19 Aug

Which Side Actually Fears “Coming out of the closet”?

                                       

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Earlier this month, there has been some international indignation and furor over Russia’s recent “anti-gay law”:

The law, which parliament passed in June, bans “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations” and imposes fines on those holding gay pride rallies. It has attracted international condemnation and cast a shadow over the World Athletics Championships in Moscow, with questions raised over whether it will apply to athletes and spectators at next year’s Winter Olympics in the Russian resort of Sochi.

The International Olympic Committee is seeking clarification from Russia and there have already been some calls for a boycott of the Games.

Mutko said before the start of the track and field championships that critics should “calm down”, saying the rights of all athletes competing in Sochi will be respected. On Sunday he blamed continuing debate on “an invented problem” in Western media. “We don’t have a law to ban non-traditional sexual relations,” he said. “The mass media in the West have focused much more on this law more than they do in Russia.”

More recently, Sky News (mis)characterized a congratulatory kiss between Russian athletes Kseniya Ryzhova and Tatyana Firova as a “protest kiss”. The claim was made without any evidence of the athletes making a political statement. It is quite common to see Russian athletes give each other a customary kiss as a form of greeting/congratulations/celebration; and it is quite common to see between two athletes of the same gender.

Meanwhile, there have been athletes who have made public their political feelings.

In Moscow last week, Swedish high-jumper Emma Green-Tregaro painted her fingernails in rainbow colors. She, a non-Russian, achieves praise. When Russian pole-vaulting hero Yelena Isibayeva reacts and criticizes an outsider for “disrespecting” the laws of her country, Isibayeva earns ire and condemnation for expressing her opinion. Some now are calling for her to be stripped of her Olympic ambassadorial role. The backlash caused her to try and clarify (or backtrack) her opinion and position.

Another non-Russian athlete criticized the Russian legislation as well, last Friday:

(CNN) — U.S. runner Nick Symmonds took a swipe at Russia’s anti-gay propaganda law after winning a silver medal in the 800-meter competition at the World Track & Field Championships in Moscow, according to state-run media.

Symmonds became the first athlete to openly criticize the law on Russian soil Tuesday when, after registering a time of one minute, 43.55 seconds, he dedicated his second-place finish to all his gay friends back home, RIA Novosti reported.

“As much as I can speak out about it, I believe that all humans deserve equality as however God made them,” he told the news outlet at Luzhniki Stadium. “Whether you’re gay, straight, black, white, we all deserve the same rights. If there’s anything I can do to champion the cause and further it, I will, shy of getting arrested.”

Symmonds, 29, who appeared in a February ad for the gender-equality group, NOH8, went on record with his sentiments earlier this month in a blog post for Runner’s World magazine.

In it, he flatly stated his support for LGBT rights — and his disagreement with the Russian law — but promised not to raise the subject in Russia because “the playing field is not a place for politics.”

“I say this not out of fear of prosecution by the Russian government, but out of respect for the fact that I will be a guest in the host nation. Just as I would not accept a dinner invite to a friend’s house and then lecture them on how to raise their kids, neither will I lecture the Russian government on how to govern their people,” he wrote.

It sounds like the exact sentiment Isibayeva was expressing. Yet Symmonds appears to have reneged. Any public outcry against him (aside from my tepid response)?

2 years ago, a man of good character, ‘1984 Olympic gymnast and gold medalist Peter Vidmar resigned as USOC’s chief of mission for the U.S. Olympic team amidst pressure and protest by those who could not tolerate his personal belief against same-sex marriage, and his support of California’s Prop 8:

I’ve been to USOC events where Vidmar was the guest speaker. He was an immediate role model and an incredibly inspirational speaker. When I heard he had been chosen by the USOC, along with past Women’s Sports Foundation president and Paralympian Aimee Mullins, it seemed like a natural fit. But then I too read about his active support (including a $2,000 personal donation) of California’s Proposition 8, the ballot initiative to ban gay marriage. Immediately, I thought of all the gay Olympic athletes he would be representing next summer.

~~~

If I were competing in next year’s Olympics, I would want the appointments made by the USOC to represent all of the USA. The Olympic Games are known for setting the standard on inclusiveness in sport. Once Vidmar went public with his stance against gay marriage, he excluded specific Olympic athletes from feeling that they belonged. This may not have been his intention. But would it have been OK for him to speak out against rights for those of a different race, gender or religion? Discrimination based on sexuality should be seen as just as detrimental. With Vidmar’s resignation, I know we are finally moving in the right direction.

Whatever Vidmar’s personal beliefs, I strongly feel he would have represented all athletes fairly and equally, as it related to his role as a USOC official and its purpose- which had nothing to do with the issue of traditional vs. same-sex marriage.

Last week, WWE pro-wrestling superstar Darren Young came out of the closet.

YouTube Preview Image

Was it an “act of courage”? To some degree, sure. But just look at the reaction he’s received (which in my opinion, is not shocking at the least): Overwhelming support.

You know what would take a set of raisins the size of grapefruits? For any of those WWE wrestling superstars to say anything at all that even remotely hints at an “anti-gay” sentiment or a non-support of same-sex marriage.

In the world we live in today, I think it takes just as much courage for those who are against gay marriage to express their opinions without the fear of being labeled “homophobe”, “hateful”, “bigoted” as it does for “coming out” as gay.

When NBA player Jason Collins came out earlier this year, just how “courageous” an act is it? Was his career and prestige enhanced or harmed by the decision?

Are there any athletes who have recently come out of the closet to openly express their disapproval of same-sex relations or marriage? If so, what was the fallout? And should that opinion be judged as “hateful” and “bigoted”? Are there cases where those on both sides of the issue can debate it, without expressing hate and disrespect?

So much of the intolerance of opinion that I am seeing these days, seems to come from those on the side of the aisle who perceive being against same-sex marriage (which should not always equate to the same thing as being “anti-gay”) as a perspective which must come from a hateful and bigoted place. In some cases, it might be. Yet there are also good people (like Vidmar) who hold an opinion that pro-gay advocates should be able to disagree with, without becoming close-minded and hateful themselves.

It seems like only one side is tolerated into having a political voice expressed; or a personal belief shared.

We all have our personal beliefs. They might be right ones or wrong ones; but we should be able to have respectful debates and differences of opinions.

I think people should be able to debate the issue and disagree with a man of character like Vidmar without demonizing him. Without turning into intolerant, hate-filled bigots themselves.

Today in 2013, the traditional roles appear reversed: The ones now in the closet are those who fear speaking out against homosexuality in any way; or fear saying anything that might be (mis)construed as criticism of gay rights, or non-supportive of “gay rights”.

At least out here in Los Angeles, conservatives are far more “in the closet” than liberals on the issues. I’ve seen plenty of vehicles sport “No on Prop 8″ bumper stickers; yet not a single “yes” bumper sticker. Yet when it was put on the ballot for California voters to decide upon the issue, Prop 8 passed.

As for my personal opinion on homosexuality and gay marriage?

Hmmm….

This entry was posted in Culture, Gay Marriage, Russia, Social Studies, Sports. Bookmark the permalink. Monday, August 19th, 2013 at 9:01 am
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27 Responses to Which Side Actually Fears “Coming out of the closet”?

  1. TrishaMarie says: 1

    Interesting times everywhere I look.

    I’m a lesbian, Pagan (old country), fiscal conservative, 1911 addict who loves big block V8’s and Holley 4bbl carbs, colorblind unless you demonstrate you intend me or those I love harm (then all I see is Red); yep, few outside of the range even tolerate my company as the Republic is continually splintered ever more energetically. I see no point in gay marriage – all I’ve ever cared about were civil unions recognized as legally binding.

    You make good points. What will we do when it’s Sharia, and not Russia?

    I’ve understood that everything I say, write or do could probably be on record for a long time. I still voice my opinions to individual representatives in coherent English with the best sentence structure and civil courtesy I can muster, without flinching, remembering the Oath I took at seventeen. Does the thrust of propaganda and MSM’s blatant bias and re-writing (okay, “creative editing”) of history give me pause? Absolutely.

    We have one chance, as far as I can perceive. The 2014 elections must be beyond debate or contest regardless how and who tries to count the official vote. The low information people, cocooned in their cages, grazing inside their velvet corrals, gorging on the approved food pyramid ratios without a creative thought beyond the sound byte can’t be ignored. We have to try and reach them, even if we only succeed at one or two acquaintances.

