Johnny’s World: The Gaylympics

July 25, 2013 9:30 AM57 comments

jworldOn the heels of my column last week where I discussed my deep-rooted love of the Russian motherland and hatred of her government and its newly passed anti-gay laws, I want to discuss my opinion, as an Olympian and an athlete, concerning the Olympic Games to be held next February in Sochi, Russia.

One of the most depressing headlines I’ve read in the past week was “Obama to Consider Olympic Boycott.” The last, and only, Olympic Games that the United States and several other nations boycotted was the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow while The Soviet Union was waging war in Afghanistan in the midst of the Cold War and spy games. Despite the boycott being heralded as a bold and almost righteous maneuver, the people that were hurt most were the athletes who’d dedicated their lives to possibly having their lone life-changing moment in Moscow, in front of the world, where they could display their sporting expertise and themselves as personalities. The Soviet Union wasn’t hurt by the boycott; the games went on, in spectacular fashion for the time, with The Soviet Union winning 80 gold medals of the possible 204. American athletes could simply sit at home and watch, as their competitors enjoyed Olympic glory, and dream of what might have been.

I have dedicated countless hours of my life to a sport and to competing in the most prestigious and respected event in the world: The Olympics. I watched my family struggle to make ends meet, endure personal struggles with raising an Olympian and often times forgo their own happiness so that I could have a chance at my dreams. When I qualified for my first Olympic Games, my family sold one of our cars to be sure that my mother, father and brother could attend the event and see me skate for the world. If there is anyone that understands the sacrifice that myself and others like me make as young people to attain a dream so few can comprehend, it’s the family of an aspiring Olympian. Rich or poor, a family goes through everything with you. To have a boycott would not only negate the career of some athletes who have only one chance at competing at the Games, but also the over-time shifts an exhausted father takes to make ends meet, or the social acclimatization of a brother who can’t go on spring break because his brother needed another costume, or the mother who works part-time at a job far beneath her, just so she can afford to watch her first born perform for the world. The Olympics are not a political statement, they are a place to let the world shine in peace and let them marvel at their youthful talents.

As the athlete, I had all the pressures of being the flag bearer in my sport, I also had all the rewards. The Olympics made me a household name and therefore helped me afford to live in a world where I forwent university studies so that I could train. The Olympics are what made me Johnny Weir, and gave me the ability to write a column like this where someone could actually access it and read it. I lived, cried, and bled for the Olympics. Had they been in Pyongyang, North Korea, somewhere in The Ivory Coast or at a small ice rink on Mars, I would have gone.

The fact that Russia is arresting my people, and openly hating a minority and violating Human Rights all over the place is heartbreaking and a travesty of international proportions, but I still will compete. There isn’t a police officer or a government that, should I qualify, could keep me from competing at the Olympics. I respect the LGBT community full heartedly, but I implore the world not to boycott the Olympic Games because of Russia’s stance on LGBT rights or lack thereof. I beg the gay athletes not to forget their missions and fight for a chance to dazzle the world. I pray that people will believe in the Olympic movement no matter where the event is being held, because the Olympics are history, and they do not represent their host, they represent the world entire. People make their own futures, and should a government or sponsor steal that future, whether it be the Russian government or American government, it is, as an athlete, the death and total demolition of a lifetime of work. Support the athletes.

  • MeredithMiner

    Always support you and your ‘brothers and sisters’ in this endeavor and all others. Much love and support to you my friend!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=612323782 Sherry Gahan

    I love this Johnny! You have hit it on the nail for sure, I agree with everything you said. All the american atheletes including yourself are working hard and many long hours to prepare for this and for many would be their last Olympics ever and to not have the opportunity to compete for the U.S. would be devastating! Plus I planned on going, this would put a huge dent on everything!

    • Cooper

      Ohh No? Not training hard and preparing?!? Well if that’s the case then I guess it’s ok that people are getting beaten to death, and jailed for just being born.

      Why didn’t they just say they trained really hard! Carry on with the games, they trained REAL hard for these games, make sure you tell that guy who got tortured that these guys have been preparing for a very long time so it’s ok that he’s been tortured because the athletes have been training for a long time.

