Monday, August 5, 2013

Why Protecting U.S. Queers at the Russian Olympics is Wrong

There's a recent call for the U.S. to take action and ensure that LGBTQ (or perceived) American spectators and athletes will be protected during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia. This has been referred to as a solution to the conflict that arises between Russia's anti-queer laws and the fact that they will be hosting the very prestigious, international competition that may include LGBTQ (or perceived) athletes and spectators. On the surface, this may seem to be a good idea. But in reality, it is just another expression of privilege. Why is it that American or any other foreign persons should be protected and exempt from anti-queer laws, while Russian queers continue to suffer? 

If the U.S. moves forward with such a move, we would be slapping the faces of the millions of queer Russians who want nothing more than to not be harassed, beaten, tortured, arrested, and imprisoned by their own neighbors and government. Also, what kind of message are we sending to American queers who don't have the luxury of government protection? The homeless youth that wander streets in every major city, abandoned by their families? The continual victims of bullying in our schools? The countless victims of hate crimes? The MtF transgender that turned to dangerous prostitution to support herself?

It is not just the Russian queer community that would be marginalized and silenced by U.S. government protection of our "model citizens"abroad - it is also even our own "average" queer citizen who are deemed not worthy of human dignity. American imperialism is not the answer to queer oppression in the world. This all boils down to basic hypocrisy; and while the calls for protection during the Olympics is well-intentioned, it is engulfed in status privilege that really does not do much to in regard to queer liberation and freedom of expression.

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