Saturday, February 8, 2014

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back - Gays and the Olympics

The Olympics are officially open after a long, rather heavy-handed opening ceremony that was fun in a lot of ways, but lacked the precision of Beijing or the pure exuberance of London. These are most certainly Putin's Olympics and his stamp was on everything. I'm not casting blame here, it makes sense that any Olympic game will spotlight the host country for their opening ceremony. Indeed, it is expected.

Oops! Isn't there supposed to be a fifth ring? Small little glitches
like this would never have been allowed in Beijing. When this ring
failed to open, I told my husband that "Putin will be pissed - heads will roll." 

This Olympics athletes are being more open and brave about coming out as homosexual. This is possibly partly as a gut reaction to Russia's extreme anti-gay laws. There are six athletes who have publicly come out as gay competing in Sochi - all women. I give them all credit. It's not easy to be a gay athlete on the world stage, and to do so in a country that is so extremely anti-gay takes great courage. The six women are: Anastasia Bucsis, Canadian speed skater, Belle Brockhoff, Australian snowboarder, Ireen Wüst, Dutch speed skater, Sanne van Kerkhof, Dutch short track speed skater, Cheryl Maas, Dutch snowboarder, and Barbara Jezeršek, Slovenian cross country skier. These brave women, and in all probability other athletes who are still closing the closet doors for a variety of reasons, are now competing in a nation that is actively anti-gay. Very uncomfortable. Give these women your support as they compete over the next days.

Many people have protested the anti-gay laws of Russia. This protester in
was arrested in June at a protest in St Petersburg.  He carries the Rainbow Flag and
the pink triangle made infamous by the Nazi regime is prominent on his clothing.
A very brave young man. 

Russia is only one of many nations with severe anti-gay legislation, but it is in the spotlight right now. Russian law forbids discussion or disseminating information about homosexuality in any forum. This is specifically directed at anyone providing information to children or teen aged young adults - probably the segment of the population most in need of the facts. Vlad Putin is pushing Russia hard to focus on population growth in a time when the world population numbers are reaching a point of no return and planet non-sustainability. He has also been linking homosexuality and child molestation - a serious misstatement of fact that is often incorrectly cited as a justification against homosexuality. However, I'll save my tirade against child abuse for another post.

Here's a great graphic for all of you to grab if you want a FB profile
pic (resize to 180 x 180) or an LJ avatar (resize to 100 x 100). Maybe the
Russian who designed the opening ceremony rings was subconsciously
emulating this poster? 

With just these two actions - the repressive anti-gay laws and the push for population growth - Russia has proven that once again it is placing itself outside of the world community and focusing on interests that are not beneficial to the world, but only to Russia.  (I argue that the anti-gay laws are not actually beneficial to anyone - inside or outside Russia.) Simply put - Russia is selfish, self-centered, and self-focused, ignoring anyone else, and totally narcissistic. If Russia was a girl in high school, she would be the one who was so vacuous that even though she would have her own little clique, most of the student body would despise her. Yet, she would never realize it because her head would be so far up her own derriere.

Self-centered much? Russia wants to be part of the world, but keeps
building walls to keep the rest of the world at arm's distance with
antiquated laws and regulations. 

But anti-gay discrimination hits closer to home too. Just this morning I was reading about a local high school boy who was brave enough to come out as gay on Facebook within the past month and since then he has received physical threats from students in his own high school. This, in MY state - a state that has equality of marriage and one of the largest Gay Pride movements in the nation. I am appalled and ashamed that some of our children are so close-minded.

Here's one more really excellent item that is perfect for your Facebook
profile or your LJ avatar. Size dimensions are listed above. Don't have
the ability to resize but want one or both of these? Let me know, I'll
be happy to size it for you. 

I'll finish today's post with the names of some other Olympic athletes who have come out as gay, some of whom may be competing in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro:  Ari-Pekka Liukkonen, Finnish swimmer; Thomas Hitzlsperger, German football (soccer) player; Ian Matos, Brazilian diver; Brian Boitano, US figure skater; and, Tom Daley, British diver. If you want to know more about any of these athletes or Russia's anti-gay laws, just follow the link. In the meantime, I'll be watching the Olympics and continuing to work towards true sexual equality for all people, LGBT or Q. Have a great weekend.

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