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Putin not welcoming of homosexual Olympians

ChrisWinter is in full swing, which means the Winter Olympics are right around the corner.

There is no more appropriate place to hold the Winter Olympics than Russia, where the winters are so cold that boats struggle releasing them from the grip of the ocean ice that seems to permanently hold them in place.

The 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics will bring the best athletes from around the world that participate in winter sports, but these athletes will compete in a country that is blatantly bigoted toward those who possess or support homosexual tendencies.

Russia is against homosexual behavior, and Vladimir Putin has recently made headlines expressing his opinions toward openly gay athletes that will participate in the upcoming Winter Olympics. According to WashingtonPost.com, Putin was asked about how athletes will be treated when they visit Russia to compete in the Winter Olympics in which he replied, “[they] can feel calm and at ease, just leave the kids alone.”

According to the same article mentioned above, Sarah Kate Ellis — President of GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) here in the United States — responded to Putin’s recent comments.

“Mr. Putin can peddle fear and misinformation, but the global community increasingly siding with the equality of all people,” she stated.

This Editorial Board can’t help but agree with Ellis. Mr. Putin is spreading false rhetoric about an entire sub-category of people, and oppressive behavior can be a result from these bigoted statements. The way Putin phrased his words is implying that homosexual people pray on children, which is not true and very insensitive.

For some reason, much controversy surrounds athletes when they come out, even in this country. When Jason Collins, the first openly gay athlete in one of the major sports organizations here in the US, it was all over the news for weeks. The last thing Olympians need is publicity over their personal lives especially when they are competing in the most important games in their career.

In 2014, there is no room for this kind of bigoted behavior. We are too advanced as a society to have bigotry like this still exist within it. Sadly, Russia is not the only country to partake in the legal prosecution of homosexual people. Uganda just recently passed the Uganda Anti-Homosexuality bill on Dec. 20 that criminalizes homosexuality to the point of life in prison. The bill is often referred to as the “Kill Gays” bill because the original intent was to execute those who are gay or supported homosexuality. Uganda is obviously an extreme case, but Russia’s policies need to change as well. More and more of the modern world is wisely recognizing the importance of equality for all people, yet Putin’s closed-mindedness is detrimental to reaching this goal. Putin needs to wake up and join the real world instead of holding on to extremely dated beliefs that have no place in modern society.

Chris Chipman is a junior English major and columnist for The Vidette. Any questions or comments regarding his column can be sent to dv_cdchipm2@ilstu.edu. 

 

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