Today is the final day of the Sochi Olympic games and I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that hosting the games in homophobic Russia has been a blessing in disguise for the gay community.
Gay rights have been consistently discussed during the Olympic Games. Air time has been provided to discuss Russia’s discriminatory legislation in a way I’ve rarely seen in the US; we tend to only report on what happens here at home, forgetting there is a world beyond our borders.
While these protests may have fallen on deaf ears in Russia, the conversation has taken on new meaning here in the US. I can’t help but wonder was Michael Sam’s historic announcement days after the Opening Ceremony at Sochi intentional? It seems to have added fuel here in the US to fighting homophobia in sport; against the backdrop of the Sochi Olympics the conversation seemed all the more poignant.
Homophobia thrives when it is unchallenged. The 1980s gay activist group ACT UP had it right; Silence = Death. Although they were fighting for more AIDS funding and helping those dying from AIDS to live their final days with dignity, the mantra remains true so I hope the dialog started and scrutiny focused on Russia continues after the Olympic torch goes out in Sochi.
In light of the disgraceful way the International Olympic Committee has dealt with championing Russia’s homophobic legislation, I wanted to share this story.
American star tennis players Andy Roddick and Mardy Fish become the 1st professional men’s tennis players to align with Athlete Ally.
Andy Roddick said, “Yesterday was an incredible day for athletes everywhere. Jason Collin’s courage and leadership in coming out reminds me of how important it is for an athlete to be able to be true to him or herself. As an Athlete Ally, I want to support every athlete to feel comfortable and confident being themselves and to make sure that all people – players and fans alike – are welcome and included in tennis.” More about this story here and more about Athlete Ally here.
Thirty year old Steve Langton is a Boston native who calls Melrose, MA home. When I saw him featured in a local publication, I immediately thought he’d make for a great man candy post. This 6’2 / 220+lbs Olympian started his bobsledding career in 2006 and was named Rookie of the Year by the US Bobsled and Skeleton Federation [USBSF] for the 2007/08 season. He finished in 10th place in the Vancouver Olympic Games. Best of luck to you Steve.
Here are a few more photos of this Olympian. Click to enlarge.
Don’t worry Vlad. There won’t be any gays attending or competing in men’s figure skating; a sporting event with a proud Russian heritage.
Not to be outdone by The Canadian Institute of Diversity and Inclusion (CIDI) – see my previous post if you are unsure of what I’m talking about – Norway has issued their own response to Russia’s anti-LGBT propaganda law. Thanks for bringing this to my attention Jon Rodriguez.
Michael Sam, the ferocious 260-pound Missouri defensive end, SEC Defensive Player of the Year and a potential high-round pick in May’s NFL draft stepped out of the closet when he told the New York Times today that he is gay.
Perhaps the New York Times wrote it best when John Branch wrote about this college senior, “As the pace of the gay rights movement has accelerated drastically in recent years, the sports industry has changed relatively little, with no publicly gay male athletes in the N.F.L., the N.B.A., the N.H.L. or Major League Baseball. Against this backdrop, Mr. Sam could become a symbol for the country’s gay rights movement or a flash point in a football culture war — or both.”
You can read the New York Times interview here. ESPN as one might guess also has a great feature on the story here. Thanks for the tip lil brother, you even beat the HuffingtonPost alarm that came thru earlier tonight.
The 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics start tonight and while I’ve already written a handful of posts expressing my frustration with the IOC’s actions, I fully intend to watch the Olympics.
In a perverse twist of fate, Russia’s spree of homophobic legislation and Putin’s remarks defending them has made the LGBT calls for greater equality abroad a topic of conversation in a way that it may never have been if the games had been held elsewhere, and I hope the scrutiny post-games shall not subside.
Thanks to “Boston” Dan a BosGuy blog reader who sent me this video.
Last week while all of New England was watching the Patriots lose to the Denver Broncos, I was actually watching The ISU European Figure Skating Championships in Budapest. Mock me if you will, but I think I developed a bit of a crush on this 22 year old underdog, figure skater from Madrid who will represent Spain at the Sochi Olympics.
Much thanks to my brother, Tim, who forward me this image on Monday morning. I thought I’d save this for today. Enjoy the game if you’re into that sort of thing. Personally, I’m more interested in this Denver fan.
Did you know that Russia is the only world power right now actively encouraging discrimination and hatred against the LGBT Community?
Did you also know that the IOC has in their charter and mission that they are committed to “To act against any form of discrimination affecting the Olympic Movement.” Discriminatory laws enacted in Russia affect the Olympic Movement and participating gay Olympic Athletes but that seems to be an inconvenient truth for the IOC so they’ve pretended not to notice, but I have and it has really ticked me off. I’ve ranted about it here, here, and here.
Later today the US Olympic Committee’s road to Sochi Tour comes to the Boston Common Frog Pond skating rink from 11am-5pm so I thought I’d share some information about The Missing Link. It is a campaign focused on raising money to go to Immigration Equality’s Russia Emergency Fund. Over the coming weeks, I’m sure I’ll post a few more rants about my disappointment in the I.O.C. I’m curious how you feel about this?
Earlier this month it was announced that Paris had beat out a handful of other cities to host the 2018 Gay Games. I’ve never attended the Gay Games, but I love Paris and will use any excuse to write about this city.
No slight intended but this seems like a much cooler host city than the upcoming Gay Games to be hosted in Cleveland and Akron, Ohio the summer of 2014.
JMG last week broke the story that Germany’s Athletes will wear the above rainbow-hued uniforms at the Sochi Olympics, but officials insist the design is not intended as a commentary on Russia’s anti-gay laws. Either way, I love it. I’d love to see more countries follow Germany’s lead. You can read the full story here in Der Spiegel (it is in English).
Shame on the I.O.C.
Earlier this week Joe. My. God. blog noted that wrestling will be reinstated for the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo. Pity this won’t be at Sochi if for no other reason than I’d like to see a bunch of homphobic, sexually repressed Russians cheering on their guy as he
simulates gay sex wrestles.
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