Billie Jean King: Athletes Should Not Protest Against Anti-LGBT Laws at Sochi Winter Games

Will Kohler

Will Kohler is a noted LGBT historian, writer, blogger and owner of Back2Stonewall.com. A longtime gay activist, Will fought on the front lines of the AIDS epidemic with ACT-UP and continues fighting today for LGBT acceptance and full equality. Will’s work has been referenced in notable media venues as MSNBC and BBC News, The Washington Post, The Advocate, The Daily Beast, Hollywood Reporter, Raw Story, and The Huffington Post

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13 Responses

  1. Berl Jay Hubbell says:

    I agree with Billie Jean King. I am sick of those who are trying to politicize the Olympics. From ancient times it has been an occasion where nations and tribes lay down their weapons and focus on individual prowess and transcend national, social, and cultural chauvinism.

    The better statement is to applaud our LGBT athletes and wish them all the best not matter what their nation of origin. Jessie Owens record at the Berlin Olympics was a more effective statement than any boycott that might have been effected because of racist and Fascist ascendency in Germany.

    • Haludek says:

      Except that Jessie Owens manifested the cause during the Olympics – he was black and everybody saw and knew it. He spat in Hitler’s face with the pure fact he took part in the olympics. The athletes in olympics don’t have it written on their faces, or in any part of their appearance that they are gay or pro gay. They would’ve if they put on some symbols or showed some signs of solidarity (and I’m sure the Russian media won’t inform the Russian society about sexual orientation of any of the LGBTQ athletes). So by not protesting they’re doing something which would’ve been comparable to Jessie Owens changing his skin colour to white, if that was possible.
      Those who will go to Sochi and submit themselves to the censorship and keep their mouths shut about human rights of LGBTQ people, and who will accept medals will be nothing but Putin’s whores and greedy opportunist scum.

      Human rights are not politics, it’s a basic human and humanist value and a country who doesn’t respect them can’t be compared to the ancient Olympics’ host, since it doesn’t lay down its weapons when it comes to some of the games’ participants.

    • If an openly gay athlete wins a medal, and anyone under 18 years of age notices this, then the new law requires that the Russian police arrest that athlete on the victory dais, remove them to the court where they will be charged with Homosexual Propaganda to Minors, heavily fined, imprisoned for up to 15 days and the expelled from Russia in disgrace, never to return.

      It is now illegal for openly gay people to be good citizens in Russia, in case all children turn into homosexuals as a result. It is however perfectly legal to evict someone from their living accommodation because they are gay, it is lawful to sack them from their job, and it is lawful to call for all homosexuals to be burned alive in ovens, to the loud cheering of Russian audiences. In Russia, you can beat up a homosexual in the street, and the police will watch you until you are finished, and then they will let you walk, whilst they arrest the homosexual victim for “homosexual propaganda”, “extremism” and “hooliganism”. If the homosexual dies, nothing bad will happen to you. You can lawfully fire guns into gay clubs, steal and destroy their property as happened recently in Moscow. you will suffer no consequences. You can lawfully torture gay teenagers until they deny they are gay. You can upload videos of these acts on to social media where they are celebrated across Russia, and the public will attack the victims, not the perpetrators.

      Russians have been lied to by their government so they now honestly believe:
      1. Homosexuals are made and not born
      2. Homosexuals are predators who are after their children
      3. Homosexuals are out to make the whole straight world into homosexuals
      4. Homosexual orientation is directly linked to immorality
      5. Homosexuality is spread via “propaganda”
      6. Homosexuality is a Western phenomenon, and is “anti-Russian”
      7. Homosexuals can be turned into heterosexuals by persecuting us
      8. By converting gays ‘back’ into straights, the declining Russian birth rate will be reversed.

      All of these statements are 100% wrong. These are not facts, they are misperceptions, and they are being used as excuses for abuse.

      • Karen says:

        Brilliantly written Derek…well done.

        • If such act of political retaliation toward such a theoretical LGBT Russian youth should happen that would expose the dark underbelly of Russian cultural values to the whole world. That certainly would be more effective than a boycott of the Olympics. I reiterate that I think a boycott of the Olympics is not only inappropriate, it is just plain stupid.

          Putin has released a variety of civil disobedience protestors (both environmental and political) in the lead-up to the Sochi Winter Olympics to polish Russia’s image so I seriously doubt he would allow such a ridiculous stunt even if he is personally anti-gay and even if his key nationalist backers, the Russian social and religious conservatives, would applaud.

          Russia can not arrest foreign Olympic competitors, so this is just a false and irrelevant hypothetical. They all have a kind of diplomatic immunity. By the same token, no competitor or nation one may use their position to propagandize for any cause. The door swings both ways folks.

          So, what are you all doing about the Indiana law that makes it a felony for same-sex couples to even apply for a marriage license? You are living in a glass house and catapulting boulders.

      • Golly gee whiz, what idealistic LGBT bubble are you living in? You could just as easily use that list to describe much of Bible-Belt America, and especially Utah. Most of America still does not have equal protection of the law with regard to marriages. Why aren’t you calling for boycotting every company and every American state with anti-gay laws on the books?

        The hysteria of the slippery-slide is a false equivalency and is absurd. Normally, I could care less about any kind of sports but just because some have become such spoil-sports, I plan to watch the Sochi Winter Olympics whereas I would not have before this. I hope to see some LGBT athletes triumph and to cheer and thus debunk all of this illogical nonsense that is posturing as political passion.

    • peter says:

      Sticking your head in the sand is the same thing that happened during Nazi Germany in 1936 !! Do you not believe that this will be just the beginning — remember Hitler and the extermination Camps… (GENERAL ELECTRIC) invented them.. Do you not realize that this is prelude to another Genocide under PUTIN — it didn’t start until the Olympics were over…

  2. Paulo Cardoso says:

    “Jessie Owens record at the Berlin Olympics was a more effective statement than any boycott that might have been effected because of racist and Fascist ascendency in Germany.”

    Yeah. But one could SEE that Jessie Owens was black. And he was allowed to participate as a black man. So when people saw that a black man could be such a champion, it affected them.
    But being gay is not as visible as being black. And in Russia at the moment, saying it laud is illegal, “gay propaganda”. So, unless athletes say they are gay, even if gay athletes win medals it will not have the same effect on people. Because they wont know!
    It’s not about “politicizing” the games! It’s about human rights! The olympics are, should be, a celebration of humanity. The proof that we are ALL human and worth the same.

  3. Ridiculous thing for her to say. Rule 6 directly conflicts with Rule 50.

  4. peter says:

    “If the World ignores this problem” — are we going to repeat “1936 Nazi Germany again” — it led to WW2 and the extermination of Jews and other ethnic groups that HITLER wanted gone.. Is this what PUTIN wants and condones… I for one won’t support any Company/Organization/Sponsor of the “HATE GAMES” in “SOCHI — PERIOD — BOYCOTTING the Networks CBC (Canada) NBC (United States) — are You??? and COCA COLA, MCDONALDS etc…

  1. January 15, 2014

    […] Since the announcement Billie Jean King has stated that any athletes attending the games should not openly protest the Russ… […]

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