Russia’s anti-gay laws were under scrutiny even before any athletes traveled to Sochi for the 2014 games. We live in a time when gay rights are not only a national issue, but an international issue. Fifteen countries in 2013 approved same sex marriage, from Argentina, to Brazil, to Canada, to France, to South Africa. But whether you live in one of these countries, or you live in the state of Ohio of the United States, where a gay marriage can only be recognized on a death certificate, we all have our stances on the issue.
Last summer, Russia warned that Olympic athletes could be arrested for violating their anti-gay laws. I and my fellow Greek-American buddies were huddled around our TV ready to watch Greece lead the Parade of Nations, as they do during every Olympics (there’s got to be some perk for creating the Olympics, right?) when we saw Greek athletes walk in with….. rainbow gloves?? Some of us watching were shocked, “are you trying to get arrested, my fellow Greek brethren?” Needless to say, they did not hear the outcries. There were only seven Greek athletes, and Greece hasn’t even legalized gay marriage, so I thought it was an extremely bold and courageous move. The gloves, pictured above, did resemble a rainbow if you saw them from a distance… I guess.
Only they turned out to be the theme colors for the Olympics, and the gloves that were provided to them to wear if they need them. It may have seemed like Greeks being courageous like Alke (Ἀλκή), the spirit of prowess and courage (and yes, I did look it up, and no, Greeks don’t still worship Greek gods). No, the Greek athletes were just freezing and a little homesick from the 60 degree weather they were missing out on.
So maybe this was a neat coincidence for LGBTQ activists, but some media giants from around the world did in fact change their logos towards a LGBTQ friendly one, at least temporarily. A Guardian article compiled some of the best ones:
They chose the Google Doodle as one of their faves, a great choice if I do say so myself. It also featured a quote from the Olympic Charter on equality and the spirit of the Olympics:
Another one of their faves, their own logo:
And even… the NBC logo! Wait, isn’t that just the normal NBC logo…?
So, maybe the Greeks, the Sochi Olympic planners in general, and NBC weren’t meaning to advocate for LGBTQ rights through their gloves and logos, but alas, they did. Maybe, just maybe, a discussion about fashion or gossip, that we see all too often on the front page of CNN and the like, will lead to a serious discussion about the rights of LGBTQ in places where rights are non-existent. I think I know a good place to start the discussion.
Putin is so dashing.