While most Americans have never heard of the Commonwealth Games (it’s like a less exciting Olympics among the Commonwealth of Nations — mostly territories of the former British Empire), homophobia has taken center stage ahead of the games in Glasgow.
42 of the 53 member countries of the Commonwealth criminalize homosexuality, with penalties up to life imprisonment in at least seven member states, plus the death penalty in parts of northern Nigeria and rural Pakistan, and the scheduled introduction of death by stoning in Brunei.
Which made this gaytastic kiss between Dr. Who actor John Barrowman and an unknown lucky gent so amazing at the opening ceremony in Scotland.
And as scripted as the smooch may have been, it’s being taken as a big poke in the eye to participating nations whose gay rights track records are certainly not winning them any medals.
Here’s how it aired:
Reaction was expectedly mixed, but Barrowman responded with total class:
I’m Scottish and u can never take that away no matter what your politics are. Bitterness makes u ugly and old very fast:) happy jb
— John Barrowman News (@Team_Barrowman) July 23, 2014
As did these supporters:
John Barrowman opening the #CommonwealthGames with a gay kiss? Scotland, you wonderful, wonderful country! What an introduction.
— Lucy Goacher (@LucyMGoacher) July 23, 2014
Nice touch with this kiss there by John Barrowman. Taking aim at 42 of the 53 competing nations that criminalise homosexuality #Glasgow2014
— Graham Love (@GLove39) July 23, 2014
Congratulations to John Barrowman, whose gay kiss in front of homophobic Commonwealth representatives deserves a gold!
— Michael Arditti (@michaelarditti) July 24, 2014
— Ant Stone (@TrailofAnts) July 23, 2014