I’ve been struggling for a few weeks now about watching the 2014 Winter Olympics. I’ve written about how we should not send our Olympians to the Games and how the United States should boycott because of the human rights issues in Russia.
I’ve had numerous conversations with myself about these 2014 Winter Games that have all gone something like this: “You love the Olympics – especially the Winter Olympics – what will it hurt if you watch them?” But, I tell myself, “Russia is so hateful and so discriminatory to gays – how can I possibly watch and support their antigay hatefulness?”
The question really isn’t about whether or not my little boycott would hurt Russia – for to keep my television/laptop/tablet/phone off of NBC for the entire Olympics run will do nothing to Russia. They make the same amount of money if the ratings are high or the ratings are low. My watching matters not in the grand scheme of things when it comes to Russia.
And what of the United States athletes? These men and women who have trained for years for this moment? How do we not support them and cheer them on and maybe, for one moment, feel a little bit of pride in being an American?
Then again – if we do support our athletes, are we somehow turning our backs on our gay brothers and sisters in Russia being beaten and abused every day?
The question is really about me, and how I can justify watching and not feeling that I’m somehow betraying my own gayness by watching the Olympics.
In order to have any sort of resolution with myself, I’ve decided the following: I’m going to watch wearing my Gay Pride shirts, waving my Gay Pride flag. Every time I go out during the two weeks of the Olympics, I’m going to be wearing my Gay Pride hat or shirt or socks or whatever.
Finally, I went online and made a contribution to San Diego Pride. I am now a “Friend of Pride” and a proud investor in the San Diego LGBT Pride Parade and Festival. www.sdpride.org
It’s not about Russia. For me, it’s about how I live my life, how I help serve my community, how I show the world who I am. It’s about being honest about who I am, and doing what I can to help - in my own way.
And finally, if Billie Jean King is going to be at the Olympics, I can surely watch from the couch in my living room – right?
USA! USA! USA!
SDGLN Contributor Barb Hamp Weicksel was born in 1952 in Pennsylvania and moved to California in the early 1980s, where she met her partner Susan. They've been together some 30 years and share the love of Susan's four children, nine grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Her blog, Barb's Gift of Gab, can be found HERE.