As a gay man and a life-long fan of the Olympics I find the current anti-gay laws being passed and enforced in Russia incredibly disturbing. While I hesitate to condone or rally for a boycott against the upcoming Sochi Olympics and I think a boycott of Stoli vodka might be misguided since I believe the vodka sold in the US is not actually manufactured in Russia, I do think that our president and secretary of state as well as the United Nations and the International Olympic Committee needs to step up and take some action.
I’m not a wildly political person, but I have eyes, and I know that if Russia (or any other country) were banning the freedoms of a religious or ethnic group the world would be up in arms, but since it’s the LGBT community they’re, for the most part, staying out of it. It appears that the US is more concerned with covering its own backside by dealing with Snowden while he’s holed up in a Russian airport than demanding that Putin and his posse stop attacking – figuratively AND literally – LGBT people who live in and have the audacity to cross its borders.
Enough time has lapsed and the US and Canada and England and Spain and France and Australia and Italy and Germany and all those other countries who say they are pro-equality and human rights must band together to force Russia to make their country safe and welcoming to ALL people, not only to those it has decided are worthy of equality, respect, and freedom.
If Russia wants to conduct itself like it’s 1965 or even 1982, I guess they have that right no matter how misguided, immoral, and just plain wrong it is. But if they’re going to invite the rest of the world to attend the biggest party of world peace that the Olympics is supposed to be, then every country who has an invitation must demand that their invitation does not come with strings. They must demand that every one of its athletes and citizens who attend the Olympics be treated with the type of respect and equality and, above all, safety, that the games represent.
Because if they don’t fight back, if they quietly accept the terms of Russia’s invitation, then they will be no better than their host.