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Sochi Olympics are ... fabulous

Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people around the world -- and many of their allies -- are protesting the Winter Olympics in Sochi because of Russia's anti-gay law, which basically criminalizes pro-gay speech or propaganda.

As a lesbian, and yes, one who has been known from time to time to propagandize (i.e., write and talk) about how gay people are equal in every sense imaginable to straight folks -- and should be treated as such -- I feel the Russian law is unthinkably inhumane and offensive. And as far as I'm concerned, it's a reason to boycott the Sochi games and ostracize Russia on the world stage in general.…  Seguir leyendo »

I can vividly recall watching my first Olympic Games. Lying on the floor of the Boise, Idaho, home I grew up in, I tuned in each evening to the 1992 Barcelona Games.

I remember the moment when the athletes entered the stadium during the Opening Ceremonies. As I saw Team USA walk in, everyone dressed in stunning outfits, proudly waving our flag, I felt a sense of national pride that I had never known before. I was 9 at the time and completely enchanted by the magic of the Olympic Games.

In a world full of politics and war, here was a moment where everyone could set aside their differences and instead battle on the playing field for the love of competition and national pride.…  Seguir leyendo »

Ahead of the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, President Vladimir Putin is playing a game of his own: making his autocratic regime more palatable to world leaders wondering whether they should show up at all.

Putin’s efforts might benefit a few political prisoners, such as former oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky and members of the punk-performance group Pussy Riot. But they won’t change the lot of Russians as a whole, including the gays whose persecution is worrying the international community.

The list of world leaders joining a soft boycott of the Winter Olympics in Sochi gets longer every day. German President Joachim Gauck, French President Francois Hollande, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Moldovan President Nicolae Timofti, Belgian Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo, and the U.S.…  Seguir leyendo »

So who will be the Jesse Owens of the Sochi Winter Olympics? Who will be the brave athlete who shines in rebuttal to Russia’s crackdown on anything determined to be “gay propaganda.” Welcome to the new Cold War.

For Owens, the nemesis was Hitler’s ideology of racial superiority that placed Nordic “Aryans” at the pinnacle of humanity.

As a black man in segregated times, Owens identified with being targeted and subjected to second class citizenship. But instead of boycotting the 1936 games, as he initially intended, Owens stepped up to prove that Hitler’s white dominance doctrine was a bunch of bull.…  Seguir leyendo »

Russian officials up to President Vladi­mir Putin have been trying to reassure the International Olympic Committee that its laws against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people won’t have an impact on the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi. Moscow has said that it will respect international norms against discrimination under the agreement it made when it was awarded the Olympics.

Don’t believe it.

Russia’s scorn for international norms got a public airing last week when a state TV channel, Rossiya 1, broadcast audio recordings from a recent private meeting of human rights advocates and Russian LGBT activists.

The excerpts, aired during an openly anti-gay broadcast, could have been obtained only through surveillance.…  Seguir leyendo »

You don't have to be gay or even Russian to feel the wrath of the Russian government's homophobia. You could go to jail if you are "pro-gay," whatever that means. And that's under just one of a growing number of hate-infused bills becoming law at a time when, as it happens, Russia is preparing to host the world in the next Winter Olympics.

The perverse anti-gay legislation is inflaming an atmosphere of persistent intimidation and at times deadly violence against Russian gays and lesbians.

The question now is: What should the rest of the world do?

With the 2014 Winter Olympic Games coming to the Russian town of Sochi on the Black Sea coast, President Vladimir Putin and his country are about to receive a massive influx of publicity and cash.…  Seguir leyendo »