Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Human Rights vs National Identity

The CBC recently asked if the Sochi Olympics could be the gayest yet. So wonderfully ironic considering Russia’s anti-gay laws and Mr. Putin’s derogatory comments. It is also something to be celebrated. Yet, when the Toronto mayor can still say that the Olympics are about being patriotic to your country, [that they are] not about someone's sexual preference" I get sideswiped. What I really hear him saying is that the Olympics should celebrate nationality over human rights. The sad part is that I know of people who agree with him. I cannot even begin to relate. I would much rather be a champion of human dignity, equal rights and opportunity than be identified as a Canadian (or any other nationality).

I do not feel that my sexual orientation—straight, lesbian or bi—changes who I am. I will still love chocolate chip cookies regardless of whom I wish to have sex. Funny, the same goes with nationality. I could emigrate to Russia, change citizenship and not only still like chocolate chip cookies but still want to sleep with whatever gender I desire.

When can we stop this senseless promotion of national identity over human rights? The Sochi mayor proudly states there are no gays in Sochi. Is that supposed to make me admire his city, want to live there; feel safe there?

When I see a beautifully executed ski jump; a graceful skate performance or the determination of those who have fallen to continue on, I do not marvel at that person’s nationality. I look instead at the individual’s courage, perseverance and tremendous spirit.

I do not give a hoot whether Canada wins twenty medals or none at all. What I do care about is that the athletes, spectators, officials and everyone else for that matter is treated with the respect due all human beings.

And if that means proudly flying the Rainbow flag above Canada’s … so be it.

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