      • Nikolay Uspenskiy

        boycott would not help the issue. active standing up for lgbt rights while in Russia during worldwide coverage would.

  • Olga-Pauline Kouranova

    Молодец, Джон! Спорт не для политики!

  • EyeJelly

    Johnny, I hope you go out there and win that mf-ing gold medal and then go right up and wave it in Putin’s face in front of the entire world.

  • EyeJelly
  • Thom Watson

    “Support the athletes.” I agree. But will the athletes support us? I think it’s incumbent upon the entire U.S. Olympic delegation to make a statement, while in Sochi, supporting LGBT athletes, their spouses & partners, and LGBT fans. Carry a rainbow flag along with the U.S. flag at the opening ceremony, wear rainbow armbands, hold hands on the medal platform. It’s imperative that if Sochi is going to get to have the world stage, that we not just sit back and let their human rights abuses, which could be directed at and carried out upon those athletes, their families and their fans, go unnoticed and unmentioned in front of the cameras.

    • scottc

      this! bravo!

    • Erik

      Won’t do any good when they’re behind bars. Haven’t you seen the news now, the IOC’s promise that the law won’t be enforced was bogus. Everyone is subject to the law according to the Russian government, it’s time to start seriously considering real actions, and even though it sucks that Johnny won’t be able to get a medal, it’s much better than being in jail, don’t you think?

      • Nikolay Uspenskiy

        so you’re suggesting to boycott since that’s safer for the athletes? what a cowardly statement.

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  • GH

    You will be beaten and jailed there and for you to defend Russia long after you are retired go to hell you sound like the jews defending hitler in the german games in the 30’s.

    • Nikolay Uspenskiy

      is Johhny defending Putin? no. is he an honest fan of Russian language and culture? yes. Go burn some Dostoyevsky if you think that Russia and Putin are the same

  • Lady Lisa

    I think for Obama to boycott the Olympics would strain U.S – Russia relations even further. I’d like to think that not just Russia, but all nations could rise above the differences and disagreements that we all have, and unite ourselves in the Olympics, if nothing else. Sports, in so many ways, are the most common ground we can ever have with one another. For centuries the Olympics has so carefully cultivated this common ground, and to boycott the Olympics would be to insult history itself. I know there are so many mothers, like Mrs. Weir, who have worked tirelessly at poorly paid jobs just to ensure their young athletes get the chance to prove themselves to the world in their sport. And for those who have proved themselves worthy, they have a right to their earned opportunity to compete at the Olympics.

  • MartinR80

    I very much doubt Obama ever considered boycotting the Olympic games. There was one Republican senator who wanted to boycott, but because of Snowden, not because he cares at all about human rights.

    I think the chances of a boycott are close to zero, and just as well because a country or two not sending athletes won’t change a thing in Russia. Specially when the country/countries boycotting still buy oil from Russia and corporations from that country are still making big business with Putin’s Russia. It would be such an empty gesture!

    At least this way, there is some coverage in newspapers, radio and TV about what’s going on with LGBT people in Russia.

    In any case, it’s not openly gay athletes who want to boycott Sochi, both Blake Skjellerup and Johnny Weir are against boycotting. Is there anyone else?

    I wish there was something we could do to help LGBT people in Russia, but I don’t see how a government not letting their athletes compete in Sochi would make the situation better for LGBT rights. If anything Putin will use it for his propaganda, for his own and the hateful Russian Church’s benefit.

    It’s a pity Russia was awarded the games to begin with, but no one cared about the human rights violations a few years ago, now it’s too late.

    • MartinR80

      The Olympics are about politics. And money. Most of all about money. Not for the athletes, but for everyone else.

      It’s sweet that you, Johnny Weir, still believe they’re about some higher ideal. On that note, I wish you all the best in your efforts to make it to another Olympic Games.

      If any Russian LGBT person reads this, I hope that, like Johnny wrote last week, all of you can be free some day (hopefully soon.) For now, please try to be safe, they might be able to force you to be silent, but don’t let them break your soul or think you’re not beautiful and perfect just the way you are. Stay strong!

