Johnny’s World: The Gaylympics, Part 4

August 15, 2013 8:38 AM12 comments

jworldThis is a topic that just won’t quit. In the last week we’ve heard from several high-ranking Russian officials that they either will or won’t uphold the ridiculous anti-gay propaganda law. We’ve heard suggestions from Western media and fans of the Olympics of actions as outrageous as banning the host nation of the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games from participation or moving the Olympics to its previous host, Vancouver. Through all of this talk, one thing is for certain: Nothing is for certain.

The most recent word from the Russian government is that the anti-gay propaganda law will be upheld during the Games. As crazy as it seems to us as Americans, and to most Western nations, Russia is a sovereign state and has the right in that regard to enforce whatever laws her government chooses. The fact that athletes, fans, and members of the Olympic family could be arrested or deported from Russia for being gay, supporting gays, or wearing the wrong color suspenders, while asinine, is completely within the laws of Russia.

In no way do I defend Russian lawmakers or their government, but as a sovereign nation, Russia, the same as the United States, has the ability to act in accordance with her own set of laws. We committed human rights violations at Guantanamo Bay while the world looked on in fury and, as saddening as it is, Russia has a sovereign ability to repress the LGBT community as she wishes. Many Americans suggest we do something about Russia’s new law, but what can we do? Start a war? The best we can do is show our support for the community, be present at the Games, before and after, and continue to voice our opinions to the world and hope that for Russian citizens, gay or straight, tomorrow will be better than today.

I have come under personal fire from my own LGBT community. While the support of not boycotting the Olympics or Russia outweighs the detractors of my propositions, I’m still receiving a lot of hate from my community. Apparently my opinions are self-serving and delusional. I’m alleged to hate the gay community, which is simply not true. In all my years in the public eye, I have never felt more selfless in my open pleas to the world. The only thing I have to gain from supporting the Olympic movement is a chance at working my tail off every day, bleeding, sweating, crying, and competing in a third Olympic Games. My love of Russia in no way overshadows my will to see equality and justice for all LGBT people.

I believe our presence, while it could be better suited to right now instead of February 2014, will help jumpstart a wave of international pressure towards the Russian government in showing them how decrepit this law is, and how they are taking steps backward into a Communist regime instead of modernizing as they so desperately want. I love my community and the Russian nation, and that is why I have taken the steps I believe will be most helpful, whether you agree with me or not. I urge everyone to fight for your own beliefs. Just because I believe in an anti-boycott and because I believe in an LGBT-friendly presence in Russia doesn’t mean you have to, nor do I push you to believe something simply because I say it. Fight for your own beliefs, and fight hard, and eventually someone’s initiative will be the one that works. Use your time fighting the problem, not fighting an opposing opinion.

At the moment the World Track and Field Championships are taking place in Moscow’s famous Luzhniki Stadium. The event showcases years of hard work and dedication from athletes all over the world, including the United States. I heard not one call to boycott this prestigious event. It’s easy to pick on the bad guys in this world, but to pick on the bad guys is often to overlook the needs of the good. I suppose what I mean is, don’t forget who we’re fighting for.

For more Johnny’s World columns on this issue, click here: [Part 1] [Part 2] [Part 3]

  • Tyler Albertario

    You just get worse and worse, don’t you, Johnny?

  • MeredithMiner

    I’m regretful to say that I too, this past week, fell into the trap of arguing my point, and defending your’s, to a gay man in Canada via Twitter for god’s sake!! How lame am I? Anyway, he angered me not because he didn’t agree with you but because he was so hateful towards, you, me , and just anyone that happened to believe that they had an opposing opinion to his. I found him, as did others, to be offensive, pompous and arrogant not to mention hateful towards his own community. I finally saw fit to give up arguing with him when the name calling began.
    I forgot my point here.. but as always, excellent blog, insightful and I stand with you and your’s not because you’re Johnny Weir, gorgeous, talented, sparkly ice skater dude/diva, but because you’re right. You’re smart and show it and just SO right!

  • AB

    Right on, Johnny. I think people are calling for a boycott because that’s the most dramatic action, so it seems like it will be the most effective one. To advocate for a boycott is fine, but to attack anyone who does not agree (while remaining ignorant of the fact that a sporting event is taking place right now in Moscow), is misguided. “Boycott” always sounds very noble to us Westerners, but we have to think about what will really help. If we boycott, will the Russian LGBT community be ignored within a few months? Just like the LGBT communities in Uganda, Jamaica, and countless other countries that oppress or even persecute people who aren’t straight? An international event may be a great opportunity to publicize what’s going on. In fact, it already IS publicizing what’s going on. And to people who accuse you of not willing to be visible… well, Russia can read your twitter, your FB, your column, your TV interviews. This is a global world, and you ARE being visible.

  • MartinR80

    “don’t forget who we’re fighting for.”

    There it is! It’s got a bit disturbing how easily people dismiss and ignore the voices from LGBT Russians IN Russia, all while attacking anyone who disagrees with them.

    I’ve even seen people attacking Nick Symmonds for speaking out against those terrible laws while IN Russia, to Russian media, against the laws and a reminder that gay or straight, we are all equal and have (should have) the same rights. Apparently, using a respectful tone isn’t good enough for those who think “boycott” is the only answer, ignoring that “boycott”, even if it was feasible, would also mean no more press attention to LGBT Russians.

    “don’t forget who we’re fighting for.”

  • Lady Lisa

    You’re quite right that nothing is for certain. I am proud of you for keeping on fighting for what you believe in, and for the people you believe in. One thing is for sure, there will never be any kind of ‘quick fix’ solution to any of these new laws there; it will take a lot of dialogue and listening, on both sides, because nobody wants to attack Russia’s culture, but rather just allow gay people there the same human everyday equality as straight people.

  • cyberonion

    You make a series excellent points. I agree that criticizing other LGBT with differing viewpoints is a waste of everyone’s energies. I myself will defer to the LGBT community in Russia for the most effective route of action to take to help Russia remove these backwards laws. Three-quarters of Russians (and a great many Americans, Europeans, Asians, Africans, Middle Easterners, too) need to study the science and conclude that most LGBT were born this way (a few others arrived via chemotherapy, etc.). I just hope that all this drama will not shift your focus away from the extreme demands of world-class skating.

    • IcyHeart

      Don’t worry. He hasn’t done any world class skating since the last Olympics.

  • IcyHeart

    No one could call you self-serving if you dropped the ridiculous pretense of expecting to compete in the 2014 Olympics. It was offensive enough before this issue came up, but now it is damaging your credibility on something important to many people. Be honest and your message will be stronger.
    And what do plan to do in January? Imply that you were not chosen because of discrimination and be a martyr? Have one of your usual conveniently-timed illnesses or injuries before Nationals?

  • themainone

    It’s not communist! Do you know what communism is? I think you are very very ignorant of what communism is. How about reading a book?

  • Annski1

    A fact of history: Russia has not always been a homophobic nation. After the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917 they eliminated laws regulating personal relationships including all laws against homosexuality. After Stalin killed, imprisoned or banished all the Bolshevik leaders he reinstated many laws including those against homosexuality.

  • Superglider

    so is Johnny a male or female? Would he/she be arrested for looking like he/she does if he/she went to the Olympics?

    • Truly S.

      What is your problem?

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