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The Games themselves should be open to all
July 19, 2013 6:10 PM   Subscribe

The International Olympic Committee has issued a statement acknowledging the new anti-gay laws signed by Vladimir Putin last month. The Sochi Olympic Games are set to open on February 7.

Some LGBT groups have already called for a boycott of the 2014 Winter Olympics.

U.S Olympic officials have already rejected calls to boycott the Games if Russia grants asylum to Edward Snowden.

This past week, Jón Gnarr, the mayor of the capital Reykjavik, said he wishes to formally revise or break off the capital’s political and cultural relations with Moscow.

Among other measures in the Russian law, fines can now be imposed on those who provide information about the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community to minors or hold gay pride rallies. The law makes it illegal for anyone in Russia to publicly admit that they are gay or make any gestures that might hint at their sexuality, such as wearing rainbow clothing, holding hands or kissing someone of the same sex.
posted by roomthreeseventeen (79 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
Wait a minute. Doesn't the IOC itself have issues accepting transgender athletes? I mean if you"re gonna lump LGB with T isn't it an all or nothing package deal?
posted by three blind mice at 7:10 PM on July 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Boycott them. Send the world a message. But hey, I live in a state that bans gay marriage so who am I to criticize?
posted by Drinky Die at 7:16 PM on July 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


2013.... I don't understand. Is the Earth spinning backwards or something?
posted by tzikeh at 7:21 PM on July 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


three blind mice: There are athletic advantages to being born one particular sex, guess which one? It seems like the IOC's issues around transgendered athletes are honestly about trying to keep a (reasonably) level playing field.
posted by Cosine at 7:23 PM on July 19, 2013 [6 favorites]


Doesn't the IOC itself have issues accepting transgender athletes?

In fairness to the IOC (can't believe I just typed that but...) transgender athletes in women's sports is a sticky subject due to the advantage those folks have over their competitors due to unalterable biological realities. They have to draw the line somewhere and they are trying. There is no international standard for what constitutes a "woman" or a "man".

If a female-to-male athlete qualified I doubt there would be an issue, but it'll never happen because, again, biology.

There are and have always been plenty of openly gay athletes in the most telegenic and well supported or historic sports (diving, gymnastics, ice skating, equestrian to name a few with well known gay athletes) and the IOC has NEVER had a problem with that. There were gay people competing in the 60s for petes sake.
posted by fshgrl at 7:27 PM on July 19, 2013 [6 favorites]


But hey, I live in a state that bans gay marriage so who am I to criticize?

There is a BIG difference between banning gay marriage and banning gay people.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:27 PM on July 19, 2013 [27 favorites]


Picture from Russian gay pride parade

The Olympics makes this internationally topical, but I'd love to read more about the craziness going on inside Russia against gays and lesbians. It seems to be some sort of Gay Panic, a way to rally the brownshirts against some outsider enemy.
posted by Nelson at 7:32 PM on July 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


But hey, I live in a state that bans gay marriage so who am I to criticize?

There is a BIG difference between banning gay marriage and banning gay people.


Events in Russia have been growing more disturbing over the past couple of years. Gay USA at least gives me minimal coverage of what's going on there, for which I am thankful.

This happened only barely a month ago. This isn't some quiet "pass a law" kind of social movement happening there. This is a bloody, confrontational, hate-fueled anti-gay social movement taking place.

I have nothing but respect and awe of those who continue pro-gay activism in Russia today.
posted by hippybear at 7:33 PM on July 19, 2013 [16 favorites]


calls to boycott the Games if Russia grants asylum to Edward Snowden.

Guys, never mind, it was Lindsey Graham who called for a boycott on that basis. I thought it might've been a serious person, but nope.

The explanation I hear (and it's not only Russia trying this one) is that homosexuality is against tradition and religion, so it's OK to engage in horrendous persecution of gay people. If your religion tells you this kind of behavior is OK, then your religion sucks and you should reconsider why you believe in it. There are plenty of others, maybe choose one that doesn't oblige you to beat people up who aren't hurting you in any way?
posted by 1adam12 at 7:50 PM on July 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Well, the mind-blowingly good and vastly informative Pussy Riot documentary [preview, full movie (55m)] which HBO aired recently had some interesting context about religion and Russian society. Because religion was so persecuted during the Soviet years, there are a lot of efforts being made by today's regime to make sure that religious people don't feel like they are being stepped on at all. This is why Pussy Riot was held to such harsh judgement for a demonstration which lasted less than 30 second in a church -- they did it IN A CHURCH.