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  • Sam Cappiello

    I know you love Russia. I was just there for two weeks and want to love it too. It is certainly an amazing place with a rich culture. But I cannot love Russia until Russia emerges from the tragic grip of its politically oppressive past. Hosting the Olympic games is a privilege. It has many economic advantages and sends a strong message that the rest of the world deems the host nation worthy of the honor. To allow the Olympics to continue in Sochi will have all the gut-wrenching irony of the 1936 games in Berlin. Athletes who feel they have no other means of competing or validating their skill are mistaken. The Olympics depend on the athletes not the other way around. You have the power to effect change by refusing to participate. If you don’t, the message you send is that a medal around your neck is worth more than the safety and dignity of gay Russians. That is selfish and not at all indicative of a passionate dedication to the welfare of the Russian people. Gold at Sochi will be a lot like Gold at Berlin…nothing to proud of in retrospect.

    • Dan

      Beautifully stated Sam, and if anyone has put this into prospective, you have!

  • Heroic Hal

    Mr. Weir, however poignant the stories are of people who make voluntary sacrifices in pursuit of–let’s be clear about this–their own and their loved ones’ personal glory, it’s shameful that you are pleading with us to worry more about them than about millions of people who are the targets of raw oppression. Do you really expect us to feel greater sympathy for the overworked parent or–gasp!–a brother who didn’t get to go to Florida for SPRING BREAK than we do for a man sent to prison after being caught kissing his boyfriend?

    • Nikolay Uspenskiy

      and boycotting helps this how?
      you don’t stop the persecutions by staying away, you stop them by educating and annoying the heck out of rule-makers till they see the light. which means as much public exposure as possible. by abstaining, that exposure is limited to “oh, North Korea and America didn’t participate this year”

      • Heroic Hal

        Boycotts have a long, long history of calling attention to objectionable situations and educating people about them. I guess you weren’t aware of that, and I don’t understand why it isn’t obvious, given that a boycott IS an event that gets public exposure.

        Even if this boycott doesn’t help this situation, what part of NOT SUPPORTING evil, by giving it an air of acceptance and legitimacy, by acting as though everything is fine and beautiful, do you folks not understand?

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  • gfjmcginnis

    If we don’t cancel, we should at least protest. My idea is a protest that they cannot prosecute as a protest. I would love to see the seems of all the USA uniforms be stitched together with rainbow colored thread. Then make sure the press get’s wind of it.

    • David

      I would die. Amazing idea.

  • gfjmcginnis

    In respect to Olga’s comment. This is not just a political issue, it is an issue of human rights. Human rights should come first above politics or sport.

    По отношению к комментариям Ольги. Это не только политический вопрос, это вопрос прав человека. Права человека должны стоять на первом месте выше политики или спорта.

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  • countervail

    Johnny, by your willingness to compete in a country that will reap the prestige and financial windfall of hosting an Olympics, as if they deserve the opportunity, for your own self-aggrandizement at the expense of the basic human rights of everyday Russians is shameful. You are condoning the Russians’ policies by your willingness to look the other way just to fulfill personal ambitions, the same for every other athlete that participates. The rewards you have made from your sport, the very lifestyle you take for granted in America now, even being able to marry your same-sex partner, were imparted because of the sacrifices of other people willing to fight for those opportunities. It’s hard to imagine you could be be the person with the lifestyle you have anywhere else BUT here because of the sacrifices of others.

    We always want to talk about the rights and freedoms we deserve in life, but we’re rarely as equally compelled by the responsibilities necessary to maintain those. It’s unfortunate that the Russian president and parliament took the anti-LGBT action after plans for Sochi were well in place. But it should be evident, even to someone as fluffy and self-involved as Johnny Weir what the right response to Russia is now. I can only hope your decision doesn’t weigh too heavily on your conscious to perform well, not that I will know since I intend a personal ban on the events.

    • Nikolay Uspenskiy

      are you Russian? are you LGBT? what right do you have to claim you know the correct response?

