Don We Not Our Gay Apparel
Russia has kicked itself in the head and wobbly painted itself into a corner, when it voted several months ago to have legislation that, among other things, bans "propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations." Meaning, those gay people. It also, among other things, bans any information being taught to children about those gay people.
In a vote that would have made Republicans in Congress proud, the bill passed Russia's lower house by a vote of 436-0. Remarkably, some radical abstained.
Mind you, why this bill was couched in terms of "nontraditional" sexual relations, since that would suggest that the gays have only been around for a few years in Russia, it's hard to grasp. I'd bet good cash money that the gay folk have been around the Motherland for a good, long time, long enough to be quite a tradition.
Aside from the obvious galling human rights attack, the larger problem for Russia is that it has spent a great many billions of dollars in preparation for the Winter Olympics this coming February. This is a worldwide event of great pride for the country, as it attempts to shows itself at its best to the globe and demonstrate what a modern, swell country it is.
Going backwards deep into the worst of history would seem the wrong way to go about it. But hey, that's just me.
If anyone thinks that this won't be a significant topic covered by journalists and TV reporters of that very same world while in Russia -- something that is problematic now for even journalists to talk about under the law -- they are fooling themselves. Further, it's hard to imagine the question not being discussed of how many athletes participating in this oh-so gloriously proud event for Russia are gay.
There have been outraged calls for boycotting the Olympics from voices in various countries. And so too have there been calls to move the Olympics elsewhere.
The latter definitely won't happen. Logistically, it can't. It's not likely that the former will either, at least not on a substantive level. When the U.S. last boycotted an Olympics in 1980 (held, ironically, in Moscow, no less), that was over armed aggression by the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan (oh, the double irony...)-- and even that decision was controversial with much disagreement. So, the Games will likely go on.
It's just that the pride that Russia was hoping to deliver to the world might not be the one they were expecting. They may well have given the concept of Gay Pride the biggest platform it could expect.
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Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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