Blasphemy in France (1:31) by Marc Naimark
Banking Benefits (11:33) by Alex Douglas
One Web For All (21:07) by Chris Hofstader
The File (29:43) by Cory Hazlehurst
Sexist Sci-fi (37:26) by Liz Lutgendorff
Amid allegations of government pressure, Russian businesses are reportedly breaking contracts with organizers of the “Gay Games” at the last minute. HuffPost Live sat down with Marc Naimark, the Vice President for External Affairs with the Federation of Gay Games, in order to better understand the series of events.
“The organizers really had no great concerns — they were discreet about what the event was going to be. But according to the law — the famous anti-gay propaganda law — these events are not illegal in any way. Children or minors are not allowed, participants are only present in the venues where the competitions and social events are taking place. So, there’s nothing illegal about them, this is all just part of the general homophobic campaign.”
From an LGBTQ standpoint, many are describing Sochi as a flop. Whether it’sMasha Gessen lambasting inappropriate and ineffectual actions from U.S. organizations more used to promoting marriage equality than international activism, or Canada’s Denise Sheppard deploring the lack of media coverage of human rights abuses during the Olympics, there are plenty of disappointed gays.
Count me among them.
Despite the strict security and the warnings from both Russian authorities and Olympic officials, I thought there would be some visible protest of Russian human-rights abuses (and IOC complicity) during Sochi.
I wasn’t expecting a moment as powerful as U.S. 200-meter medalists Tommie Smith and John Carlos raising their fists on the podium at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics. The treatment received by Smith and Carlos was enough to discourage any athlete from following their lead. Back then, International Olympic Committee President Avery Brundage demanded that the U.S. Olympic Committee suspend the athletes and remove them from the Olympic Village. Among the athletes affected by that event was U.S. decathlete Tom Waddell, who would later found the Gay Games; he was competing in the Mexico Olympics while an Army surgeon, and his strong support for Smith and Carlos earned him the threat of a court martial.
David Douillet, meet Helen Grant: whether male or female, EU sports ministers just can’t help being sexists
From the Gay Games blog:
Many know David Douillet, French judo champion, BFF of former First Lady Bernadette Chirac, and politician, who served as French sports minister for a few dark months in 2011-2012. He is noted for having in his younger days written that he “was a misogynist, as are all men, except for faggots”. A youthful indiscretion? So he claimed, and yet he recently declared that the worst thing you could call him is “faggot”. And along the way, he declared that women practicing judo and other combat sports was “unnatural”.
Now UK sports minister Helen Grant has just demonstrated that you don’t have to be a man to hate women athletes. In an interview in The Telegraph, she explains that to encourage women to practice sport, you need to cater to religious prejudice by creating portable women-only swimming pools, and by adapting sport club schedules to Muslim prayer. More important, you have to offer more girly options in sport like Zumba and ballet, and less of those icky sports like field hockey or football.
“You don’t have to feel unfeminine,” stresses Ms Grant. “There are some wonderful sports which you can do and perform to a very high level and I think those participating look absolutely radiant and very feminine such as ballet, gymnastics, cheerleading and even roller-skating.”
Please, Ms Grant: go look radiant somewhere and leave your ministry to someone who really loves sport and wants to encourage women to practice it because it’s great. Maybe it’s better to have a minister who fights gender stereotypes rather than reinforces them?
Outside of professional purveyors of hatred, it’s rare to find a collection of homophobic opinions as dense as those of former Irish rugby international player Neil Francis.
Speaking on the radio, Francis stated that there are fewer gays in professional sport than in the general population, the exact opposite of hairdressing, a state he ascribes to gays’ lack of interest in sport. He described Michael Sam as “flamboyant”, and declares that his coming out is a “great career move”.
He bases both opinions on personal experience: he saw Sam play “flamboyantly”, and he has often sat down with gay folks and observed their disturbing lack of interest in sport.
Francis rejected any notion that he might be a homophobe, declaring that stating the obvious differences of tastes among different groups could not be homophobic: after all, he cares little for ballet, unlike all the fancy boys.
He also explained that he was so turned off by talk of Russian anti-gay laws that he can’t bear to watch the Sochi Olympics.
Francis is nearly 50 years old. Does that get him off the hook under the “old fart” exemption from intelligence and decency? Probably not: he does claim to have expert knowledge based on his 50-100 good friends who happen to be gay. (more…)
From the Gay Games blog:
French free daily 20 Minutes interviewed Paris Foot Gay, the notorious homo-free anti-homophobia football team cum advocacy group on Michael Sam. As can be expected from an organization that has no reason to exist once out gay athletes become common in football, they gave their standard fear-mongering message: coming out in French premiere league would be “dangerous”.
The response to this points out that PFG misses the point. Rather than waiting for the football star to come out, and rather than saying how “dangerous” that would be, the first out gay football star is far likelier to be a young athlete who is already out when he joins a top team. Rather than focusing on pro teams and players, PFG should be promoting better conditions for young gay players to be out.
But that would mean they might have to find something else to do. Like play football or something.
Pour contraster l’arrivée de Michael Sam, un joueur ouvertement gay à la NFL, la ligue professionnelle de football américain, certains en France prétendent que ce serait « dangereux » pour un joueur de foot de Ligue 1 de faire son coming out. (Paris Foot Gay, pour le nommer.) (more…)