  • Hal Watts

    There is a widely-published video of a teenage Russian boy being brutalized by thugs who no doubt have been emboldened by the Putin government’s and Church’s horrific new policies. There is no way in Hell I would do anything to support them, much less actually go there and put myself at risk.

    Sir, you are being selfish, if not stupid.

    • Nikolay Uspenskiy

      perhaps you should stop using American-made products due to existence of KKK, eh?

  • Fidelio01

    Wow. Weir makes absolutely no apology for prioritizing “Olympic glory” over the lives of our gay brothers and sisters in Russia. At a minimum he could have connected the dots and argue the games can inadvertently shine a light to the horrid situation there. But he can’t even do that. He’s too blinded by the “chance to dazzle the world.” God forbid athletes would actually have to take a normal job to make ends meet. And there’s the crux of the matter: what is more important, a platform to show off your athletic prowess, or a stand against bigotry, violence, and tyranny against our very own? For Weir, celebrity seems to be what he values most.

    • Nikolay Uspenskiy

      those platform and stand happen to be one and the same. and what better stand can be when you tell Putin he’s wrong than from the worldwide covered Olympics?

      • Fidelio01

        The problem is that Weir never makes this argument. He is just concerned about himself.

  • Beatrix Zenk

    Johnny!

    I´ve been itching to comment on your column above for days and I´ve been
    thinking about what to write, how to put my thoughts into words.

    Don´t let the people attacking for voicing your opinion get you down.

    They are entitled to their opinion as are you. I don´t agree with them, I agree
    with you.

    It would really be wrong to boycott the Olympics.

    I remember very well the boycott of the Olympic Games in Moscow, Russia,
    in 1980. I also remember the boycott of the Olympic Games in Los Angeles by the countries of the Eastern
    bloc in retaliation of 1980. Stupid, stupid, stupid. It did not change
    anything. Instead it only hardened the lines/POV all over the place. The war in
    Afghanistan
    continued on despite the boycott in 1980.

    I´m too young to have experienced the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico. But I
    know what happened there.

    “Ask yourself this: what stronger political statement in Olympic history
    is there than the fists of Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised to sky? Smith
    and Carlos tried to lead a boycott of the 1968 Games to protest the
    participation of apartheid states Rhodesia
    and South Africa.
    It didn’t take, so they ran, they won, and they left an indelible mark on the
    Olympics and, really, the world. Sochi
    is the perfect opportunity for the civil rights movement of our time to do the
    same.” (from here:
    http://www.sbnation.com/2013/7/24/4548656/sochi-winters-olympics-2014-russia-boycott-gay-rights)

    The picture of the two men on the podium heads bowed and fists raised is
    imprinted in my brain. That is what the world remembers.

    That is the kind of protest I would like to see in Sochi. That is protest that will be watched
    all over the world.

    (BTW,I highly doubt most of your critics even know why the Olympics in 1980 got
    boycotted at all.)

    I´ve been thinking about what to do about the situation of your brothers and sisters in Russia.

    There is no easy answer.

    You only can get Russia, and other countries as
    well, by boycotting their products. It starts with vodka and goes on to gas,
    oil and other resources of which Russia is very rich. But…and that
    is a big BUT…which country will stop to import such important goods like oil
    and gas. I specifically think of Germany which is dependent on
    Russian oil, Russian gas. I imagine the outcry of my fellow country men if oil
    would get even more expensive than it already is b/c we have to import it from
    different sources. See….no easy answer.

    But change definitely doesn´t come from people either who sit on their couches in the safety of their living rooms judging people like you who have a clear point of
    view…people who never have been to Russia, don´t know the country at all, don´t
    know how Russia works. I want these people to go to Russia and fight for the rights of the LGBT people, I want them to face the dangers they experience. It´s not done
    by writing degrading comments on internet or , maybe, signing a petition or two
    on change.org etc. and thinking they are done with doing their duties then.

    Long story short, I admire you for standing up for your
    brothers and sisters in Russia and elsewhere, for voicing your valuable
    opinion, for making people think… despite facing an immense backlash. I love how you continue to love Russia, insist on loving Russia despite the very bad politics it conducts. Russia IS a beautiful country full of harsh contrasts (much like your own country). Russia deserves to be loved (much like your own country).

