(I understand this deviates a bit from my normal formula of self depreciating wit, I promise to bring it back tomorrow.)
Dear IOC, Major Television Networks & Corporate Sponsors,
Let me introduce myself. I am a 30 something single mom who lives in works in Canada. I’m not a celebrity, of anyone important by any stretch of the imagination. I have never won an Oscar or an Emmy & my only medal is a silver medal when my eighth grade class represented Thun, Switzerland in the bid for a pretend Winter Olympic Games.
I am, however, a huge supporter of the Olympic Games. Every four years, a school project was dedicated to an Olympic sport. I waited with baited breath & stayed up all night to see if you would let Ross Rebagliatti keep his gold medal. I stayed up all night to watch the Beijing Olympics live. I forced my then boyfriend to sit through events we had never heard of (Keirin? What?) & even saluted when the US teams won medals (even though I’m a proud Canadian). I have six pairs of those red mitts, stuffed mascots & books everywhere. I cry when Canadian athletes stand on the podium & stand for my anthem with pride. I love the Olympic Spirit…
…but I will not watch one moment of the Sochi games.
There are things in life that I love more than the Olympic spirit & those are my daughters, my family & human rights. I cannot in good faith celebrate a host nation that punishes people for loving whom they choose or people who support them.
I’ve read about the state-sanctioned corrective rape, the sickeningly high suicide rates & Vladmir Putin’s claims he’s defending “traditional family.” Fifty years ago, my family was not traditional. A single mother, that wasn’t a widow, working full time while building a career was unheard of! Mariah Carey & Nick Cannon would have been stoned in the street for their interracial marriage & children. Traditions change, families are redefined every day. Same sex families are every bit the new normal. I can’t imagine how anyone could look at photos of Neil Patrick Harris & David Burtka with their children & not see a beautiful & loving family. Traditional is so subjective. BDSM isn’t traditional, is that banned? No Fifty Shades of Gray? Or is that okay because it’s heterosexual relations? But I digress.
As much as I love the Olympic spirit, I love people more. I love my LGBT family members & friends who would be forced to live a horrible life if they were in Russia. I love my daughters, whom I need to teach right from wrong & the Russian law is WRONG. I cannot support the spirit of the games when your host nation breaks human spirit every day. So , you can keep your games; I’ll watch reruns of Glee. I won’t be enjoying any sponsors during the games either. Sorry.
I know I’m a nobody. I’m not Lady Gaga or Stephen Fry or George Takei. I’m just one woman & I won’t affect your ratings or your games. But I’ve always taught my girls that one person has a voice & I am using mine to tell you that what you are doing is wrong. I’m also using it to implore all athletes to use their time to perform well & if they support LGBT families, use this chance to support them. Use the spirit of the games to support the human spirit, the greatest thing we as people have.