National Commentary

Johnny’s World: The Gaylympics, Part 4

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]