    I will stand with you whatever happens. You have my
    support.

    • Heroic Hal

      Your reasoning is that if a boycott isn’t going to change an evil situation, then you might as well support the situation and the repugnant people creating it while metaphorically spitting on their victims. Bravo.

      • Beatrix Zenk

        You do want to misunderstand me as well ss Johnny, don’t you?

        My point as well as Johnny’s is to go to Olympics and take a stand against these cruel laws and for LGBT people in Russia right there, right then….in the “Höhle des Löwen” (“in the lion’s lair”)

        I think when the Olympics get boycotted, a unique chance is lost.

        • Heroic Hal

          I don’t misunderstand you. You said that if the Olympics get boycotted, which won’t change the situation, then the athletes should attend and “take a stand”. What does “take a stand” mean? Whatever you think it means, it ALSO won’t change anything. So the choice is between two courses of action, NEITHER of which will change anything. One of them helps the villains achieve the goals they had in mind when they applied to host the Olympics and puts the athletes’ vanity ahead of the pain of the oppressed. The other doesn’t.

          • Beatrix Zenk

            Ah! When Russia applied to take the Olympics, these laws did not exist. Of course, homophobia in generell did exist…like in US ,and Germany for that matter. So, the circumstances were different. Also, the goal of the Olympics is not to put the athlete’s vsnity ahead of of the pain of the oppressed ( and now tell me one particular country which has not some spots on its conscience. I don’t know any)
            Still, you raise a valid point. What is the IOC doing?

          • Beatrix Zenk

            Ah! When Russia applied to take the Olympics, these laws did not exist. Of course, homophobia in general did exist…like in US and Germany for that matter. So, the circumstances were slightly different. Also, the goal of the Olympics is not to put the athlete’s vanity ahead of the pain of the oppressed ( and now tell me one particular country which has not some spots on its conscience. I don’t know any) but to join different people in peaceful competition. People meet in peace, have fun, learn about eachother and eventually learn that they aren´t that different. What´s better to prevent prejudices than that?.It´s a big thought.

            So, it would also be a perfect display for gay people to show that they aren´t different, that they are as competitive as heterosexual athletes, have same dreams and aspirations.

            A boycott would play right into Putins hand. He could, and probably would, use the Russian LGBT community as scapegoats for the boycott. He would have a reason to declaim against the degenerated west and he would surely think of some retaliation against all the countries who join the boycott in whatever way.

            Still, you raise a valid point. What can really be done that would show some effect? Moving the Games would do. Organizing a Olympic Pride would do (like Russian activist are planning to do), athletes showing their support for their LGBT peers would do, being outspoken in the lion´s lair right there, right then would do. Little, and still oh so effective, signs would do.

            That is what Johnny promotes and surely would do. He is not known to hide any of his feelings or opinions, be it in his home country or in Russia or elsewhere. He´s always been outspoken.

            What will the IOC do apart from ensuring that athletes and their families and fans are safe?

            What will be done when the Olympics are over? Will the poor Russian LGBT people be forgotten?

            Why do you point all your anger against the only person so far who voices his POV openly? Have you asked other Olympic hopefuls? Their organisations? What do they think about the situation in Russia and what they will they do? Have you asked them if they support a boycott? What do you think they would say?

            Johnny can´t change the situation in Russia singlehandly. He is not the only one responsible for his actions or non-actions in this case.. He´s not almighty.
            He only voiced his opinion about the path he would take. It´s his opinion and I happen to share his opinion. Both of us don´t need to be ashamed of our POV as you should not either.

            I only ask you to be fair, not to offend people of different opinion and to respect these opinions. That´s all. I try my best to do the same.

          • Heroic Hal

            I expressed my dismay with Weir because I read what he said and was dismayed by it. Why do you think I’m supposed to conduct an extensive survey before I do that, or that I shouldn’t do that at all? The right to have an opinion is not a right not to have it questioned, debated, or criticized.

