing.

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