Questions about Russia's anti-gay laws cloud Sochi preparations
Olympics, Summer, Sochi Olympics

We have a decision to make about the Sochi Olympics

8/4/13 in Olympics, Summer   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Blog Photo - Questions about Russia's anti-gay laws cloud Sochi preparationsThe great ideal of the Olympics, which is also its biggest lie, is that they transcend politics. It doesn't take a very thorough look at Olympic history to see how bogus that is. It's been no different for the upcoming 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. There have been reports of cronyism in building the venues, and no one seems to be sure why the Winter Olympics are being held in a summer resort town. However, a new issue that has recently taken hold regarding Russia and the Olympics. Quite frankly, Russia's attitude towards gays is abhorrent.

Recently, the country enacted what are called "anti-gay propaganda" laws. The laws essentially criminalizes being gay or calling for gay rights. Despite protests, Russia is not backing down. Their Sports Minister has made it clear that the laws will be enforced during the Olympics. The law is written broadly enough that its unclear exactly what sort of "propaganda" is enough to be arrested. In theory, Russia wouldn't be crazy enough to arrest people at the Olympics, right? Maybe they would, maybe they wouldn't, but the authority has been given to police by their government.

There have been calls to boycott the Olympics unless these laws are changed. However, we know from experience that all boycotts do is hurt the athletes affected. A boycott of the Games themselves aren't going to change anything. The main question then is will anyone be willing to demonstrate for LGBT equality while at the Games. Will there any be any statement similar to John Carlos and Tommie Smith in 1968? That's the kind of statement that can truly bring attention to the problem and maybe affect change.

Here at home we have decision to make regarding the Olympics. Are we just going to ignore this, sweep it under the rug during the Games? There has already been pressure on NBC to not whitewash the issue in its coverage, and gay bays have become a boycott of Russian vodkas. It's politicizing the Olympic Games, yes, but it's far from the first time and certainly won't be the last. If the Olympics truly can affect social change in a positive way, it's time to prove it.

(Photo Credit: AP via New York Times)
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