            If someone expressed the opinion that women should be treated as property or that all Jews should be exterminated, would you REALLY respect those opinions and try not to offend the ones who expressed them? No? Good, can we then dispense with the idea that people’s opinions should inherently be immune to criticism? If you or Johnny is offended that I’m appalled by his spring break remark, that’s too bad. And it was perfectly fair for me to have said that.

          • Beatrix Zenk

            ICYMI: That´s a good summary of what is going on including different POV/links on the topic. I hope you are not as education-resistent as you indicate in your latest reply.

            http://misfitmimes.blogspot.de/2013/07/of-boycotts-and-birthdays.html

          • Beatrix Zenk
          • Nikolay Uspenskiy

            even if a dozen of countries pull out of the Olympics, it won’t be noticeable. China will not, India will not, etc.
            opposing the laws when you can be heard loud and clear is the best chance there is, short of globally reducing the sales of Russian oil & gas

        • Trip Affleck

          it’s not a matter of “taking a stand”! there is no “stand” to take! “taking a stand” is NOW AGAINST THE LAW IN RUSSIA! READ THE NEWS! [http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jun/11/russia-law-banning-gay-propaganda]
          he’s encouraging gay tourists that everything is fine. it’s not! if HE gets arrested, the IOC and the USA will be up in arms; but if i get arrested…nothing! he;sa selfish little prick that cannot think beyond his own greedy little world of competition!

  • David

    In 1936 Martha Graham declined an invitation to perform at the Olympics in Nazi-occupied Germany saying:

    “I would find it impossible to dance in Germany at the present time. So many artists whom I respect and admire have been persecuted, have been deprived of the right to work for ridiculous and unsatisfactory reasons, that I should consider it impossible to identify myself, by accepting the invitation, with the regime that has made such things possible. In addition, some of my concert group would not be welcomed in Germany.”

    It’s a shame if Johnny Wier and any other LGBTQ athlete or supporter can’t have the same attitude of choosing duty to fight for and protect human rights over any kind of personal experience/glory.

    No one chooses to have such an intersection of issues as a positive event like the Olympics meeting a government persecuting a group of human’s such as Russia is, but here it is. We either stick our head in the sand and spout ideological statements to support are desire to look at only a small piece of a situation and ignore the larger picture, or we stand up and make the hard decision that follow’s the highest truth. That you wish to perform, to shine, to “dazzle the world” is fine. To place that chance over another gay person’s chance to simply live their life free of persecution shows a level of selfishness, of disconnect from your fellow (gay) man that is truly reprehensible.

    And to piggy back on another recent issue and say it all another way: if we are all Trayvon Martin then we are every woman, jew, child, gay person ever profiled, persecuted and killed for being what and who they were born as.

    Shame on anyone who supports that violence against a group of human, especially one they are a part of, for the chance to have a personal moment in the spotlight. Your parents’ sacrifices may have made you a world-class skater, but somehow they have also made you a sub-par citizen of the world.

  • Jack Lofoten

    At what cost will these Olympians continue to seek personal glory?? Completely naive to say “The Olympics are not a political statement, they are a place to let the world shine in peace and let them marvel at their youthful talents.” How odd that personal ambition justifies turning a blind eye to human rights abuses. Never mind dope tests. The Olympics should test athletes for hallucinogens. Maybe people have forgotten about the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. For those who medalled there, their victories are forever linked to a dark era in German history whether they like it or not. Ditto for those who win in Sochi. Stop living in your cave.

  • Michael Wardlow

    That’s nice. The Russian Federation and the IOC are going to ‘allow’ gay athletes to participate, and you’re all over that, because it’s so much more important for a few families not to get the hurts than to stand up for gay kids in Russia who are being beaten and tortured. Because it’s all about you, right? Honestly, between you and Lance Armstrong there is very little distance, and even loss of what anyone not obsessed soaking in the limelight could consider true character. Take care or people might legitimately begin to think that all athletes are attention-hungry divas with all the moral fiber of slime mold.