It's not like these things happen in a vacuum. History plays a big part.

I'm pretty sure that a lot of these anti-gay laws currently happening in Russia are happening in this same context.

I'm not saying that it is RIGHT. I'm just pointing out that there are social contexts which come into play which affect things, contexts which are not necessarily well-known outside of the culture one is looking into from the outside.
posted by hippybear at 8:00 PM on July 19, 2013 [9 favorites]


Yes, because the Orthodox Church was such a positive force in Russian society before the revolution.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 8:08 PM on July 19, 2013 [10 favorites]


I'm not defending the Church or its policies.
posted by hippybear at 8:10 PM on July 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Because religion was so persecuted during the Soviet years, there are a lot of efforts being made by today's regime to make sure that religious people don't feel like they are being stepped on at all.

That makes it seem almost charitable.

Putin is using the Church as a Russian Nationalist propaganda office, just like the Romanovs did.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:16 PM on July 19, 2013 [15 favorites]


I'm not saying that you are, but what is occurring in Russia is that the current regime is using the Church and whatever lingering religious sentiments that remain following the soviet period to legitimize their own rather naked power grab. The anti-gay and anti-apostasy campaigns are simply concessions to the patriarchs for their continued support of Putin. The actual feelings of religious people are entirely secondary to the matter.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 8:17 PM on July 19, 2013 [5 favorites]


The Church seems to be okay with the ways in which it is being used. Are the patriarchs stepping up and demanding that laws used to oppress people be repealed? Are they taking a strong public stand against any acts of violence committed against those people?
posted by rtha at 8:20 PM on July 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's a symbiotic relationship, really.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:22 PM on July 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


"Because religion was so persecuted during the Soviet years, there are a lot of efforts being made by today's regime to make sure that religious people don't feel like they are being stepped on at all."

Yeah, but...

When I was in college in the early 90s, I went to a lecture by a prof who was himself, or his family, Russian expatriates and Russian Orthodox. It was an impassioned lecture about the treatment of the Church by the soviets. A very, very angry and aggrieved lecture. In great detail.

But failing to even mention, even as an allusion or in passing, the long history of organized antisemitism by the Russian Orthodox Church. It really weirded me out.

I'm not sure exactly what my point in that is, except that a fanatical religious intolerance is not anything new in Russia. I feel sort of weird bringing this up, given this username.

And that username doesn't signal anything more than a love of (some) classic Russian literature, which I can only read in translation. Even so, I've long felt both an interest and an affinity for Russia and Putin's machinery has been making me very sad for years and years now.

But I think that we in the US don't really understand the context for this. A few years ago I read Sergei Lukyanenko's Night Watch books and besides being some pretty entertaining genre fiction, they were instructive in how they present the widespread undercurrent of resentment against the plutocrat criminal class and the nostalgia for the communist era. There's a lot of hostility to the west in those books, actually. Certainly against consumerism and just a sense that moral decay naturally goes hand-in-hand with capitalism. It's easy to see how the nostalgia for communism is a kind of leftist populism, and the religious conservatism and homophobia and all related to that is a rightist populism. And in both cases, there's a desire for an authoritarianism — a kind of moral authoritarianism — to put things right.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 8:23 PM on July 19, 2013 [14 favorites]


No, the patriarchs are recommending quite a few of the measures that are being taken against LGBT people. They are also receiving lots of money and big churches from the Putin regime.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 8:23 PM on July 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


Not related to the Olympics really, but in case you weren't already a fan of Tilda Swinton...
posted by hydrophonic at 8:40 PM on July 19, 2013 [12 favorites]


Out Olympic Speed Skater Blake Skjellerup Speaks Out Against Russia's Anti-Gay Law: VIDEO
posted by homunculus at 8:44 PM on July 19, 2013


I really wish there was more momentum for a boycott. There will undoubtedly be gay athletes on national teams. I can't believe countries that value equality would participate in a two week commercial for Russia. In my mind, this is holding the Olympics in South Africa during Apartheid

Prediction #1: American coverage will ignore the whole affair
Prediction #2: If they do cover it, be prepared for some ugly commentary from the religious right, along the lines of "hey those laws sound like a good idea."
posted by dry white toast at 9:26 PM on July 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


Personally, I hope for specific individual boycotts which include a great deal of media coverage for each person who decides not to attend.

