Must read: Nancy Goldstein on gay rights and the Winter Games

Friend of the blog Nancy Goldstein is at The Prospect today, making a very clear case for continued protests and boycotts of Russian products. Goldstein interviewed a number of Russian LGBT right activists and argues that we can’t afford to go to the Games and repeat the same mistakes that were made in 1936 in Berlin:

Think long and hard before you evoke the spectacle of Jesse Owens at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin—thus far the model for the West’s approach to Putin—or argue that winning LGBT athletes will “show ‘em” in Sochi. In 1935—as in 2013—the International Olympics Committee was keen to pretend that sporting events could wash a clearly politicized setting of its politics, or wipe a dirty city clean. IOC chair Count Henri Baillet-Latour was content with Chancellor Adolf Hitler’s promise that anti-Semitic placards would be taken down during the Olympic games the next year.

In this Faustian bargain, Hitler hid the most obvious signs of what would later become his Final Solution. Jesse Owens, the allegedly “inferior” Negro, kicked Aryan butt on the track and came home with four gold medals (to a country where FDR refused to host him at the White House for fear of losing the Southern vote in the upcoming election). And then, once the international community had left, Hitler and his willing minions invaded neighboring countries and incinerated every fucking Jew, queer, or dissenter they could get their hands on.

If President Obama has “no patience for countries that try to treat gays or lesbians or transgender persons in ways that intimidate them or are harmful to them,” Davydov suggests he demonstrate that by instructing Secretary of State John Kerry to put Elena Mizulina and Vitaly Milonov—the officials most responsible for Russia’s new laws—on the visa ban. The former is the Duma deputy responsible for the federal law banning gay “propaganda” to minors and for the law banning foreign adoptions of Russian orphans by gays and lesbians; the latter is the St. Petersburg Legislative Assembly deputy responsible for the law banning gay “propaganda” to minors in St. Petersburg. (Here’s a petition that asks Obama to do precisely that.)

You can, and should, read the whole thing here.

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Chloe Angyal is a journalist and scholar of popular culture from Sydney, Australia. She joined the Feministing team in 2009. Her writing about politics and popular culture has been published in The Atlantic, The Guardian, New York magazine, Reuters, The LA Times and many other outlets in the US, Australia, UK, and France. She makes regular appearances on radio and television in the US and Australia. She has an AB in Sociology from Princeton University and a PhD in Arts and Media from the University of New South Wales. Her academic work focuses on Hollywood romantic comedies; her doctoral thesis was about how the genre depicts gender, sex, and power, and grew out of a series she wrote for Feministing, the Feministing Rom Com Review. Chloe is a Senior Facilitator at The OpEd Project and a Senior Advisor to The Harry Potter Alliance. You can read more of her writing at chloesangyal.com

Chloe Angyal is a journalist and scholar of popular culture from Sydney, Australia.

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