  • SEAN JAMES

    ACTUALLY YOU HAVE CHANGED MY MIND , And yes they should carry a gay flag !!!!!! and DAZZLE slap their faces with it

  • Jake Criss

    This disgusts me! You disgust me. Poor you and your little medal. People are dying. People are being tortured and murdered. Poor you. If you cannot think beyond yourself about this issue you are a disgrace to humanity and the LGBT Community. We should boycott YOU next.

  • Debbie

    Commentors on this blog should perhaps channel anger and energy into pressuring the networks (NBC) covering the Games & sponsors (where the real
    money is) to focus the attention on the rampant human rights
    violations. Boycotting is exactly what Russia would expect. From what I’ve been reading, the LGBT community in Russia does not want a boycott. Dictators care very little for what anyone other than their devotees think of them, and are adept at turning opposition and dissent into bigger advantages with them. We should take
    advantage of the fact that the Games are the most watched program
    globally, and demand that the media shine a light on the plight of
    Russia’s LGBT community; force the world to look at it in all its
    monstrosity. Or perhaps keep up public pressure on the IOC to move the venue.
    It’s very easy for all of us to yell “Boycott!” and then retreat to our
    safe lives, while it would change nothing in Russia, destroy the
    competitors life’s work, and tell Russian LGBT that we didn’t care
    enough to show up. Media helped globalize the persecution of Pussy
    Riot…what would the world know of them without the cameras? There is no
    perfect solution and emotions run high on both sides, but frankly, the
    level of vitriol in this comment section is unwarranted. An athlete has voiced his honest opinion about a complex and deplorable
    situation, and is met here with contempt, personal insults and on other sites, even
    wishes for injury. It’s ironic. Everyone has the right to express an opinion, and agree or disagree, it would be good to maintain some level of civility.

  • http://brainalchemist.com Anastasia Pryanikova

    Everybody in this thread seems to care about human rights, yet even we have trouble talking to one another about important issues. I believe these online discussion would benefit from more empathy and humility to advance the cause that is dear to all of us.

    Some people will come with the goal to just discuss the personalities and judge the motives, which is fine. I don’t believe that this is the case for most people here. Unfortunately, when we conflate our judgement of people with the opinion on issues, it becomes very hard to see good arguments when all we see is that either the person we admire is attacked or the person whose judgement we question is defended. We all have to inquire into our own motives for the discussion first. These are not easy issues to deal with, especially when we are so passionate about it.

    If the main goal is to cast a judgment, it is fine. That’s our right, but let’s not use the cause as our cover-up out of respect for people who actually are on the ground right now, risking their lives for human rights and going to communities which may be very different from their own and shining their light on the problems there. The first thing they learn very quickly is that shouting accusations in somebody’s face will get them nowhere closer to an agreement, and it may even get them killed. They have to find the common ground first.

    I want to believe we have the common ground here, and there is a lot of room for discussion of which means are the best and more efficient to advance the goal. Let’s focus on the issues and long-term solutions, not on personalities if we really want to help LGBT in Russia. It will take time and long-term effort of many, especially locally, to change anything there. There are people and organizations that need our support, including financial. We can and should debate the means. We can give our time to the organizations we believe in. The point is there are many productive things we can do if we truly care.

    Sorry for the long comment. Thank you for your listening. Peace!

  • JML02118

    http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/russian-lawmaker-we-will-arrest-gay-athletes-tourists-olympic-games300713 … so much for IOC getting assurances that gay athletes would be protected from the law. Hope you like bars if you plan to skate.

  • Trip Affleck

    Weir is barely literate and dangerously misinformed. attending this event will NOT “stick it to the man”. in Russia, they will stick it to you. his, or any athletes’ personal goal for fame are sickeningly irrelevant. he’s unbelievably selfish and naive. he’s also done a huge disservice to the average gay tourist, who, if arrested, will not enjoy the privileges and immediate attention that he would surely enjoy at the behest of the IOC and the USA.

