So, there I am, minding my own business when BAM – suddenly being gay in Russia is seen as a crime and beating people much like myself seems to be turning into a national sport!
To top this off, the eyes of the world are on Sochi from today – with the opening of the Winter Olympics, and the patronage of dozens of sponsors and the IOC. Seemingly, despite calls for the games to be moved, they are staying put with the clarion call of “keep politics out of sport”.
However, there are mixed signals here – is ensuring that people have basic human rights across the globe really politics? When there were issues over South Africa and apartheid, it actually felt wrong to buy something flown in from there when we were urged to hit them where it hurt – in the economic pocket.
So what’s the issue here? My social media timelines are full of conflicting messages.
1: Boycott the games totally as a show of support for gay people over there, show Russia that the world wont stand for this by NOT participating in the myth that everything is lovely and there aren’t cases of state sanctioned beatings and murders which are available to view as shared videos fly around various sites.
2: Watch the games as a way of showing Russia that the world really is watching and watching carefully. Every loo seat that is put on the wrong way round in a journalists hotel, every reported case of “canine cleansing” where companies are recruited to clear the streets of stray dogs days ahead of the opening ceremony, every report of $30 Billion of a reported $50 billion budget going missing…
What’s the answer? Is there one? Is it a case of make your own mind up? Make an informed decision? If this interests you, and we have to accept it won’t interest everyone, then read what you can and decide for yourself.
Me? I hate sport – dull as dishwater, so I wouldn’t be watching anyway – but I am boycotting some of the sponsors.
Why I hear you cry? It’s simple really – it’s my own little response, my own little act of defiance. I’m just me, one teeny tiny individual in the world – but I hate bullies and having seen some of the footage around, that’s what this feels like it comes down to – sanctioned bullying. I had enough of that at school and I’ll be damned if I’ll stand by and watch it happen elsewhere IF I feel I can do something about it.
So, a certain well known brand of soft drink is off the menu for good – my teeth and general health will no doubt thank me too! It won’t change the world, it won’t stop the bullying and assaults happening worldwide, but it makes me feel like I’m doing something. They may think they can placate us as a group by adding a lovely image of gay marriage to their recent ad – but compare that with being beaten and humiliated for what you are and it just doesn’t cut it.
So, do what your heart tells you is right – watch or don’t watch, support the sponsors or don’t. Remember, we have the freedom to decide to do this, some don’t have that luxury.
Opinions expressed in this article may not reflect those of THEGAYUK, it’s management or editorial teams. If you’d like to comment or write a comment, opinion or blog piece, please click here.
Opinions expressed in this article may not reflect those of THEGAYUK, its management or editorial teams. If you'd like to comment or write a comment, opinion or blog piece, please click here.