Straight Olympian Nick Symmonds' Message Of 'Support' Misses The Mark
Two-time Olympian and purported LGBT ally Nick Symmonds posted a blog in "support" of the LGBT community and in opposition to Russia's anti-gay laws, but we think he misses the mark in a big way.
Give it a read and let us know what you think.
Symmonds writes on Runner's World:
As soon as I announced on Twitter (@nicksymmonds) that I was going to be blogging for Runner's World during the 2013 World Championships in Moscow, Russia, I received many responses from my loyal followers. They were generally positive, but several had a tone that really stood out. Several people who know me to be a relatively vocal athlete when it comes to political issues were excited to hear me discuss what it's like to compete in a country with questionable human rights laws. Given that I have always been adamant in my support of gay rights at home in the United States, I assumed these followers were referring to Russia's "anti-gay propaganda" legislation.
These laws, which do not expressly prohibit being homosexual, criminalize public discussion of homosexuality, especially with foreigners. As an American, I believe in freedom of speech and equality for all, and therefore disagree with the laws that Russia has put in place. Given that I am currently residing in London, I will say, once again, that our LGBT neighbors deserve all the same rights as the rest of us. However, as an American who is about to reside in Moscow for 12 days, this will be the last time I will mention this subject.
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.
This idea does go one step deeper, though. I am going to Russia to represent my country on the track. This civilized battlefield is where the best athletes in the world come together to metaphorically destroy each other. In the battle of the men's 800 meters, there are no weapons, no generals, no politicians involved, and actually very little contact at all. What you will find are 50 men who all want to become the next world champion, and who will figuratively and literally bleed to do so.
I will say now what I said before the 2008 Olympic
If I am placed in a race with a Russian athlete, I will shake his hand, thank him for his country's generous hospitality, and then, after kicking his ass in the race, silently dedicate the win to my gay and lesbian friends back home. Upon my return, I will then
A huge thank you to all who follow my
"...neither will I lecture the Russian government on how to govern their people."
"...silently dedicate the win to my gay and lesbian friends back home."
Nick, your desire to be polite and not "lecture" isn't helpful.
Your "silent dedication" of your win to gays & lesbians isn't helpful.
Your VOICE could be helpful.
As an athlete you're under no obligation to speak out in support of the LGBT community in Russia or anywhere else for that matter, but don't dress up your silence as some statement of conviction or something we should be grateful for.
When you compete in Russia your "silence" will be deafening. (And we're hearing the bullsh*t that you're spewing from this blog post loud and clear.)
Image Source (Credit: NoH8, Adam Bouska)