I know, it's horrible to hope that anyone who has trained all their life for something like the Olympics to decide not to go out of political reasons, but I can only hope that if anyone is brave enough to make that choice (from whatever country), that the media picks up on it and makes it a Really Big Deal and sparks outrage in the homeland and internationally.

Unless (and perhaps even if) those factors come into play, we will all have to wait for Russia to evolve beyond early 20th Century Mindsets about these things (the point in time when they, culturally, suspected their collective evolution), so it's basically another 100 years until they get to where we are toiday.
posted by hippybear at 9:34 PM on July 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


The US boycotted the 1984 Olympics because of Russia's invasion of Afghanistan. I know, a bit ironic in retrospect, but it's not like there are no precedents.

These laws go far beyond just lacking marriage equality - they threaten the freedom of all LGBT people and their allies, and they tacitly inspire violence against LGBT people.
posted by jb at 9:50 PM on July 19, 2013 [5 favorites]


There were gay people competing in the 60s for petes sake.

There were gay people competing in the original Olympic games back in ancient Greece, but they didn't quite use the word "gay" back then, and gender wasn't in the same context that we view now.

Of course, there have always been gay people competing in every sport in every nation in every year in recorded history, but not always openly.
posted by ovvl at 9:51 PM on July 19, 2013


Three Blind, The LGBTQ community is sadly not monolithic on these issues. If you want to witness the thinest veneer over gender identity insecurity, mention a vagina to a gay man. Some of us will embarrassingly cringe. Biphobia is alive and well in the LG world where some of us will still shrug and exclaim "Come on, pick a team and stick with it already!" Our largest lobbying group, the HRC, will throw the trans community under the bus when met with the slightest resistance.

In many ways, we are a microcosm of the larger US culture. It is in our best interests to be against classism, racism, misogyny, transphobia. But god damn if our own insecurities don't make us bigoted assholes laughing at Jeff Dunham jokes. So, the LGBTQ community should be absolutely aghast and boycotting the olympics and Russia. But then, so should our straight and cis brothers and sisters.
posted by munchingzombie at 9:58 PM on July 19, 2013 [6 favorites]


I hope for specific individual boycotts

Fuck that shit, Hippybear. If a festering boil erupts on your body, you lance that pustule. You don't spread balm on a part of it, or try to negotiate with it. The IOC should disqualify Russia from holding the Games, thereby placing them within the same context in sports history as say ... just as an example... the Nazis.

Yes, I went there.

Since that seems unlikely, my own wish would be that individual national Teams took a stand, and refuse to participate as teams. I might not be gay, but I sure as shit don't want Team Canada representing me at any Olympics in a country which treats any set of humans as substandard.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 10:09 PM on July 19, 2013 [9 favorites]


The IOC should disqualify Russia from holding the Games, thereby placing them within the same context in sports history as say ... just as an example... the Nazis.

The same Nazis who hosted the 1936 Games?
posted by HumuloneRanger at 10:16 PM on July 19, 2013 [5 favorites]


Yeah, I don't get why the IOC doesn't grow up and move the Olympics to a different country.
posted by medusa at 10:24 PM on July 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


I just don't understand the world anymore. I guess I never did. Still, somehow I can't help but feel like the virulence of U.S. right wing authoritarianism is partially responsible for the now world-wide resurgence of offensive, backwards political parties. My correspondent in Europe reports people who should know better spouting European analogues of the same arguments the Tea Party makes here. It's maddening.
posted by ob1quixote at 10:39 PM on July 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


There are athletic advantages to being born one particular sex, guess which one?

*twitch*
*sigh*
*just gives up and leaves*
posted by byanyothername at 10:39 PM on July 19, 2013 [12 favorites]


The IOC should disqualify Russia from holding the Games, thereby placing them within the same context in sports history as say ... just as an example... the Nazis.

Yes, I went there.


