Follow the Rainbow…Open ThreadPosted: August 12, 2013
(Rainbow Crossing in front of Russian Embassy, Stockholm Via Claes Betsholtz FB)
I am sure you have seen the protest artwork photographed above.
Isn’t it great?
However…There has been some disturbing news out of Russia on how LGBT Olympians and guest will be treated come the Winter Olympics in Sochi.
Russia’s Interior Ministry has confirmed that the country will apply its new anti-LGBT law to guests and athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.
The new law makes spreading “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations” to minors a criminal offense. Due its vague wording, a same-sex couple holding hands in public could be considered “propaganda” under the law.
“The law enforcement agencies can have no qualms with people who harbor a nontraditional sexual orientation and do not commit such acts [to promote homosexuality to minors], do not conduct any kind of provocation and take part in the Olympics peacefully,” said an Interior Ministry statement issued on Monday, according to RIA Novosti.
The law also allows for foreigners to be detained for up to 15 days and deported. But Russia’s Interior Ministry denied openly gay and lesbian guests and athletes faced a serious threat of arrest.
“Any discussion on violating the rights of representatives of nontraditional sexual orientations, stopping them from taking part in the Olympic Games or discrimination of athletes and guests of the Olympics according to their sexual orientation is totally unfounded and contrived,” the statement added.
Similar laws were first enacted in St. Petersburg and other cities before the nationwide law was approved. Vitaly Milanov, author of the St. Petersburg propaganda law, has said only “normal” athletes should they be allowed to participate in the Olympic games.
This is some serious shit!
Here are a couple of post for you to look through. First is Joyce Arnold’s take on the mess…Queer Talk: To Russian LGBTs, With Love
The Sochi Olympic Games controversy regarding Vladimir Putin’s “homosexual propaganda” laws is growing, with a big “To Russian LGBTs, With Love” component. From celebrities to politicians to organizations to individuals, the focus on the anti-LGBT laws, and the dangerous place they help create for “pedophiles,” are helping raise international awareness of one particularly ugly aspect of the nation which will host the 2014 Winter Olympics.
There’s no doubt the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in Russia need the “love,” need all the support they can get. As the NY Times notes, (emphasis added throughout)
Gays in Russia Find No Haven, Despite Support From the West
… If this article were published in a newspaper based in Russia, it could be labeled 18+ — like an X-rated movie — and start with the following disclaimer: ‘This article contains information not suitable for readers younger than 18 years of age, according to Russian legislation.’
The “support from the West” didn’t just begin, but it’s certainly picking up momentum.
All Out delivered a petition to the International Olympic Committee in Switzerland. which had about 322,000 signatures when presented. All Out continues to gather more signatures. At last check, it was at 354,703. From the petition:
We stand with citizens across Russia who are calling on their government to stop the crackdown against lesbian, gay, bi and trans people that is fuelling anti-gay violence.
Many believe that such a call to move the Olympics out of Russia goes too far. Would this be their opinion if the law instead called for the arrest of any Jews, Roman Catholics or Muslims should they display any sign of their religion … ?
To this point, the IOC has offered reassurances that LGBT athletes and visitors will be safe, but Russian officials continue to qualify that with what amounts to a warning: the anti-LGBT laws include non-Russians. In fact, the Russian Interior Minister today confirmed that such laws will be enforced, including athletes and visitors.
One senior IOC member even suggested taking the games away from Russia if no solution is found.
‘They have accepted the words of the Olympic Charter and the host city contract, so either they respect it or we have to say goodbye to them,’ said Gerhard Heiberg of Norway. …
He acknowledged that the possibility of postponing the games or moving them elsewhere at short notice is remote.
She has more summaries on what happened today so go and check it out.
Here are a few other reactions from members of congress: Schumer: Nations should wave rainbow flags for gay rights at Russia Olympics – The Hill’s Video
Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Monday said he opposed boycotting the Sochi Olympic Games despite new Russian anti-gay laws, instead urging nations to wave rainbow flags during the opening ceremonies to show support for gay rights.
“That’d be pretty embarrassing for [Russian President Vladimir] Putin,” Schumer said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “Let our athletes participate but still make a stand.”
In June, Putin signed a law banning gay “propaganda” and imposing fines on those holding gay pride rallies. The law has generated an international backlash ahead of the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) has called on the U.S. to boycott the games altogether in response to Russia’s failure to return Edward Snowden, the ex-CIA employee who leaked details of top-secret National Security Agency surveillance programs.
President Obama on Friday rejected the idea of a boycott.
“I do not think it’s appropriate to boycott the Olympics. We’ve got a bunch of Americans out there who are training hard, who are doing everything they can to succeed,” Obama said at a White House press conference.
Obama said he was “offended” by the Russian laws, but he expressed hopes that gay athletes succeeding at the games could change attitudes.
That was from an article posted at 8:30 am this morning, so things will probably change tomorrow…who knows right?
This is an open thread.