The 519 Church Community Centre has submitted a report to the city today proposing the development of a new LGBTQ-focused sports and recreation centre. If approved, negotiations will begin with Infrastructure Ontario to build the centre on the Wheel and Foundry Complex, located near Underpass Park….
Go Toronto! If this proposal is approved it will apparently be the first LGBTQ-focused sport and rec centre in the world.
People can now be arrested and fined for wearing the star of David, a kippah, hijab, or even speaking about Judaism or Islam in a positive way. Essentially anywhere there could be minors anything seen as Jewish or Islamic has been banned. The ban also extends to corporations and journalists, who face harsher fines and, in the case of corporations, could be shut down for 90 days.
The government has also encouraged people to report to police on neighbours they think may be promoting Judaism or Islam to minors. Police recently raided the home of a prominent Jewish activist in Moscow after a member of the state Duma (Russian Parliament) reported on him to police. See the video below.
None of the Olympic sponsors have backed out either. Some like Coca-cola and McDonald’s have issued statements that they do not support the discrimination of Jewish and Muslim people and that “We are engaging with the International Olympic Committee on this important matter. We believe a more positive impact can be made through continued involvement, rather than by sitting on the sidelines”.
If you think that these laws are abhorrent and that the reaction from the IOC, IOC sponsors, and international community has been pathetic then you should speak up and ensure that they know just how wrong it is. It should make no difference that the laws target the LGBT (or gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender) people instead of religious minorities.
For some reason people seem to think that this makes these laws more acceptable. If it would be sick and disgusting for Russia to do this to Jews, Muslims, or to people of a specific race, if the international reaction to those laws would be equally disgusting then it should make no difference that the people being targeted are LGBT.
Stand up for what’s right. Let your politicians, the IOC, FIFA, and the sponsors of the Sochi games know how despicable these laws and their reaction to them have been.
I don’t think that the Olympians should boycott. I think the athletes from various countries should go and play their hearts out while wearing screaming rainbows and espousing their love of LGBT people, or of their same-sex partners. However I will be damned if any corporation will benefit economically from me watching the Olympics. Despite what Mr. Burke says in this well worded article money does talk. A boycott of watching the games can ensure that Russia pays the economic price hatred comes with and that sponsors understand that prejudice and the systemic discrimination of an entire people will not be tolerated. Those organizations in Russia, like Stolichnaya Vodka, feeling the pinch can take their lobbying back to the Kremlin. While not sending athletes may not effect much changes the complaints of a multi-million dollar companies might.
Coming ahead of Russia’s gig hosting the Winter Olympics, this new law could affect who chooses to visit for the games.
My hope is that people will boycott the games and that the Athlete’s who attend will protest this abhorrent law by wearing rainbow flags be it a stick on tattoo, sticker, or pin when competing, doing an interview, or accepting a medal.