An Olympic Closet?

I understand that the Olympics is not a place for political or social activism, where part of activism is to deliberately make a topic visible and to make “statements” on an issue.

Still, I’m trying to get straight answers to whether gay athletes are subject to arrest in Russia while they’re there. Given an athlete’s respect for the rules & spirit of the Olympics and Russia’s assurances that:

“The law enforcement agencies can have no qualms with people who harbor a nontraditional sexual orientation and do not commit such acts [to promote homosexuality to minors], do not conduct any kind of provocation and take part in the Olympics peacefully,”

it doesn’t seem like much of an issue.

According to a report published on RIA Novosti:

“If a person does not put across his views in the presence of children, no measures against him can be taken,”

… but what does “provocation,” “his views” and “in the presence of children” mean?

If a gay athlete is seen in public with his or her partner, and they mindlessly hold hands for a bit where there are children within eye-shot, are they in trouble? A lot of times, athletes are interviewed in-venue after a competition near the bleachers: do they have to edit and monitor what they say about who they practiced with and who supported them in a way that those who “harbor a” traditional “sexual orientation” won’t have to?

Putin’s laws criminalizing “homosexual propaganda” are so extensive that even telling children or teenagers that gay people exist is illegal. Offering any support for the LGBT community is now a criminal offense. Even “liking” an image of a same-sex couple holding hands could land anyone in Russia with fines or even in jail. Recently, two Dutch visitors were jailed for violating the law.   (The New Civil Rights Movement)

So a mention of “gay” that might spur a thought in a teenager’s mind that something “Gay” exists is pretty thin ice for someone to skate.

I don’t think that gay athletes who are in the closet at home have anything to worry about: they’re practiced. But to those who are unaccustomed to closet-living, you might be advised to include that in your training.


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