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.
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.