It's something I've been thinking about for months, with the anti-gay laws in Russia and the upcoming winter Olympics on this collision course of injustice and prejudice, what can I do here on this blog to help make a difference?
I've signed petitions (lots of them.)
Boycotting the Olympics seems unfair to the athletes.
Moving the Olympics out of Russia (to someplace like Sweden) sounded best to me, but that didn't happen.
Pressuring the Olympic sponsors (looking at you, Coca-Cola and McDonalds) to speak up against the anti-gay laws (which activists are doing) is a great idea, but the big-money machinery of the Olympics churns on, seemingly uncaring of the rights of queer people in Russia (both Russian and foreign.)
But we do care. Millions of us.
And what we can do - each of us - is raise our voice!
Thousands of Swedes did just that, singing the Russian national anthem in the Stockholm Olympic Stadium, in support of Russian LGBTQ people. It's an event created by the group "Live and Let Love" and the video is very moving.
And I'll be raising my voice here. For 17 days, starting on February 7th and ending on February 23, for each day of the 2014 Winter Olympics, I'll be featuring a celebration of Queer Russia. Gay Russia. Lesbian Russia. Bi Russia. Transgender Russia. We'll be looking at people and history and celebrating just how Gay Russia has been, is, and will always be.
Since my website is geared for youth 11 years old and up, if I was in Russia, just sharing the history of LGBTQ Russians like I'm going to do would be illegal under their new laws. Mentioning that the famous Russian composer Tchaikovsky was gay is something for which I could be arrested. Fined. Even put in jail for up to two weeks. (A Russian newspaper was just fined under their laws for running an article about a middle school teacher who was fired for being gay.)
Yes, and Tchaikovsky was gay - he'll be featured on Friday! (He even had a gay brother.)
I'm grateful to live in the U.S.A. where I can speak out and stand up, but I think about all the LGBTQ people who aren't free to raise their voices. The ones in Russia. The ones in other countries where being yourself (if you're different from the heterosexual norm) is a crime.
And I know I need to RAISE MY VOICE.
And together, we'll sing the glories of being authentic, and the power of Russian Pride.
Here's to a gay gay gay Olympic season!
(And an extra-special shout-out of "GOOD LUCK!" to the five athletes brave enough to be openly queer going into the Olympics!)