Saturday, August 17, 2013
Going to the Olympics? Say you're gay!
The disgusting and disturbing stories continue to flow in from Russia. Gay and lesbian people are in a dangerous situation there, not only being targeted by violent thugs on the streets (many times wearing police uniforms) but also by politicians in the legislative system.
With the Olympics coming up next year in Sochi talk has turned to boycotting the Olympics. Sending a message to Mother Russia that your hate and violence towards gay people is unacceptable.
Unlike ours here in the US, but that's another blog post.
I'm sure there are many gay athletes who will travel to Sochi for the 2014 Winter Olympics. The International Olympic Committee is still trying to figure out how safe these athletes will be if they come out. Russian law is pretty clear that they, and anyone openly supporting them, could be arrested.
Yes, just for publicly saying you are gay or publicly supporting gay people.
My idea is this: Go to the Olympics, whether you are an athlete or a fan or a family member or you just like to watch winter sports. If you are an athlete, blow the Russians out of the water. If you are an athlete or any of the others I listed, say you're gay.
That's right, tell the Russians you're gay. Tell the folks at the airport, tell the hotel employees, tell the taxi driver, tell the restaurant folks, the bankers, the gift peddlers, the security people and any Russian you run into: I am gay.
Wear a t-shirt, paint your nails rainbow colors (Like a Swedish athlete did this past week), carry a little sign, make a huge sign for the whole world to see.
I realize that we gay people ask a lot of our straight allies and those who support equality. This would be a huge ask. HUGE. Imagine what it would look like to the Russian bigots and violent predators towards gay people if tens of thousands of people in Russia for the Olympics simply said they were gay!
We have to speak out against this. Bigotry, hate speech and violence against gay people has to be met by those of us who support equality for all. We cannot let them have the only voice. Furthermore, I feel that I absolutely MUST take action to be a voice for the gay and lesbian people of Russia who live with the threat of violence or arrest every day, and yet still come out publicly and still show up for protests.
I am gay and I support my sisters and brothers in Russia.
Thank you for reading.