I’ve been seeing a lot of people concerned about the Sochi Olympics, what with Russia’s frankly disgusting attitude towards LGBT rights. Many of these are the sort of people who I don’t usually see doing much for LGBT rights–or indeed broader human rights. And so I feel it’s necessary to point a few things out.
I’ll start with doing something I haven’t done in a while–quoting MediocreDave, who has managed to condense the issue very neatly:
You think it's bad in Russia, I heard the last country to host the Olympics frequently deports LGBT folk who can't prove that they're LGBT.
— Mediocre Dave (@MediocreDave) February 7, 2014
Where is the outcry on these deportations of LGBT people–as I write, Jacqueline Nantumbwe faces deportation to Uganda, where there is a life sentence for being queer and corrective rapes are common. And she is not the first to be victimised in this fashion. Dave has succinctly put why this may be:
Russia; foreign enough for you to characterise the homophobia as uncivilised, white enough for you to care about the victims.
— Mediocre Dave (@MediocreDave) February 6, 2014
There are two things you need to think about when criticising Sochi without a broader analysis. First is that most nations are shitty towards LGBT folk. Their laws may pay lip service to LGBT rights–same sex marriage, anti-hate crime legislation and so forth, but that doesn’t mean their citizens are very good. Let’s look beyond the UK’s attitude towards deporting queers, and to a pile of other hideousness. This is a country where the national press can merrily print transmisogyny with impunity, and with little attention paid to this because the media just don’t give a fuck. This is a country where queer people are mass arrested before large spectacles. This is a country where heaps of unending bullshit are faced by bisexuals, and even the leading lobbying group for queer rights completely ignore and erase trans people. If you’re not furious about how things are here, then I am seriously side-eyeing your intentions as you tweet another fucking petition about sponsors of the fucking Sochi Olympics.
As an aside, if you’re the sort of person who is sharing things about how TOTALLY HOMOEROTIC Putin is, or how KINDA GAY sports are, to “highlight hypocrisy” or whatever the fuck you’re trying to do, congratulations, you’re a homophobic pisshole.
The second thing you need to be pissed off about is the Olympics on the whole. Bluntly put, they’re not a very nice thing to happen to a city. In London, a lot of people lost their homes in order to build a park they’d never be able to afford to visit. Some of those who kept their homes had missiles put on their roofs. And during the opening ceremony, almost 200 people were arrested for riding bikes. And was the world watching aghast, threatening to boycott as this happened to London–or any other city which has hosted the Olympics and faced similar problems? Not really, no. This is a world, after all, that doesn’t freak the fuck out when a country with more than two million people locked up in prison hosts the Olympics.
I’m not saying don’t be pissed off about Sochi and Russia. I’m saying, be more pissed off. Be critical of everything. Stand with LGBT folk closer to home, or further away. Stand against these games which form an excuse for gentrification and human rights abuses. Use your anger at Russia as a spark, and ignite the flames for a greater understanding of broader struggles.
And for fuck’s sake, I’m not going to sign your fucking petition.
19 thoughts on “So you care about Sochi? Here’s some other shit to care about”
Reblogged this on Glasgow Anarchist Federation.
it’s kinda arrogant to presume that everyone’s standards re: this issue are lower than your own. your words are inflammatory, pretentious and utterly and inhumanely disrespectful to everyone who is fighting these battles (whether home or away).
That’s the thing though. While not EVERYONE is crap, far too many are. Well done for not being shit.
Jean: see the phrase “many of these…”. Also, 2 of the incidents Stavvers referred to – the ones involving Queer Resistance and Critical Mass – //specifically// involve people taking action
No-one gives a shit about trans issues. No-one gives a shit about sex worker rights. And no-one gives a shit about people being mass arrested around huge public events. So stop spouting liquid crap everywhere.
By this sword of Glosswitch I dub thee a FAKE ALLY. Now get out
Great post, absolutely spot on!!!