You haven't actually examined history and the Olympics in any detail, have you?
posted by hippybear at 10:42 PM on July 19, 2013 [6 favorites]


Yes, yes. Good point. If you could go back in time and stop Hitler from doing anything, it would surely be hosting the 1936 Berlin Games.
posted by Drinky Die at 11:10 PM on July 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Think it would be awesome if every athlete from the West wore rainbow everything.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:43 PM on July 19, 2013 [8 favorites]


I just don't understand the world anymore. I guess I never did. Still, somehow I can't help but feel like the virulence of U.S. right wing authoritarianism is partially responsible for the now world-wide resurgence of offensive, backwards political parties

The Europeans invented hating gays.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:44 PM on July 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


The US boycotted the 1984 Olympics because of Russia's invasion of Afghanistan. I know, a bit ironic in retrospect, but it's not like there are no precedents.

The U.S.S.R. invaded Afganistan to establish Communism. The US invaded because Afghanistan's rulers, the Taliban, state sponsored the greatest terrorist attack of all time on US soil and then refused to turn over the perpetrator.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:48 PM on July 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


And then they occupied it for more than a decade for reasons nobody can quite explain.
posted by Drinky Die at 11:52 PM on July 19, 2013 [9 favorites]


I just don't understand the world anymore. I guess I never did. Still, somehow I can't help but feel like the virulence of U.S. right wing authoritarianism is partially responsible for the now world-wide resurgence of offensive, backwards political parties

The Europeans invented hating gays.


Funnily enough the Russian legislation has a distinct whiff of Thatcher about it to my nose, but actually I think people are quite capable of coming up with this stuff on their own.
posted by Segundus at 11:58 PM on July 19, 2013


For what ever it's worth, I asked a Russian coworker of mine about the anti-LGBT laws and she felt that they're just pure authoritarian/nationalistic/fascist ugliness (which is expressing itself in many ways, not just in regard to this issue), and that religion is only a superficial justification.

Whatever the case, the Olympics are supposed to be about what we aspire to. As far as LGBT and women's rights are concerned, Putin's Russia seems the opposite.
posted by treepour at 12:56 AM on July 20, 2013 [3 favorites]


Because religion was so persecuted during the Soviet years, there are a lot of efforts being made by today's regime to make sure that religious people don't feel like they are being stepped on at all.

There's a difference between not stepping on someone, and going out of your way to step on others.
posted by Dysk at 12:59 AM on July 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


I actually composed a moderately long comment about my thoughts on Russia's gay problem, as a gay man of approximately Russian extraction, but it ended up too bitter and rambling and I decided not to post it. I think that a lot of the gay bashing has to do with fear of existential threat that is deeply ingrained in Russian culture, both spiritual and civic, and gays as a target are both easy and instrumental.
posted by Nomyte at 1:07 AM on July 20, 2013 [6 favorites]


The Europeans invented hating gays.

If we're referring to Christianity, TIL that Egypt/Israel are in Europe now (and that we know how non-European cultures without writing treated homosexuality).

I'll grant you that it's not in the Laws of Hammurabi, but it's problematic to expand that culture across continents.
posted by jaduncan at 1:09 AM on July 20, 2013


Putin is using the Church as a Russian Nationalist propaganda office, just like the Romanovs did.

Not to mention Stalin during WW2.
posted by acb at 2:50 AM on July 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


Sometimes, I get all excited about our cutting edge technology, our rates of social progress, the improvement in the overall health of populations, our globalization, etc, and I enjoy basking in the glory that is living in 'the future'. And then I get to hear/see/read just enough to remember that we're all still surrounded by sexism, racism, and other atavist bigotries.

Seriously, do facts just not matter anymore? Did they ever? The fact that we are all alike underneath our varying pigments, the fact that 'the gays' aren't hurting anyone by just being gay, the fact that advantages are not evenly spread through the population seem like they must just be myths to most lawmakers.
posted by _paegan_ at 3:42 AM on July 20, 2013 [3 favorites]


_paegan_: "Sometimes, I get all excited about our cutting edge technology, our rates of social progress, the improvement in the overall health of populations, our globalization, etc, and I enjoy basking in the glory that is living in 'the future'. And then I get to hear/see/read just enough to remember that we're all still surrounded by sexism, racism, and other atavist bigotries."

History is not like the arrow of time, there is no ever-continuing progress. There's stops and starts, and at times complete regression. But always, always repetition: empires rise and fall, knowledge comes and goes.

