Countdown To Sochi

QUESTION: Should LGBT Athletes And Allies Make Visible Protests Against Russia At The Winter Olympics?


All eyes are on Sochi right now, as we’re mere hours away from the opening ceremony of the 2014 Winter Olympics.

However, the brutal antigay images that have been coming out of Russia for the past few months as well as the repeated antigay rhetoric from Vladimir Putin and Sochi leaders have cast a shadow on the Olympics with the LGBT community and our allies.

Although LGBT and allied athletes are there strictly to compete, there will be many opportunities for them to make statements in solidarity with the oppressed LGBT people of Russia although such behavior is prohibited by the IOC and the Russian Government.

So we pose the question to you, Queerty members: Should LGBT Athletes And Allies Make Visible Protests Against Russia At The Winter Olympics?   

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  • Cam

    Before we debate this lets rephrase it.
    If Russia’s laws were anti-woman, would you ask the question “Should women athletes publicly mention that they are women”?
    If the laws were rac-ist, would you ask if minority athletes should publicly expose their faces and skin color?
    It is a ridiculous question and plays into the hands of bigots who would much rather have the victims of bigotry stay quiet.

  • BJ McFrisky

    In a word, no. The Olympics are an event of multinational sporting competitions, not a soapbox for one’s politics, and by no means should they be—ever.

  • andy_d

    I like the idea of the six finger salute to highlight principle six of the olympic charter.

  • Tookietookie123

    It’s a dangerous concept for athletes, you could get your medals revoked and risk possible ban from the games. Personally, the games don’t trump human rights, and I could care less had I worked for this for a large portion of my life, I would gladly show my support even in the eyes of extreme adversity, because what gay people are facing in Russia today is a lot worse. I wish I could do something about it now, but I can’t since my voice isn’t exactly far reaching and influential. People should be able to love who they love, and that’s one concept I’m ready to put everything on the line for. I just hope some of these athletes have priorities in life, but I honestly wouldn’t blame them for being too scared.

  • Spike

    @Cam: You are so absolutely effing correct!

    BTW, have you seen what has been posted on Google on topic . . .

    “The practice of sport is a human right. Every individual must have the possibility of practicing sport, without discrimination of any kind and in the Olympic spirit, which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play.” –Olympic Charter

  • Darling Nikki

    The OLYMPICS has ALWAYS (and I do mean ALWAYS) been a political soapbox. From the inception of the games. It’s not a coincidence that the Olympic movement started at the same time as European Nationalism (unifications of Germany and Italy) with the desperate attempts to maintain the Imperial Colonial Status Quo which was starting to crumble. The Olympics were to prove the superiority of the Imperialist nations. Remember colonials competed under the Mother country until World War II.
    Note the first 50 years of the Olympics were not inclusive.
    Jesse Owens was a thorn to the ’36 Olympics and then there were athletes like Marty Glickman who couldn’t compete because he was Jewish also in ’36.

    Let’s not even go to the travesty of ’72 in Munich.
    The Olympics even gave up the dog on amateurism.

    Now that I’ve become long-winded, and I apologize for that, Olympians should do what they want and if they want to protest a la Tommie Smith and John Carlos let them. Let’s see what Putin will do, if anything.

    I am personally boycotting them, and it really is a sacrifice.

  • Apparatus

    Easy answer: Yes.

  • balehead

    Watch all the athletes who don’t medal protest for attention…..seriously…

  • Cam

    @BJ McFrisky:

    What a shock, once again BJ’s only concern is to completely support any anti-gay bigotry.

  • MK Ultra

    Absolutely the athletes should speak out. If enough of them do it, there is not way the IOC is going to remove all their medals. To do that would mean the Sochi Olympics become the failure that neither IOC, nor Russia want.

  • Stefano

    @Cam : BJ McFrisky is probably Jimbryant…now that Jim is ban, BJ appears. Funny, isn’t it?

  • mgmchicago


    Jim Bryant finally got banned?
    Woo Hoo – I can now read the comments again without falling into his black hole of faux-intellectual pseudo-psychology.

  • balehead

    So much for free speech then…..

  • Stefano

    @Cam : that’s the problem with young peoples…They think that gay rights and women rights had always existed. And because they are safe now it will always be that way…but things change.

  • SteveDenver

    If they want to, yes.

    Remember, this is the WINTER Olympics, commonly known as the “Country Club Olympics.” The playing field is remarkably tilted to the rich and privileged: ski, slalom, skating equipment; trainers; costumes; access to rinks and climates where training can occur: This is the rich kids Olympics and they’re often not prone to dust-up in favor of anything that could jeopardize their cushy position.

  • DShucking

    Each person should do no more than they are comfortable doing.

  • DShucking

    @Stefano: BJ was already here. Did jimbryant really get banned?

  • Mezaien

    WORNING!! Between 1945 to 1951 the Russian, government have killed 12 Millions Russian, (not enough but better than nothing).. Russia, is the world #1 enemy.

  • DShucking

    @Mezaien: Ewwww.

  • BJ McFrisky


    1) I have no problem whatsoever stating my opinions as mine. Why would I use a second identity to state them? Especially one as seemingly unintelligent as “jimbryant”?
    2) If I were to create a second identity (for whatever reason), I’d be a little more creative than using a generic handle like “jimbryant” (or is that wherein lies my evil genius? Mwa ha ha).
    3) Most of what “jimbryant” says is trail-mix nutty. I’ve stated as much in the past. If he was in fact booted from this site, I wouldn’t be surprised. He’s a tad more confrontational and in-your-face than I.

    Your paranoia regarding me is very amusing. So, thanks for that.

  • plazaro1

    Yes, and it looks like we will have to do so much more , now and after the Sochi fiasco, A terrifying new documentary is airing on the U.K.’s Channel 4 called Dispatches: Hunted. In the film, journalists are embedded with vigilante gangs of Russian gay bashers and chronicle their “safaris,” as they call them, where they literally go hunting for gay and trans people.

  • mzvky

    YES… at every possible opportunity. This is a defining time. The world is not as it was. I’m sorry for anybody who devoted their life in pursuit of athletic excellence while the real world went to hell in a handbag. But it has. When you pursue a path that may lead to the world stage you run the risk that the world might not be such a great place when you get there. That’s just the way it is. Athletes don’t get a pass just because they are athletes anymore than they can become another species just for those two weeks. You are either on the right side of history or you are complicit in the horror. There is no in between. Do what you will – but you will have to live with the consequences of your value-judgment for the rest of your life… And years hence be prepared to answer the question of what YOU did in response to this injustice.

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