“As an aside, if you’re the sort of person who is sharing things about how TOTALLY HOMOEROTIC Putin is, or how KINDA GAY sports are, to “highlight hypocrisy” or whatever the fuck you’re trying to do, congratulations, you’re a homophobic pisshole.”
I bet you’re fun at parties…
Couldn’t agree more, as
Usual you really nailed it.
Never fail to be entertained by this blog.
Top work, Stavvers.
Timely post. Agree.
“The second thing you need to be pissed off about is the Olympics on the whole. Bluntly put, they’re not a very nice thing to happen to a city.”
See also the World Cup in Brazil obv. This from my football fan self: it’s violent capitalist spectacle.
In reply to Anna Machell – I’m also a football fan, and I think it’s time to stop the World Cup. It causes the same sort of harm Stavvers describes above re the Olympics. Such tournaments don’t do much for the overworked environment either. My enjoyment of such sport is far less important than the negative impact on people in Brazil (or wherever).
How long have you been standing on street corners going on about LGBT rights, or forgot exactly how many friends you lost to AIDS when your government wasn’t doing anything about it? Or maybe your friend got beaten up because they were, um…gay? Or um, transgender? Have you any idea what it feels like?
Love it! Great
So, I get angry about loads of different stuff, and campaign on loads of different stuff, from a queer Marxist feminist perspective. Lately I have been focusing on Russia’s homophobic laws, because the Olympics are bringing some attention to the area right now, and because the law is relatively new. Also within the context of the other problems the Olympics and the Putin regime brings to working class people. So whilst I can try and read what you’ve said and think, “this isn’t directed at me”, it’s still hard not to take it personally, as someone who IS doing some campaigning around Russian LGBT issues right now. I do get your points though, it’s quite hard to reassure myself this doesn’t apply to me.
Honey, if you worry it might be about you, it almost certainly isn’t 😉
Interesting post. Personally, I am in a permanent state of anger towards most governments, especially my own. While I guess there are some who jump on the bandwagon when it’s travelling at a safer distance, i.e. now in Russia, the support given is still valid. I wouldn’t want to criticise folk for this, but educate them further.
Thank god for this, kissing my computer
That was a powerful and thought provoking piece from stavvers and I liked it because it was brutal and raw and angry and uncompromising. I agree with the general point she was making. However I myself do not use the same modus operandi as she does. For I am not an activist or campaigner in the way that she obviously is. I adopt an alternative approach instead. And that is one of quiet contemplation. For I have realised that the only mind I can truly change is my own. So that is all I focus on. And adopting the right view is how I develop as a moral being. It may be more in thought than action but that is of no consequence as long as one has it right anyway. For from that everything else shall follow. Buddhism teaches one that the right mind view is the foundation of all that one should strive for because it directly leads to right thoughts and right actions. I am not a Buddhist but it is not actually necessary to be one to adopt this system
I like the approach of stavvers as she is honest and real and whatever else that those are wonderful qualities and that is what attracts me to her. Apparently she has a reputation. Well here that means precisely nothing. All one is concerned with is the validity of argument and nothing else and on that one bows to no one. Reputation counts for nothing. You want to change your mind then showing me your c v is not the way to do it. But using powerful arguments built on logic and reason will however. I am basically in the right on spectrum but there is always room for improvement and stavvers is just the one who can provide that. Of course these things take time to develop and so one has to be careful about being presumptuous but it looks like I shall be returning here at relatively infrequent levels. However one is sure that at some point stavvers and I shall fundamentally disagree on some important issue. It is bound to happen and it bothers me not one jot and neither should it her
I myself have one rule and that is that I never attack the individual only the idea for once you engage in ad hom you have lost the argument. I also believe in absolute free speech and have pushed that to its absolute beyond what anyone would regard as reasonable. The reason for that is because it is one of those things that is so sacred it is worth dying for and yes I would myself. Though admittedly easy for someone who has no emotional bonds with any other ground apes to say but even so. So that is it. Hope to see you around stavvers. Keep being honest and real in the meantime. An do not hesitate to rip everything I have to pieces if you so feel inclined as it is the only way
These Sochi comments are funny. Stay in spirit!