Ignoring Intolerance at the Olympics

Repeatedly in the past weeks, there have been people online grossly misunderstanding and downplaying the severity of what has been said by the Russian government by way of their president with respect to homosexuality and this year’s Winter Olympics. The degree of indifference to this issue shocks me because it’s another typical example of how popularity determines whether an issue is important or not. A gay rights issue at the Winter Olympics and nobody cares. But what if the mayor of a city hosting the Super Bowl were to say he or she was against one of the teams playing because they had a gay player on the team? The internet would collectively explode in reaction.

The Olympics official website has a downloadable version of their Olympic Charter. In it, you’ll find their ‘Fundamental Principles of Olympism’. This quote that follows is from the 4th principle (I knocked off the end bit but I didn’t reword it in any way)

“The practice of sport is a human right. Every individual must have the possibility of practising sport, without discrimination of any kind and in the Olympic spirit.”

Am I the only one not understanding how the privilege of hosting the Olympics can be given to a country that last June passed a law forbidding “the promotion of homosexuality and other forms of nontraditional sexual relations”? They also outlawed “gay pride” festivals and attempts by foreign homosexualist activist groups to normalize their lifestyles or to campaign for same-sex legal recognition. No, no, no. Can’t have that. Can’t have homosexuals wanting to be considered “normal”. And certainly not with the help of any immoral foreigners who might be perfectly happy being gay. That just isn’t right! But, it’s ok everyone, the Olympic Games can go on as planned because the country’s president, Vladimir Putin has said, literally (again, not changing the words) that gays can go to Russia, they just have to “leave the children in peace”. Mr. Putin’s clearly never asked gay adults how many of them had heterosexual parents because he seems to be under the impression that homosexuality is something you can catch like a cold or stomach flu if you aren’t “left in peace” when you’re a child. To say nothing of the fact that there are plenty of heterosexual people that engage in some pretty “nontraditional sexual relations”. Homosexuality isn’t brainwashed into you, Mr. Putin. It can’t be shown to you so many times that you decide, “hey, that sounds like a good deal, I think I’ll be gay”. It’s not something people can embed in your head and repeat to you over and over until you decide you’d better do it so that you can fit in and not to be different. No, Mr. Putin, these things don’t describe homosexuality at all, they describe intolerance.

So we’ve got a country who’s president doesn’t want foreigners bringing their nontraditional sexual ideologies to his country, athletes who can be gay as long as they don’t infect Russian children with their gayness and don’t seek to be equals (can’t wait to see a gay athlete win gold). I’m sorry, IOC (International Olympic Committee), you haven’t increased awareness and tolerance by granting Russia the Olympics under this president, you’ve rewarded the ignorance displayed by their legal system. And seeing the outpouring from the global community about this issue, with ample time to amend your decision, you chose not to do so. So tell us, what part of Russian law pertaining to homosexuals do you see exactly as contributing to your principles of “practising sport without discrimination of any kind”?