So, how are things in Russia right now with the Olympics just a few days away? Really great, right?
No, of course they are not. Organized fascist mobs are still threatening and beating and shooting and raping gay people with the tacit approval of authorities. Fun times. Oh, but heaven forbid we “politicize” the Olympics. How rude of those victims to expect justice when there’s skiing to be done.
In a new video, Human Rights Watch documents some really upsetting abuses — don’t watch if you think it’ll bring up painful memories — and address the government’s failure to protect LGBT citizens. They also explain exactly what’s going on here: much of the violence can be traced back to an ex-con neo-Nazi called “The Cleaver,” who equates homosexuality with pedophelia. This isn’t an isolated attitude in Russia: Vladimir Putin made a similar comparison a few days ago.
The question a lot of tourists are asking: will it be safe to be openly gay during the games? There’s just no way to know. Going to the Olympics this year is a risky gamble that could literally kill you.
But the question that Russian LGBTs are asking is a lot more dire: will it be safe to be only gay after the games? After all, they’ll have to keep living in Russia long after the international spotlight has turned away.
And yet still, the Olympics and their sponsors refuse to rise up against these acts. The best we’ve gotten is a little tepid disapproval, but no organized resistance. Their excuse is that the games should be about the sports, not about politics, as if it’s okay to suspend civil rights just because the Olympics are happening.
But what’s happening instead is that the Olympics have some to represent turning a blind eye to human rights abuses.