Like in the US, you guys get something like marriage equality on the one hand, and sustained and successful assaults on women's rights on the other all in the same month.
posted by moody cow at 4:09 AM on July 20, 2013 [3 favorites]


"Jón Gnarr, the mayor of the capital Reykjavik, said he wishes to formally revise or break off the capital’s political and cultural relations with Moscow."

This is the same Jon Gnarr that wants to censor the internet and ban pornography from his country -- gay or otherwise. "Pornography is sex without love, which is nothing more than animalistic and disgusting."

Clearly, he needs links to better porn.
posted by markkraft at 4:23 AM on July 20, 2013 [4 favorites]


As I see it, the next best thing to a boycott would be for as many other teams as possible to bring as many gay athletes, staff, and supporters as possible, along with all of their partners, to be as public as possible with their non-straightness during the entire olympics, culminating in a giant kiss-in at the medals ceremony. I want to see gold, silver, and bronze medalists all kissing each other on that platform, regardless of the medalists' orientations. Please make this happen, metafilter.
posted by eviemath at 5:24 AM on July 20, 2013 [5 favorites]


I wouldn't feel safe as a gay person in Russia right now.
posted by Nelson at 7:05 AM on July 20, 2013


Between this and Brazil*, the IOC hasn't been that great at picking locations lately.

*To be fair, it's probably a good thing they didn't pick Chicago either.
posted by drezdn at 7:24 AM on July 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


I might not be gay, but I sure as shit don't want Team Canada representing me at any Olympics in a country which treats any set of humans as substandard.

So that leaves out Team Canada in Canada itself if one takes into account the current and historical state of Native relations. Representing the country in the U.S. is also clearly out given the current and historical state of the treatment of women and minorities, the easy example being African Americans male and female. There are plenty of countries doing terrible things to their citizens, whether within legislation or not.

It would be wonderful if this issue was tackled openly via the IOC but so many issues have not been that I would not be optimistic.
posted by juiceCake at 8:08 AM on July 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


Boycotting the Olympics will do nothing except hurt the athletes who have worked their entire lives for this moment. The US-led boycott of the Soviet games was obvious so ineffective that previous posters don't remember what year it happened in (1980, not 1984. 1984 was the year of the Los Angeles Games, which was counter-boycotted by the USSR and Soviet bloc nations).

If you want to boycott these Olympics, find the top sponsors and refuse to buy from them. That's a boycott. Insisting on a boycott that only hurts other people and doesn't affect you in any way is not the way to go.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 8:16 AM on July 20, 2013 [5 favorites]


Coca Cola, Dow, Omega watches, McDonalds, GE, Panasonic, Samsung, P&G (procter and gamble), Visa, and something called AtoS (?)
posted by sexyrobot at 9:33 AM on July 20, 2013


and (in the US) these guys too
posted by sexyrobot at 9:36 AM on July 20, 2013


> For what ever it's worth, I asked a Russian coworker of mine about the anti-LGBT laws and she felt that they're just pure authoritarian/nationalistic/fascist ugliness (which is expressing itself in many ways, not just in regard to this issue), and that religion is only a superficial justification.

Exactly. I'm an atheist myself, but I've known some wonderful Orthodox people who were not in the least bigoted. I wish I didn't have to remind people that the church hierarchy does not equal the mass of believers any more than the government of a country equals the mass of citizens.

> But I think that we in the US don't really understand the context for this.

Yup. Try to bear that in mind, folks.
posted by languagehat at 10:56 AM on July 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


and something called AtoS

Not something you need to worry about boycotting unless you're hiring management or IT consultants. Or are poor in Britain. Or know anyone who's poor and in Britain.
posted by Francis at 11:32 AM on July 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


Sorry, I was 7 in 1984. The first Olympics I remember was 1988 and that's probably because they were in Canada. (the one that mattered).
posted by jb at 11:40 AM on July 20, 2013


Not related to the Olympics really, but in case you weren't already a fan of Tilda Swinton...
posted by hydrophonic at 8:40 PM on July 19 [10 favorites +] [!]


