LGBT Issues: Sochi Olympics and Gays

LGBT IssuesIn June, a law passed by the Kremlin has officially made it illegal to be gay, and suddenly we got yet another one of those unnecessary LGBT issues on our hand – very shortly after the Supreme Court ruled Prop 8 as unconstitutional. According to the law, it is illegal “to spread propaganda for non-traditional sexual relations to minors” – and by “non-traditional sexual relations,” they obviously mean homosexual relations. Anyone who is found guilty of this would have to pay a fine.

The law, apparently, also gives Russian authorities to detain tourists and foreigners suspected of being homosexual or pro-gay, according to Cpl. Laurence Trottier of RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police). That is quite disturbing, don’t you think? Not to mention regressive. Again, this Russian law was passed just shortly after Prop 8 was ruled unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court.

On the Bright Side

Sochi is a city in Krasnodar Krai, Russia, and it is where the 2014 Winter Olympics will be held. Because of the new anti-gay law, many people – mainly those who plan on attending the Sochi Olympics – have expressed concern for their safety in Russia. The Kremlin has assured, however, that the Russians’ new anti-gay law will not affect those attending or taking part in the Sochi Olympics.

The Call for Boycott

Harvey Fierstein, an American actor-playwright and a prominent gay activist, advised the International Olympic Committee to basically “pressure” Russia into retracting its new laws against homosexuals. The executive director of LGBT advocacy group Égale Canada, Helen Kennedy, however said that she doesn’t think boycotting the Sochi Olympics is not going to “do the LGBT community in Russia any good.” She even thinks that, if a boycott does happen, it might result in more backlash. It makes sense. Forcefully “teaching a lesson” to the unwilling will only result in nothing but stubbornness.

The Silver Lining

Even though the new law is very regressive – and it’s unfortunate that the Kremlin even passed it in the first place – there’s still a silver lining. The coming Sochi Olympics has effectively raised awareness on this issue, which means there’s still room for progress. You know what they say: “In order for there to be progress, there first needs to be awareness.”