This week the news is out of Russia and has to do with the anti-gay laws there, their effects on Russian LGBT people and on the Winter Olympics 2014, and what the rest of the world is going to do about it. First response was from gay bars around the world dumping Stoli down the drain, then from people who said Stoli was made in Latvia and owned by Russians in Luxembourg. What to do? Then came the discussion over whether the anti-gay laws would be enforced against gay Olympic athletes and against gay travelers visiting Russia for the Olympics. Apparently. People proposed moving the Olympics to Vancouver, which has an Olympic site already built from its own successful Winter Olympics in 2010.
People have been weighing in on whether it is right to move the Olympics—or to cancel them entirely this Olympiad. These people speak of the Olympic athletes who have trained for four years and who expect to be given the opportunity to test their skills against other athletes from around the world. People compare the right of these athletes with the right of gay and lesbian people in Russia to be safe. This is a nice argument, if you can ignore the LGBT persons whose rights are being trampled on so that an athletic contest can take place.
I don’t know at what point I would think it is legitimate to abandon the defense of the rights of lesbian and gay persons so that some other event can take place, but, so far in my life, I have never encountered such a moment. The people making the decision to abandon the defense of the rights of gay people are all—pay attention here—straight people. I would have some respect for this process if I saw that gay people were being asked to give up the defense of their rights in favor of some other, greater, good. But actually, there is no other, greater, good that exists that could possibly justify the gay person giving up his human rights. We are being told to give up the defense of our rights, because this other thing is more important to the whole world than your rights are to you. But you didn’t ask the gay person, before you bartered away his rights. This is blackmail, and the gay community should not submit to it.
Beware of people who want you to make a severe sacrifice for them. Good people don’t do that. Good people sacrifice for you.