    #Boycott #Soci2014 and #NBCSports

    • misfitmimes

      On the contrary, Johnny is an excellent writer and one of the most well-informed Americans on all things Russian. And in his previous week’s column, which he linked to in his first sentence here, he wrote: “I will fight for my right to go to Russia. … I will fight to show the government how strong my community is. I will proudly go to Russia – God willing I slip through the cracks and get a visa – and hold my head high. Should I get arrested, I will be arrested with the pride that I am myself, never flinching, and I will be strong for the oppressed community of beautiful people who I can call brothers.” Russian LGBT activists remaining in Russia, led by Nikolai Alexeyev, have embraced Johnny’s courage and are begging the world NOT to boycott—and the activist groups All Out and Athlete Ally agree, as do gay Olympians Blake Skjellerup and Greg Louganis, among many others. Russian LGBT activists are already planning to hold a huge Gay Pride Parade to coincide with the opening ceremonies, and they desperately hope that the intense media coverage that is part of the Games will help to expose Putin’s anti-LGBT cruelty to the world. A boycott means no media, no coverage, and no hope for the very people who are being brutalized by Putin and his regime. Johnny’s stance is anything but selfish. He’s well aware of the risks he faces, and yet he’s willing to go into the lion’s den. As he told TMZ this evening: “The biggest statement [gays] can make is being there, being present at the Olympics, and winning medals.”

    • Beatrix Zenk

      @Trip Affleck

      Johnny is anything but iliterate. He is well-informed on what goes on in Russia right now and he’s chosen the path he would take and likely will take.

      What is your proposal on what can be done to fight these cruel laws in Russia and to contructively help the LGBT people IN Russia…aside from boycotting everything Russia including the Games.
      I want to know: What are YOU doing?

  • finaltouches

    You need to put down your eyelash curler and inhale some smelling salts. Placing Olympic glory over human rights? Really? How would you feel if your husband were bludgeoned and thrown in jail because he is married to you? Would you ignore it because you and your family “sacrificed” so much for you to skate in your garish costume toward an Olympic podium? You are nothing but a selfish twit and an embarrassment to the LBGT community.

  • Akumi JinxRose MandyLisbeth Pe

    Wow, people really don’t think things through,do they? I agree with Johnny, because do any of you really think that boycotting the Olympics will get Russia to suddenly change their minds and make them get rid of their anti gay laws? No, and it’s stupid to think so. By boycotting the Olympics, Russia will win. Johnny mentioned how the last time the Olympics were boycotted, Russia took home more medals than any other country. Currently the United States seems to get the most medals, so if the US decides not to go, them that will only mean more medals for Russia, and I’m sure they will be quite happy with that. The Olympics have been around for a very long time, both in ancient times and modern times, and they have never had anything to do with sexual orientation. It is unfair to associate the two. As Johnny said, the event as a whole does not represent the host country. Being held on Russian land does not mean that it is a Russian event. It’s a location, and it’s about sports, not gay rights. And for the record, I am a lesbian and my girlfriend is transgender, so I am a member of the LGBT community and I find it horrible whats going on there, especially since, like Johnny, I’ve been obsessed with Russia from a young age (I’m convinced that I was Russian in a past life). But come on now people, be realistic and think with your brains. Boycotting the Olympics will do nothing for LGBT rights. If anything, it will make things worse between the US and Russia.

    • Heroic Hal

      What part of NOT SUPPORTING this evil situation–whether or not they are persuaded to change–do you not understand? “Sure, Russia, abuse and oppress people who are like me, but I’ll act like nothing’s wrong and everything is beautiful and I’ll do my part to help you gain everything you expected to gain when you asked to be able to host the Olympics.” And it is not just a location, it IS a government, it’s the government that petitions to host the games and that has agendas for benefiting from them, and that would lose face if whole countries didn’t show up or if the IOC moved the entire event to another location.

    • Heroic Hal

      Suppose you had a golf buddy, and you played golf every Sunday, and one day she got mad at your girlfriend and stabbed her in the chest. Would you figure, “Well, my boycotting her isn’t going to change the fact that she’s a thug who knifes people when she gets mad at them, and it isn’t going to bring my girlfriend back from the dead, and why should I give up my fun?” and continue to have your weekly golf games with her?

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