Would this be the same Tilda Swinton who signed a petition asking for the release of Roman Polanski? I was happy to see her recent show of support for LGBT people in Russia recently, but her support for Polanski both disappoints and sickens me.
posted by BrianJ at 11:10 AM on July 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


Harvey Fierstein: Russia’s Anti-Gay Crackdown
posted by homunculus at 10:38 AM on July 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


36 Photos From Russia That Everyone Needs To See. Apologies for the BuzzFeed link, but it really is a good roundup of photos.

As worried as I am about the safety and civil rights of queers in Russia, I'm actually more worried about what this says about the country and Putin's rule. It's hard to stuff the fascism back in the bottle once you let it out.
posted by Nelson at 1:36 PM on July 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


But hey, I live in a state that bans gay marriage so who am I to criticize?

Well, at least the county next door is apparently legalizing it.
posted by Drinky Die at 7:48 PM on July 24, 2013


"Would this be the same Tilda Swinton who signed a petition asking for the release of Roman Polanski?"

Gee. Maybe Ms. Swinton felt that the case was a massively flawed case of double indemnity, being pressed for by a guy who was running for State Attorney General?

Or maybe she felt that it was wrong to bring a case to trial, where the defendant didn't want it to happen, didn't want to be persecuted by the system again, and refused to cooperate with prosecutors?

Maybe she felt it was wrong of the US courts to deny Swiss requests to reveal testimony which reportedly established a previous deal, where Mr. Polanski was assured by a judge that the time he previously spent in a psychiatric unit would constitute the whole of his period of imprisonment? Perhaps her rationale for believing that Polanski should go free was the same rationale as the Swiss, who, in a very uncommon decision, refused to extradite a defendant to the US?

All I know is that the abundance of evidence suggests that Roman Polanski deserves to be considered -- and treated -- as not guilty, regardless of his old crimes... which is something he obviously would not have received had he been extradited back to face a hostile prosecution that refused to release exculpatory evidence.
posted by markkraft at 9:48 AM on July 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


Russian cops sodomize Olympic construction worker in dispute over $600 in back pay. (As seen on Towleroad).
posted by Nelson at 9:29 AM on July 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


a boycott has started - not of the Olympics, but of Russian vodka.

Patrick Burke (of "You can play") changed my mind with this article on why we shouldn't boycott Sochi - but still shouldn't let Russia off.
posted by jb at 1:11 PM on July 26, 2013


IOC: Sochi Olympians, Guests Exempt From Russia's Anti-Gay Law I'm still genuinely afraid for the safety of visitors for the Olympics. Maybe the police won't fine them, but there's still the risk of having the shit beaten out of them while the cops look the other way (or lend a hand).
posted by Nelson at 7:59 AM on July 27, 2013


This article contains information not suitable for readers younger than 18 years of age, according to Russian legislation.

Jesus Christ.

Also? This is bullshit. Visitors should not exempt. It's a fucking law, you don't get a pass just because you don't live there and there's a special event happening, and meanwhile the locals are still getting fined and jailed. Fuck you IOC, and fuck you Putin.
posted by rtha at 8:16 AM on July 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Last year, a Russian court turned down an application to register a non-governmental organization that would set up a Pride House in Sochi, a building dedicated to supporting gay athletes and informing the public about gay rights. A similar building, also called Pride House, was a high-profile presence at the last Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

In her ruling, judge Svetlana Mordovina reportedly claimed that allowing such a building to operate in Sochi would destabilize Russia and weaken its sovereignty by encouraging Russians to have fewer children.


/incoherent angry noises
posted by rtha at 8:17 AM on July 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


Russian neo-Nazis baiting, beating gay teens in a twisted take on “To Catch a Predator”
posted by homunculus at 3:04 PM on July 29, 2013


from Americablog - the vodka boycott is working, if only to get people in North America and elsewhere finally talking about hate-laws and violence that has been going on for years.
posted by jb at 3:54 PM on July 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Co-Sponsor Of Anti-Gay Bill Says Government Cannot Selectively Suspend Enforcement During The Sochi Olympics.
posted by Nelson at 4:12 PM on July 29, 2013


Think The Sochi Olympics Are A Human Rights Disaster? Things Are Going To Get A Lot WorseGet ready for Qatar 2022.
posted by homunculus at 12:16 AM on July 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Co-Sponsor Of Anti-Gay Bill Says Government Cannot Selectively Suspend Enforcement During The Sochi Olympics.

