Russia cleaned up in this years winter Olympic games. Not only in medals (13 gold, 11 silver, 9 bronze – 33 total) but in clearing the “undesired” from the street.
More countries bringing home lots of Olympic bling were Norway (11 gold, 5 silver, 10 bronze – 26 total) and they legalized gay marriage in the beginning of 2009, Canada (10 gold, 10 silver, 5 bronze – 25 total) who legalized gay marriage in 2005 and The Netherlands (8 gold, 7 silver, 9 bronze – 24 total) who lead the world in not only speed skating but gay marriage rights by legalizing unions in early 2000.
As we look at the medal count, Olympians are packing to go back to their respective countries. Shadow boxes are being made or purchased for holding over mum’s fireplace. Armchair athletes are turning their TVs off but will we close off to the suffering still being endured as quickly as we bid ado with the closing ceremonies?
We must not forget the horrific conditions so many are still living in as we as nations collectively pat ourselves on the back.
Draconian anti-gay laws are driving people into hiding lest they be tortured.
Neighbours are turning against neighbours in disturbing shows of homophobic hatred as endorsed by an autocratic government.
Here in Canada, the refugee board is looking favouribly upon gay Russians looking to flee a country that would see them jailed or worse simply for being.
A recent study showed that 74% of Russians polled said homosexuality should not be accepted by society, which was up from 60% in 2002 (including 5% who said homosexuals should be “liquidated”).
Beyond the government, the Russian Orthodox Church is behind the open hatred of homosexuals. Patriarch Kirill, the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church (approximately 80% of Russians are members) said that the idea of same-sex marriage was “a very dangerous sign of the Apocalypse”.
Proving that he who holds the pen writes the history, a government funded biopic to be released in 2015, about Russian Composer Tchaikovsky claiming “it is far from a fact that Tchaikovsky was a homosexual,” and that he would “not sign my name to a film that advertises homosexuality”.
Russian government is stating that (film maker) “Arabov is actually right – there is no evidence that Tchaikovsky was a homosexual.” despite scholars pointing out that Tchaikovsky’s homosexuality has been extensively documented in the composer’s correspondence and personal papers.
As the Olympics approached and the world’s eyes were truly opened to the propaganda laws, Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko stated that western media had an “invented problem” over the ensuing controversy.
As homosexual hate crimes and intolerance rise, we must not turn a blind eye.
The Olympics may be done but the time for unity has just begun.
Please don’t forget those who suffer as we celebrate.