Sochi: How to be gay (and merry) at the O.Gs: An international guide

Protesters in London join those asking for countries to boycott the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics because of Russia's new anti-gay laws. Photograph: Lefteris Pitarakis/AP

Protesters in London join those asking for countries to boycott the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics because of Russia’s new anti-gay laws. Photograph: Lefteris Pitarakis/AP

If the Sochi games had to get a gold medal somewhere, it would certainly be controversy. Never had we talked so profusely (and unfortunately, negatively) of a game before it even began. Except perhaps since the ones organized by Hitler. But surely, we can’t compare them to Sochi 2014, can we ?

Well, if many of us feel very strongly about the homophobic controversy at Sochi and are trying to raise some kind of awareness towards gay rights, a new trend has risen in the midst of all this indignation: humour.

Indeed, according to many medias all over the world, we can laugh about everything. Then, why not mock Putin and his anti-gay laws?

The following ad has been released in Canada:

 

This ad was released by the Canadian Institute of Diversity and Inclusion in response to the anti-gay law bill crafted by the Russian Parliament. This video shows two athletes in the midst of their sport while playing a very subjective music that leaves very little doubt as to its real inclination.

Meanwhile in Scotland, a small group of people have created a special brew o protest against the gay laws and more especially, Putin’s policy. Here again, humour is never far to take on the issue:

Protest Beer in Scotland

So, can we laugh of everything? Is humour a good weapon against such a sensitive subject as the anti-gay laws? Not everybody agrees. Indeed, in London, Clara is a gay activist, and has worked with several associations over the past few years to raise awareness directly around her and in her country. “The thing is, this is going to hurt more one day than it is going to help us”. She says when asked about these campaigns. As a PR consultant for McKinsey&Company, she declares she knows when she knows how to spot a fashion trend when she sees one. “Which is exactly what it is. The medias are taking on this issue because everyone else does. They do not see the real problem. This is a case of Human Rights, not just mere bigotry.”

In America, daily chat shows take on the issue with the same humorous ardour. However, Clara is also concerned and a little angry. “I’m sure they don’t mean anything bad when they record their shows but we can’t help to ask ourselves if this is real concern for our cause or just a way to obtain good ratings. Which is actually very clever. We can’t accuse them of hypocrisy because they know their subject and in a way, they do help us raise awareness towards our cause.”

Vidéo : The Daily Show : Gaywatch

And hypocrisy, Clara has seen it several times. “I think you can’t really see it unless you experience it. But some people will say anything to get on the good side of the public opinion.” She’s shown an ad for a sport brand released in Norway and reacts instantly: “That’s what I mean. This is not a video for gay rights advocacy. This is merely and purely an ad for a brand that is just interested to make money by targeting a new market. This is what we learn in school about marketing and public relations. We have to go with the interests of the moment. And gay rights are definitely in the now. But in a few years, maybe just a few months, this won’t be what we’ll see on television because the public will be concerned with something else. Endangered animals or little children in India. Take your pic.”

Norway Ad

“Humour is good but it is not a solution” she finally says. Unfortunately, we can only agree with her. While looking at some figures, we see that the matter is far from being solved. According to a UN news center report in 2011: “In 76 countries it remains illegal to engage in same-sex conduct and in at least five countries – Iran, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Yemen – the death penalty prevails.” And since then, 5 countries have been added to the list where homosexuality has become illegal.

 

An activist waves a rainbow flag, an international symbol for the rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. Photo: Flickr/See-ming Lee

An activist waves a rainbow flag, an international symbol for the rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. Photo: Flickr/See-ming Lee

Marine Zajicek, L3 Anglais

Publication Visée : Le Nouvel Observateur

 

Publicités

Une réflexion sur “Sochi: How to be gay (and merry) at the O.Gs: An international guide

  1. A very interesting take on this controversy. It reads very nicely and the argument develops all throughout the article, and your source is original and well-spoken. Be careful about a few small things, like giving paragraph-long citations – cut them up and paraphrase some of it so that only the most unique part is in quotations. Also maybe give some more context or links to help describe exactly what Russia’s anti-gay policy is. And the photo from the AP wire unfortunately can’t be used unless you paid for it 😦 Otherwise a good look at what was happening in Sochi.-BP

Laisser un commentaire

Entrez vos coordonnées ci-dessous ou cliquez sur une icône pour vous connecter:

Logo WordPress.com

Vous commentez à l'aide de votre compte WordPress.com. Déconnexion / Changer )

Image Twitter

Vous commentez à l'aide de votre compte Twitter. Déconnexion / Changer )

Photo Facebook

Vous commentez à l'aide de votre compte Facebook. Déconnexion / Changer )

Photo Google+

Vous commentez à l'aide de votre compte Google+. Déconnexion / Changer )

Connexion à %s