From another article:
‘Having spoken with many American politicians, I understand that they support the stance I’ve taken on this issue,’ he added. ‘Such support has also been expressed to me by several members of German parliament.
Which American politicians, I wonder.
posted by homunculus at 12:25 AM on July 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm putting my $10 on another unfortunate appearance of Santorum.
posted by jaduncan at 2:23 AM on July 31, 2013


Which American politicians, I wonder.

About half of them.
posted by Nelson at 8:48 AM on July 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is starting to get more of a signal boost on Tumblr. Fierstein's article linked upthread goes right ahead and draws the Nazi parallel and well, demonizing a vulnerable class of people is a time-tested method of distraction from failed policies, as he says. Not like Hitler invented it.

Raw Story (credible? I'm never sure with them) today published a story quoting official Vitaly Milanov saying that the laws will apply to athletes, their family and guests.

Would Putin be stupid/insane enough to let such an international incident as the arrest of Olympians and their familes/guests occur during the Olympics? I don't know, but if I were going and I was gay, or had friends/family going who were, I'd have a hard time feeling safe. And how in control is Putin of the situation? The thing about ugly mobs is, they don't always stop when you tell them to.
posted by emjaybee at 6:25 PM on July 31, 2013


Here's the story from a Russian website dated August 1.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:02 AM on August 1, 2013


Stephen Fry: An Open Letter to David Cameron and the IOC. Argues the Winter Olympics should be moved from Russia, with an explicit parallel drawn to the 1936 Berlin Olympics.

I'm wondering how the IOC thinks they can have a legitimate competition when it's not even safe for a gay athlete to go to Russia.
posted by Nelson at 6:45 AM on August 7, 2013 [4 favorites]


This interview from CBC's Q is worth a listen -- with Masha Gessen's, journalist, out lesbian mother, and her family's decision that her family needs to leave Russia, and the experience her family is having.

Canada's Olympic team has several out athletes. I support a boycott, but even more, I worry for team members traveling to Russia, and should there be no boycott, I wish them safe travels.
posted by chapps at 4:55 PM on August 7, 2013 [3 favorites]


we will all have to wait for Russia to evolve beyond early 20th Century Mindsets

That's just it, they already *did* back then. Anti-sodomy laws came off the Soviet books - for Russia - in 1919. While Lenin led, gays openly served in government.

It was the Stalinists (like the Nazis post Ernst Rohm) that put it back on the books in 1934 (5 year maximum). The Orthodox Church was then and remains vehemently opposed to gays - "will bring on the Apocalypse". According to 2007 polls that's 75% of Russians.

Noticed the other day that a statue of Stalin was re-erected in his home town ... by a billionaire. Seems enough people have forgotten the savagery of his reign.
posted by Twang at 1:07 AM on August 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Religious right leader backs Russian crackdown on gay rights
[American Family Association's Bryan] Fischer's not the only one in the U.S. cheering Russia on. As we talked about a while back, the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute said it "admires" Russia's anti-gay moves; Peter LaBarbera of Americans for Truth About Homosexuality lauded Russia for rejecting "America's reckless and decadent promotion of gender confusion"; and the Illinois-based World Congress of Families has scheduled its 2014 conference for the Kremlin.

And then, of course, there's evangelical activist Scott Lively.

If Lively's name sounds familiar, it's probably because of his work in Uganda, where he brags he is known as the "father" of the anti-gay movements. When Uganda took up a "Kill the Gays" bill, proponents said it arose out of an anti-gay conference that Lively headlined in 2009. Earlier this year, the Washington Post reported that Lively has spent the last decade working "systematically to strip away human rights protections from LGBT people" around the world, becoming "a kind of persecution consultant, strategizing with influential leaders and cohorts in other countries about ways to further silence and remove LGBT people from basic protections of the law."

And wouldn't you know it, Lively conducted a 50-city speaking tour of Russia in 2007, where he recommended the very measures Russia is now pursuing.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:44 AM on August 12, 2013


"Kseniya Ryzhova and Tatyana Firov won a world championship as a part of the 4x400m relay team at the IAAF track championships in Moscow. They edged out the American and British teams for the gold. While on the medal stand, they kissed to protest their own country's anti-gay propaganda laws."
posted by rtha at 1:44 PM on August 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


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