Positive vs. Negative Protests Towards Anti-Gay Laws in Russia during Winter Olympics

I have been keeping up with [pro-gay] news about the winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, as it relates to the safety of LGBT people. Last year, President Vladimir Putin instituted a law in Russia essentially banning gay propaganda. That has been a concern to gay rights activists in America, but has become an increasingly hot button issue in the months leading up to this international sports event in Russia.

Part of the reason being that there LGBT athletes are coming from other countries that are far more accepting of them than Russia, which puts them into potential danger of being fined, arrested, or deported (just for being themselves). Another reason for concern from gay rights activist groups in western countries is that the Olympic charter values & supports diversity, as well as equal, respectful treatment of LGBT athletes.

Unfortunately, the Olympic Board chose Sochi as the 2014 winter Olympics location long before Putin instituted the anti-gay propaganda law. Therefore, making a change in location less than a year out from the Olympics after years of planning & construction is not very plausible. The only thing the Olympic Board can do is pressure the Russian government not to harass LGBT people during the event.

Meanwhile, activists, politicians, & businesses have been making efforts to protest Russia’s harmful law during the winter Olympic games. The prevailing voice within the gay community has been to boycott watching the games, and encouraging political leaders not to attend. However, others have been approaching protesting in a different way. Google Doodle posted a rainbow picture of winter athletes in honor of LGBT athletes in the Olympics. Canada’s Department of Diversity & Inclusion created a winter Olympic themed commercial with a pro-gay message. President Obama decided not to attend the Olympics but, in his place, he sent an openly gay ambassador.

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