By Stephfon Guidry
America is leading a more progressive view of Gay rights with the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, ending DOMA; even professional athletes coming out the world may not share its revolution. Russia seems reluctant to amend or change its laws against same gender loving individuals. The new question arising in everyone’s mind is, will Gay athletes be allowed to compete and will gay fans be welcome at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi?
Currently it is illegal to openly speak about homosexuality to minors in public—in much contrast to the PRIDE parades recently celebrated all over the country, all over the world. The politically correct terminology in Russian law is a ban on “nontraditional sexual relations”. Anyone wearing symbols or showing homosexual public displays of affection can be fined steeply, face jail time, or deportation—no rainbow flags, no holding hands and of course no kissing. Vitaly Milonov, a regional lawmaker who pushed for the bill, told Interfax “If a law has been approved by the federal legislature and signed by the president, then the government has no right to suspend it. It doesn’t have the authority.” (ABCNews.com) Madonna recently toured in Russia and was threatened with fines for speaking out against this discriminatory legislation.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) informed athletes of this legislation to implore diplomacy and caution. Recently the IOC released the statement to the Windy City Times, (HuffingtonPost.com)
The International Olympic Committee is clear that sport is a human right and should be available to all regardless of race, sex or sexual orientation,…The Games themselves should be open to all, free of discrimination, and that applies to spectators, officials, media and of course athletes. We would oppose in the strongest terms any move that would jeopardize this principle.
In response to this institutional discrimination, gay Olympian Blake Skjerllup committed to wearing a rainbow pin while competing. US Olympic LGBT champion and Logo star Johnny Weir spoke out against the tentative talks of boycotting the 2014 Winter games because he knows the athletes have “dedicated their lives to possibly having their lone life-changing moment”. As the competition grows closer the IOC is weary and there seems to be no major political changes coming.