September 10, 2013

Simple is better

What do I think the athletes should do at Sochi? One simple thing: mention your significant other when you're being interviewed. This applies to both gay and straight athletes. Just be who you are.

If everyone involved reveals his or her sexual orientation, no one can be singled out for violating the rules. Hug your honey while the cameras are rolling. Speak of the support your girlfriend provides. Mention you're about to marry the greatest guy in the world.

In my years as a human rights worker, I learned the value of a good comparison. Ideally, you want the other group, in this case the straight people, to be doing exactly what you're doing. This makes it easy to note disparities in responses, should they occur. Under this plan, each athlete at Sochi will be doing the same thing: acting naturally and thereby revealing his or her sexual orientation.

The lack of different behavior patterns among straight and gay athletes will create a powerful learning experience for the TV audience and spectators. And if there are repercussions for the gay athletes, I suspect most viewers will say, "But they all did the same thing". Indeed, they did. That's the point.

Any other suggestions out there?

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