    Religious or not, hetero or not, knowledge and heart are the last resources, the best facilitators we can select from our repertoire to begin to turn the tide and expose the bias in time.

    ReplyReply
  2. Wordsmith says: 2

    @TrishaMarie: Nice comment, TrishaMarie. Welcome to FA!

    ReplyReply
  3. Nan G says: 3

    The group of men and women bloggers at the Gay Patriot have not been afraid to be out as both gay AND conservative for YEARS.
    I have only heard one of them complain about one blind date gone bad over that issue in the many years I’ve been following that excellent blog.
    I wonder if there will be asterisks all over the Russian Olympics.
    Will a lot of winners be disqualified because of PDA’s?

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  4. TrishaMarie says: 4

    Thanks for the head’s up, Nan – I just Liked them on FB.

    I’d be surprised if Putin is swayed. The IOC placates.

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  5. Kevin Kirkpatrick says: 5

    “You know what would take a set of raisins the size of grapefruits? For any of those WWE wrestling superstars to say anything at all that even remotely hints at an “anti-gay” sentiment or a non-support of same-sex marriage.”

    Hell, that’s nothing. Can you imagine how brave it would be for a WWE wrestler to say that blacks shouldn’t be able to wrestle in the same rinks as whites? Now THAT would take some cojones!

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  6. Richard Wheeler says: 6

    @Kevin Kirkpatrick: “Brave” for a WWE wrestler to say blacks shouldn’t be able to wrestle in same ring—rinks are for ice skating—with whites??
    Not Brave—Redneck trailer trash racism more likely.

    ReplyReply
  7. bwax says: 7

    We continue to give in to the homosexual lobby by referring to them as gays. Call ‘em what they are!

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  8. TrishaMarie says: 8

    And we’re off on bunny trails. Okay, what’s the “homosexual lobby?” Pink Pistols” Log Cabin Republicans? Gay Patriots?

    Divide, polarize and conquer. Recruit the disaffected for enforcement. Repeated through history ad nauseum.

    If you’re an American citizen, abide by the Constitution and worry about the rest later – if anything matters at all later. With the permission to jihad made public and official don’t be distracted. Do your due diligence and review the recent synopsis if the books are too much of an intrusion to read.

    Recommended: http://pumabydesign001.com/2013/08/05/video-muslim-brotherhood-in-the-white-house/

    Of course Christians are target – but AFAIK Muslims pray for the death of Jews every day. I will never submit, nor pay the tax. I could care less about worrying about any perceived LBGT agenda!

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  9. Tom says: 9

    In the world we live in today, I think it takes just as much courage for those who are against gay marriage to express their opinions without the fear of being labeled “homophobe”, “hateful”, “bigoted” as it does for “coming out” as gay.

    I find it difficult to equate the perception of PC-inspired disapprobation for conservative views on homosexuality with the intolerance homosexuals face in most of the world today, where homosexuality is illegal in dozens of countries, a capital offense in several. So I would disagree it takes more courage for a conservative to ‘come out’ as being against gay marriage than for a gay person living in Saudi Arabia, Yeman, Sudan, Afghanistan or Iran to ‘come out’ as being gay. We should remember that gay marriage is only available to a minority of US citizens today, and didn’t exist at all just ten years ago, and tolerance for homosexuality is nonexistent in large parts of the globe today. So this odd conservative compulsion for flipping the dynamic and appropriating the role of oppressed victim seems someone premature in this particular instance.

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  10. Skookum says: 10

    Trisha Marie, welcome aboard, I like the cut of your jib, that’s sailing talk from a guy who appreciates the same interests or hobbies. Seriously, you have a wit and manner of expression that sounds like fun in the future.

    I probably work for and know more gay people than almost anyone else who reads these cyber pages, and you know what? I really don’t care. People are just people, some are mean and cruel, others are kind and generous. So what, they can walk on either side of the fence and be good or evil.

    Why should I care if a diver or runner is a homosexual or what his opinions are on anything? If I watch an athlete, it is because he can do one particular thing well. If he is an outstanding citizen for some other reason, good for him, but that is the end of it all for me. Fools and morons want to know what kind of car he drives, if he wears boxers, or if he has groupies or groupers; again, I don’t care.

    This idea of placing importance on the philosophical nonsense of celebrities is absurd and laughable, besides being a waste of time.

    Homosexual people make up 1.5% of the human race, but many of them are talented people. I say that because their presence in entertainment, sports, writing, and the arts is way beyond 1.5%. That’s just anecdotal observances by me, but I doubt if the rest of you can dispute my data.

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  11. another vet says: 11

