Please join me in asking the US team at the 2014 Winter Olympics to show their support for human rights by flying the gay pride colors at the opening ceremony in Russia.
Like so many people around the world, I have been watching the increasingly violent treatment of the LGBT community in Russia and the passage of anti-gay legislation there. These laws that broadly criminalize speech about gay rights as "propaganda" are so vague that people simply wearing a t-shirt or holding a banner supporting gay rights can and have been arrested. The laws have also acted to tacitly accept hatred and violence against the LGBT community; since the passage of these laws there have been a spate of anti-gay attacks, some resulting in death.
Many athletes are already speaking out in support of human rights in Russia -- and displaying their support publicly. Two Swedish athletes recently painted their nails in rainbow colors at a track competition in Russia. Openly gay speed skater Blake Skjellerup of New Zealand has stated that he plans to wear a pride pin if he is able to attend the opening ceremony. These athletes -- and the LGBT community in general -- should be supported and the International Olympic Committee should take action to ensure that athletes who express support for human rights are protected, rather than punished.
By carrying the Gay Pride flag alongside their country's flag or wearing the colors on their uniform, athletes at the 2014 Sochi Olympics will be sending a strong message to the Russian government that their current policies of discrimination are not acceptable to the rest of the world. To truly march with pride, the athletes of the world should act with a single voice against this oppression. A voice that Russian citizens, themselves, cannot express.
Join me in asking the US team to show its support for human rights at this year's Olympic games in Russia.