On Sochi-mania and the media’s appropriation of LGBTQ* rights

I am one of the people who has been delightedly sharing on Facebook various videos, adverts, and so on inspired by Sochi and by solidarity with Russia’s LGBTQ* population. In the case of corporations like Britains’s Channel 4 and Google that have, in one way or another, flown the rainbow flag since the Olympics began, I have no illusions. They’re corporations and their stance on Sochi is ultimately marketing. However, I’m enough of an incrementalist to think to myself, “Well, whatever their motives, it’s better for the big corporations to think it’s profitable to trumpet LGBTQ* solidarity than not.” And, in my more optimistic moments, I hope that the international outcry against Russia’s anti-LGBTQ* legislation might mark a positive sea-change.

A large bearded man, shirtless, wearing red shorts, bear ears and boots, is flanked by women in silver lame body suits and fur hats. Behind them is a large rainbow with many electric lights.
A frame from a pro-LGBTQ* ad Britain’s Channel 4 broadcast repeatedly the night of the Sochi opening ceremonies

Over at A Thousand Flowers, however, B. Smeaton is not so optimistic. Not sure if I agree with everything in this post, but it’s thoughtful and well worth the read.

Here’s a taste:

Turning off your TV during Sochi and climbing the gay mountain is unlikely to do much good for LGBTQ people at home or in Russia, at least in my mind. On the one hand it provides nothing more than a problematic distraction from a violent situation in one of the world’s largest countries, on the other it paints very dangerous images of what LGBTQ people are like and how they think. If we are to be serious about challenging the tired stereotypes and tropes, we don’t let straight marketing executives and editors tell us what is and isn’t ‘gay’, not in Russia, not in Rutherglen, and what the appropriate response is. That’s for The Gays® (remember them?) to decide – listen to them.

If the UK were an African country…

The United Kingdom’s (UK) capital, London, is a city of stark contrasts, where wealthy expatriates and a few home grown billionaires, rub shoulders with the numerous poor, who flock from across the country to make their fortune in the metropolis. However, despite the riots that regularly tear across this sprawling city, there is little sign of ethnic unrest, deep in the heartlands of the English peoples.

The same cannot be said hundreds of miles to the north, where a growing political movement is demanding independence for the Scottish tribe. This would be the first time that borders have changed in Western Europe for half a century, and would represent a severe blow to the southern tribes, who depend on the mineral wealth of the Scottish homeland.

Read the rest of the article at Think Africa.

Reader Query: Feminist Philosophy of Physics.

From a reader:

I have a graduate student in my Feminist Philosophy course who would like to write his paper in Philosophy of Physics — specifically, he is interested in exploring how the exclusion of women in the field of Physics has resulted in ignoring particular questions within Physics. I referred him to Evelyn Fox Keller’s work in this area, as well as some articles by Helen Longino, Donna Haraway and Nancy Tuana (though the latter focused more on problems of privileging certain types of knowledge). Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Any thoughts?