    @TrishaMarie: The lefties would call a black person with your views an Uncle Tom. It’ll be interesting to see what they call you. Nice choice in pistols by the way. You couldn’t have picked a better one to be addicted to.

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  12. James Raider says: 12

    @TrishaMarie: #8,
    Useful link which should be viewed by anyone unfamiliar with the long war we have engaged.

    Clare Lopez’s comment re O’s speech in Cairo interpreted as “We’ll not stand in your way” resonates with the visceral reaction I recall as I listened to what seemed to be a baffling address at the time. . . . Sigh.

    At the time, the puzzle was whether he was completely incompetent and ignorant, or was dangerously willful. The puzzlement long ago vaporized.

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  13. Richard Wheeler says: 13

    @TrishaMarie: Representing Mercy For Animals my wife and I have been at Pride weekends in L.A. and S.D. in July. We have noticed the pushback against the LBGT community by Evangelicals and the Repub. base.—We’d be interested in your rationale on this issue. Thanks

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  14. TrishaMARIE
    YES HOPE TO READ YOUR COMMENTS OFTEN,
    you say what we like, you are a good CONSERVATIVE,
    I can tell by your smart comments, it never fail,
    best to you,

    ReplyReply
  15. Redteam says: 15

    @Richard Wheeler:

    We have noticed the pushback against the LBGT community by Evangelicals and the Repub. base.

    RW, just curious, but if you feel as if the LBGT community should have their rights observed, to promote their agenda, don’t you think the Evangelicals and Repub.base have that same right also? Why should either groups ‘rights’ be subservient to the other?

    ReplyReply
  16. Aqua says: 16

    @TrishaMarie:

    If you’re an American citizen, abide by the Constitution and worry about the rest later

    A fan of .45 ACPs with a Libertarian streak…..very nice. Welcome to FA.

    ReplyReply
  17. Nathan Blue says: 17

    @Tom: It definitely goes against the narrative you choose to abide. Big surprise.

    ReplyReply
  18. TrishaMarie says: 18

    I’ve never been to a Pride event. Some of what I’ve seen makes me flinch. That’s just me. I’m a grandmother. My mindset? Find a copy of “And Then I Met This Woman.”
    I don’t care what anyone’s evangelical/fundamentalist deity drives and needs are. Leave me and mine out of it. Having studied art history and traveled a little I’ve touched the stone columns on platforms in town squares where women were burned. That was forty years ago. I’ve been careful around anyone fervent in their convictions of any religion since.
    another vet: In reality, no one calls me. I’m comfortable with that. Whatever they call me behind my back isn’t a concern. Word likely spreads that I do sword forms, am a competent archer @ 35 yards with a 50 pound Oneida modified by Gulf Coast Archery and I handload the Colonel’s Flying Ashtray loads for everyday carry. I can still pass both the SCT and old IDPA standardization defensive drills – but I don’t compete anymore. Too much testosterone/Viagra on the line; seeing 9s and 40s keyholing at 10 feet convinced me it was time to go. (I am building a poodle shooter finally just because it panics the hoplophobic and the sincere Leftist. Too much arthritis to build a real battle rifle like a Garand.)
    I loathe the whole “Hate Crimes” nonsense. What’s needed is national shall-issue with citizenship/honorable discharge with no restrictions and no civil suit with an adjudication of lawful lethal force.
    No “Rights” are subservient to any other.
    I believe we have little time left to get out of the trough (side seas), shovel our own weight to relight engines of energy independence and constructive enterprise to lead the world by example again. Dare to be an American. Compete to be good enough to join our military and serve with pride and honor. Take a pressure washer to the Pentagon and retire all the political flag officers – we have far too many entrenched and damned few warriors there (IMHO).
    Elevate merit-based teachers to the highest levels of society and offer opportunities for the best and brightest in every field to teach with vibrancy and passion – not unions.
    Skookum! My partner and I volunteered with the local rural mountain EMS agency for almost 15 years. The folks who were zealots and ended up in the bus emergent always made us shake our heads later. We knew of LBGT folks in every agency and service and no one ever gave anyone “the gay cooties!” Most of the time patients were in no condition to know who was their medic/cop/firefighter that saved their life. Competence and professionalism were the sole priorities and rewards. We are who we are.
    That should do it.
    To our host, apologies for straying so far off topic.

    ReplyReply
  19. Tom says: 19

    @Nathan Blue:

    Everything I wrote above – aside from the final sentence – are easily verifiable facts. The final sentence is speculation, and certainly not uncommon speculation. I find it fascinating what fuels the resentments of people. You, for example, I would imagine, carry some resentments fueled by things that are frankly none of your business, what people do in their private lives, for example. And – to take it a step further – the resentment then fuels this anger you clearly have, and perhaps need. It certainly seems reverse-engineered at times, like the necessity for the anger gives birth to the reasons for it. That’s why the reasons rarely withstand much objective examination.

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  20. Richard Wheeler says: 20

    @TrishaMarie: “Careful around the religiously fervent” Good idea!
    Redteam We should respect the rights of all.

    ReplyReply
