Hugging A Monster: Why Our Talk About “Standing for what’s right” Means Nothing If Canadian Olympians Glorify A Man Who Is Objectively Wrong.
“A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both.”- Dwight D. Eisenhower
When I was in high school, I was friends with this guy who was quite obviously a gay man. Though I don’t feel I was one of his tormentors, I was certainly present when some of that torment took place.
We called him “Princess“.
We made him feel, I’m sure, marginalized and unwelcome.
I was never the “ringleader” of these attacks. I was usually not even involved.
You see, I think that might be the problem. I wasn’t involved. I never stood up for him. I never told those people to stop. I never made an effort to show him that I cared enough to be his ally. In many cases, I didn’t just not do anything– I actively participated in perpetuating the culture that glorified his abusers. His tormentors were my friends, or they were people in groups that everyone looked up to- including me.
I chose not to be the person I should have been. I made choices that helped to hurt a human being.
So it is with that said that I’m reprinting, with permission, this article on the Twitter photo controversy started by the Canadian Olympic team. It reminds me that people who say that they are “for” equality can be actively working to undermine it. It reminds me that sometimes life isn’t all that different from High School, no matter how much we like to think otherwise. I’m reprinting it because it reminds me of what a horrible person I was when I thought I had principles but I couldn’t live up to them.
What kind of friends don’t actively try to make their friends lives better?
What kind of country are we if we tell people we stand beside them and then we glorify the people who hurt them?
I’m also reprinting this article because the author, Jeremy Forshew, is that friend I was talking about.
I failed him, and when our athletes- who are supposed to be uniting our whole country under one flag- choose to glorify a dictator bent on ruining the lives of and being complicit in the murder of human beings, they have failed us. They have failed to represent the principles I stand for- the principles I believe my country stands for. They have failed to live up to the standard I expect of my country and its representatives.
What good is representing Canadians if you refuse to stand up for the rights that define us as Canadians? When you hug a dictator, you tell his victims that they are not important enough to make you live your principles.
I regret the person I was when I refused to be a real friend to someone who needed one. I hope that one day these athletes can come to realize the damage they do when they embrace the people who hurt others.
Posted in: Commentary, on Feb 15, 2014 by Jeremy Foreshew
It’s time that I discuss my position on the Olympics.
Until yesterday, I loathed the fact that the IOC chose a morally and fiscally corrupt Russia to host their games but like many others, I empathized with our Canadian team. A group of dedicated athletes who poured hours of blood sweat and tears into the pursuit of their dream – Olympic gold.
So while I looked down on corporate sponsors and the Canadian Olympic Committee for maintaining silence about LGBTQ persecution (let’s call it what it is), I still endeared myself to the success of the individual. I didn’t watch the games as my personal stand against the corporate compliance toward unjust laws that perpetrate hate, violence and murder toward our LGBTQ family abroad BUT I did share in delight (quite literally on my social media) the personal success stories I saw – Canadian generosity, team spirit, brotherhood, and all the medals!
And then this:
[Shout out to CBC Manitoba’s social media intern – a memorable moment indeed!]
That is not the dream that I intended to support. Vladimir Putin is in full midst of a campaign to remove all living rights for the LGBTQ community in Russia. He’s so brash that his government passed a bill that prevents willing, loving, responsible queer parents adopt Russian orphans… DURING THE OLYMPICS.
So I’m sorry Canadian Olympic Team – I can’t support your dream of having Vladimir Putin be your valentine when gays, lesbians and transgender human beings fight for their very right to exist.
Suddenly, I don’t care about your athletic trinkets anymore.
Jeremy Foreshew is a lifestyle blogger, entrepreneur and fitness professional. He’s also the managing director of GET Out! Canada. Be mesmerized by his internal dialogue as it spills on to his twitter feed at @jeremyforeshew.