At the end of the summer of 2012, a story of mine was included in EM Lynley’s Olympic-themed anthology Going for Gold. The collection of eight stories about gay Olympians (and their boyfriends, natch) was something of a Reader Favorite, and has seen renewed interest during the ramp-up to the Games of the Twenty-Second Winter Olympiad in Sochi, which arguably has a higher profile in the Queer community than Games past, due to the visibility and virulence of recent anti-gay laws passed in their host country. Hell, I’m paying attention, and Michael Phelps doesn’t even ice skate. Specifically, Russia has outlawed “gay propaganda,” which includes not only art and literature but any kind of public or private speech that seeks to legitimize gay people or equalize their families with any that hew to the more traditional model, in order to Protect the Children from being exposed to these notions.
And frankly, I kind of dig being a part of a project that links Gay and Olympics quite so explicitly at this moment in time. The International Olympic Committee is not exactly famous for its explicit support of LGBTQ equality. Yes, we’ve had the Laff-A-Lympics, and the Pig Olympics, and 2014 has already crowned the winner of the Selfie Olympics, but if you travel to Cleveland this summer, you will be invited to enjoy the ninth quadrennial Gay Games, so called because weeks before the First-Ever in 1982, the IOC (and the USOC) sued to block the use of the word “Olympics” in conjunction with this particular sporting event. More recently, a member of the IOC from Italy called the United States’ inclusion of three gay athletes in its official delegation to Sochi “absurd.” From where I’m sitting, it takes a certain amount of guts to roll up in a country that has recently chosen not only to pass, but in some cases to harshly enforce, laws against being visibly gay — you know, lest it harm The Children to behold you — and then go on and be gay on what will, for two weeks, be the most visible stage in the world, but I don’t speak it — maybe that’s what “absurd” means in Italian. Continue reading