  21. TrishaMarie
    yes comment disappear but not often, it happened to me just last week and it’s frustrating,
    I had just finished it and ready to post comment,
    it happen to other also, I, notice but very seldom.
    bye

    ReplyReply
  22. Redteam says: 22

    @TrishaMarie: Trisha, I asked RW that question after he said:

    We have noticed the pushback against the LBGT community by Evangelicals and the Repub. base.

    I agree with your answer. But it seems as if RW were saying that he didn’t agree that the Evan’s and Repub. base should have the ‘right’ to push back against the LBGT agenda, but that they have the right to ‘push’ it. Either both groups should have the right to their viewpoint, or neither group should.

    ReplyReply
  23. Redteam says: 23

    @Richard Wheeler:

    Redteam We should respect the rights of all.

    Then why did you say:” We have noticed the pushback against the LBGT community by Evangelicals and the Repub. base.” Then you agree that the Evan’s and Repub.’s should have the right to that pushback without interference?

    ReplyReply
  24. Richard Wheeler says: 24

    @Redteam: I didn’t suggest Evangelicals didn’t have a right to scream obscenities at Gay Rights marchers. They do and they did.
    I asked her, as a Lesbian, what were her thoughts. She said “I’m careful around the religiously fervent.”

    ReplyReply
  25. Redteam says: 25

    @Richard Wheeler: 10-4 RW, guess I was reading more into it than was there. All Americans have the right to protest or lobby peacefully. That’s what your service was all about. Glad to know you support that concept.

    ReplyReply
  26. Kevin Kirkpatrick says: 26

    Yikes crazy week, I’d meant to get back to this far sooner. Richard Wheeler, I was speaking facetiously to make a point: just because there are social consequences to voicing a bigoted point of views does not make those views non-bigoted, does not make the hold of those views into a non-bigot, and does not elevate the social status of that bigot to some kind of “brave hero”.

    I will wrap up that point by asking Wordsmith two questions:
    1) Was Richard Wheeler’s response to the opinion expressed in my comment appropriate?
    2) Was it in keeping with your admonition:

    We all have our personal beliefs. They might be right ones or wrong ones; but we should be able to have respectful debates and differences of opinions.

    With respect to the WWE example; yes a wrestler has every right to speak out against the legal recognition of gay marriages. However, he is doing so in a society that is increasingly seeing that prohibition as a bigotry-based infringement on the freedom of gay men and women to the same Pursuit of Happiness enjoyed by straight men and women. And since the WWE is paying for his platform to voice these opinions, people in society who dislike the message absolutely have the right to no longer supporting the WWE (not watching its programs, buying tickets to its venues, nor purchasing products of companies that support the WWE). Businesses with equal-opportunity policies have every right no no longer support the WWE. The WWE has the right to find such statements at odds with its policies and branding (and the interests in its stakeholders making profits from ticket sales and ad revenue). And the WWE absolutely has the freedom of association which allows it to terminate the employment of any employee who is doing more harm than good for the organization.

    As a result of all of that, who’s rights are infringed upon if a WWE wrestler makes blatantly homophobic or racist statements and is subsequently fired?

    ReplyReply
  27. Kevin Kirkpatrick says: 27

    Howdy Skookum,

    I’m having trouble reconciling this sentiment with an earlier article of yours.

    People are just people, some are mean and cruel, others are kind and generous. So what, they can walk on either side of the fence and be good or evil.
    Why should I care if a diver or runner is a homosexual or what his opinions are on anything? If I watch an athlete, it is because he can do one particular thing well. If he is an outstanding citizen for some other reason, good for him, but that is the end of it all for me. Fools and morons want to know what kind of car he drives, if he wears boxers, or if he has groupies or groupers; again, I don’t care.

    Follwing this sentiment through, I ask: why should you care if a soldier is a homosexual or what his opinions are on anything? So long as he does not transgress military ethics or codes of conduct, and is willingly risking his life to fight for his country, it would seem only “fools and morons” would get caught up on his preference of gender of his romantic pairings.

    And yet in your article here, you seem to fully stand by the notion that professional ethical men and women in our military WILL be so “foolish and moronic” as to be caught up on such utterly inconsequential details.
    SO, a couple of questions: do you still stand by the sentiments of that article (and if so, how do you reconcile with your comment here)? And also – do you feel that with the repeal of DADT now a year in the making, that your predictions of unit in-cohesion has come to pass (and can you site evidence of such)? It’s my impression that the soldiers of our armed forces have proved to be far more professional (and far less caught up on petty details) than you felt they would:

    Are the needs of gays, lesbians, and transgendered people worth this risk, are we willing to gamble the fighting effectiveness of our military in order to placate a small percentage of our population who have non-traditional personalities and the Liberal agenda

    ReplyReply

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