Greg Louganis, Olympic champion diver and out gay man, on the controversy over LGBT athletes and the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics:
"I can't begin to imagine what it must be like for a gay athlete in Russia. It was hard enough to compete closeted representing the United States, a country that is considerably evolved on LGBT rights. It is unfathomable to consider what it's like for the Russian athlete - knowing that if you were to come out you could lose everything you've worked your entire life to achieve and then on top of that to be considered a criminal. It is both heartbreaking and heinous."
No one, anywhere on Earth, should be criminalized for their sexual orientation, and we need to stand up against this intolerance wherever it rears its ugly head, be it Africa or Russia.
We can’t let this type of persecution happen, again.
Oprah Winfrey, on the N-word:
"You cannot be my friend and use that word around me. It shows my age, but I feel strongly about it. … I always think of the millions of people who heard that as their last word as they were hanging from a tree."
Y'all know I have my issues with O, but I gotta hand it to her this time.
Heartbreaking. Succinct. To the point. Perfect.
John Baird, Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs, on the proposed boycott of the Winter Olympics in Russia due to their anti-LGBT laws:
"As concerned as we are about the Olympics, that's nothing. That's two, three, four weeks for the athletes and participants and the visitors. This mean-spirited and hateful law will affect all Russians 365 days of the year, every year. It is an incitement to intolerance, which breeds hate. And intolerance and hate breed violence. We wanted more than a verbal commitment to the IOC. And now the comments by the Russian sports minister, Vitaly Mutko, are of deep concern. The Olympics is a great celebration of international sport, of international co-operation. This type of law being enforced flies in the face of the entire Olympic spirit."
Baird, like many, hope the controversy now, will lead to an end of the laws in Russia. But what do we do if the games arrive and the laws haven’t changed?
Particulate in the name of the LGBT community and risk some kind of international incident, and sweep the whole mess under the rug.
Or, do we stay away, which only serves to punish the athletes who’ve trained for years to be there?
Cheyenne Jackson, on how he felt about being an out gay man having to issue a statement about his divorce:
“Yes, it is weird. But it’s a fact. And you just have to accept the way things are. Sometimes I think I am a little naïve to think that people even care, but they do. So you have to understand the significance that your relationship had to other people and I know that our marriage meant a lot to a lot of people…so that’s not lost on me, and I respect that…I didn’t want to have to say anything. The royals, the monarchy over in England always say ‘Never complain, never explain.’ And so I’d love to adhere to that, but the fact of the matter is, I did have to say something. It was getting a little ugly, and my sister and brother were like ‘What’s up?’ So, it is kind of weird to have to make a statement about it….and Monte [Lapka] and I talked about it and decided what we wanted the statement to say…and it was nobody else’s business….yes, it is weird, but it is a fact.”
One part of equality is that gay couples will divorce, just like straight couples. And, if you’re an out celebrity, your divorce becomes fodder just like a straight couple.
Equality is equality, the good and the bad.
Matthew Mitcham, out gay Olympic champion diver, on the controversy over gay athletes and the Sochi 2014 Games:
"It's really sad. The way they are persecuting people in Russia is quite horrific...The Olympics is the best experience you will ever have as an athlete. Their whole memory and experience is going to be marred by this stuff. They are going to be made to feel unacceptable, inappropriate, and it is a really awful, awful feeling. The Olympics are supposed to be somewhere where they can go to be relieved of that feeling. A place where you can compete and feel that gender and sexuality is not an issue."
Again, how do we handle this? Does Russia get a pass during the games and then we go back to trying to change their laws? Or do we stand up and say No, we won’t be there?
Or, do we go, and stand proud, from every country around the globe, and show the Russian government and the Russian people that the LGBT community does not deserve the vile treatment they are receiving?
Stephen Colbert, on his, and the media's, confusion about the extent and severity of the recent terror threats:
"Without any details, I'm not even sure how panicked I'm supposed to be. At least during the Bush years I could look at this helpful chart and know that my sphincter tightness was orange. But even that's gone now because Obama gave all those colors to the gays for their rainbow."
Just a giggle, but then a question? How come the Rainbow Flag became a part of the terror alert system?
Do I thmell a conthpiracy?
Frank Bruni, for the NYT, on the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi:
"Imagine this: it’s the opening ceremony of the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. A huge television event, watched the world over. The American Olympians join the proud march of nations. They’re our emissaries, our exemplars. And as the television cameras zoom in on Team U.S.A., one of its members quietly pulls out a rainbow flag, no bigger than a handkerchief, and holds it up. Not ostentatiously high, but just high enough that it can’t be mistaken. Another American follows suit. Then another, and another. Within minutes the flags are everywhere in the American delegation, subtly recurring bursts of color and of honor, a gay-rights motif with a message: we’re here in Russia to compete, but we’re not here in Russia to assent. We have gay sisters. Gay brothers. Gay neighbors and friends and fans and probably teammates, and we reject the laws of a land that deems it O.K. to arrest them for speaking their truth or us for speaking up for them."
I’d like to see that, and not just from the American delegation, but from every athlete. Imagine a sea of Rainbow Flags walking through that stadium.
It’d be a beautiful, powerful, message.
Stephen Fry, in an open letter to the IOC and British Prime Minister David Cameron, on the homophobic new laws in Russia:
"I am gay. I am a Jew. My mother lost over a dozen of her family to Hitler's anti-Semitism. Every time in Russia (and it is constantly) a gay teenager is forced into suicide, a lesbian 'correctively' raped, gay men and women beaten to death by neo-Nazi thugs while the Russian police stand idly by, the world is diminished and I for one, weep anew at seeing history repeat itself.
'All that is needed for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing,' so wrote Edmund Burke. Are you, the men and women of the IOC going to be those 'good' who allow evil to triumph? The Summer Olympics of 2012 were one of the most glorious moments of my life and the life of my country. For there to be a Russian Winter Olympics would stain the movement forever and wipe away any of that glory. The Five Rings would finally be forever smeared, besmirched and ruined in the eyes of the civilised world."
As I said at the beginning, we cannot let this happen, again.