By Jacob Ladue
Frozen, Walt Disney Animation Studios – PG
Disney just released their latest animated movie, Frozen, from the same creators as Tangled and despite lackluster marketing that might suggest differently, this movie is not like any of their others. Frozen was released on November 27th and it’s already grossed over 100 million dollars in the United States alone and there is a reason why: this movie has heart and messages (yes, multiple) that actually mean something.
Frozen is loosely based off Hans Christian Andersen’s classic The Snow Queen and features two strong young princesses, one named Elsa (Idina Menzel) with a power to create snow and ice and the other, Anna (Kristen Bell), her younger sister with a hopeful and playful personality. One thing that immediately stands out is that Elsa is born with a power rather than being cursed by a cruel or evil witch. But after an accident involving her ability, Elsa and Anna’s parents ignorantly try to protect their family by shutting away from everyone in the kingdom and by deciding to never speak of her power again. Any gay person in the audience can relate and see the parallels between her ability and homosexuality. It was something she was born with, but people didn’t understand it, they even feared it, so they tried to keep it hidden.
As a young gay man, I use to (and still do) loathe watching movies because I knew there would eventually be a worn out heterosexual love story that was only there because two people of the opposite sex were single. I also (being the little romantic I am) scoffed at how two characters could fall in love so easily, seemingly in a day. Frozen hits this nail on the head brilliantly by having young Anna, so desperately seeking love after the accident and isolation thereafter, meet a young prince, Hans (Santino Fontana), and decides to marry him that very same day. Elsa, recently coronated as Queen, denies her approval of this hasty decision and this is when the story starts to take off. In the effort to create her own life and happiness, Anna upsets her sister, so much so that Elsa accidentally reveals the power she kept hidden for so long. Startled, the townspeople throw slurs and shocked remarks and Elsa flees the kingdom unknowingly throwing the world into an endless winter.
One amazing thing about this movie is that, there are no evil characters; only human ones (good and bad) and the subsequent fear humans create from the unknown is the true antagonist. Elsa flees to the top of an icy peak and creates a world for herself and in a Broadway style number sings,
“Don’t let them in, don’t let them see
Be the good girl you always have to be
Conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them know
Well now they know…
Let it go, let it go”
Elsa is finally coming to terms with her abilities and tries to accept herself, but shuts herself off from the rest of the world. How many times has a young gay person learned to love him or herself, but the culture around them hasn’t, so they flee to a more accepting land? In an attempt to not spoil the rest of the film, Elsa confronts herself, her abilities and the ones she loves to fully embrace herself as a whole.
Frozen doesn’t only have story lines comparable to homosexual acceptance, but creates refreshingly needed characters without gender stereotypes. In Anna’s attempt to find and bring her sister home, she meets a young ice harvester (rough time for that career) named Kristoff (Jonathan Groff). Not only is Groff the first Disney “prince” voiced by a gay actor, but also his character is unlike any other prince seen before him. He’s awkward and kooky, often has conversations with himself as if he’s his pet reindeer and most importantly doesn’t view women as objects, but as equals, equating Anna’s ability to her personality rather than her gender. (Later in the film he even ASKS PERMISSION to kiss rather than assuming his affections are reciprocated). Kristoff is a “prince” that often needs saving and more often than not he’s saved by Anna.
Disney is slowly transforming into something different than it’s racist and sexist roots, but they aren’t off the hook yet. Even the animators of Frozen have gotten themselves into some hot water, but it is truly refreshing to finally see such positive role models in one of their films. Most of us have fond memories of watching Disney movie’s growing up, so we tend to try to ignore the negative lessons in many of the films, but the world is changing so it’s only right they catch up as well. The biggest morals Frozen is trying to convey is that love of family and communication between loved ones is what is most important in life. Love of a man shouldn’t be (and isn’t) the most important thing to a young woman and opening up about a part of oneself, instead of locking it up within, is what is most healthy. (Not to mention the musical numbers are amazing!) If you’re trying to figure something to do with your family this weekend, go see Frozen, you won’t be disappointed.
P.S. Josh Gad plays a touchingly sweet snowman named Olaf who just wants to find out what summer feels like and I promise he’ll have you in stitches.
By Jacob Ladue
Here are a collection of tweets and twitpics you might have missed through out the last week from your favorite celebrity LGBT parents, single parents, and allies. Among them: Neil Patrick Harris showed us his kids are still adorable, Mayim Bialik shared her family Thanksgiving recipes, and Eric Stonestreet prayed for the end of his ride on It’s a Small World at Disneyland.
Harper and Gideon at the premiere of Frozen. Wardrobe provided by Little marcjacobs, eyewear provided… http://t.co/whvtFXswoh
— Neil Patrick Harris (@ActuallyNPH) November 21, 2013
They may be seeing Frozen, but my heart just melted.
Is iPhone auto correct getting more aggressive? Rafts? Rafts. That's what iPhone constantly wants me to type. Rafts.
— Jesse Tyler Ferguson (@jessetyler) November 15, 2013
A little too iRobot for my taste.
— Alec Mapa (@AlecMapa) November 21, 2013
Alec Mapa thought of “stealing” a cute kid from an adoption event he attended. Mapa and his partner have an adopted son of their own.
Want to see my family's thanksgiving menu? Here it is, courtesy of my mom and her Chanukah thanksgiving… http://t.co/L6l7fkg8yS
— Mayim Bialik (@missmayim) November 14, 2013
Looks like Mayim Bialik’s family makes a yummy meal! Her family’s Thanksgiving food ideas can be found here on kveller.com.
A paparazzi pix I photoshopped myself – notice missing arm flab – trimmer tummy pic.twitter.com/xVgDXBRDOY
— Rosie (@Rosie) November 20, 2013
Rosie missed an opportunity to photoshop her baby with a jetpack, in my opinion.
Excited to make fun plans for this weekend. Last weekend, I spent 8 hours organizing my spice rack. Where does the thyme go?
— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) November 22, 2013
Oh silly Ellen, punny as always!
— Jillian Michaels (@JillianMichaels) November 14, 2013
I don’t know what type of chihuahua you have Jillian, but you might want to bring it to the vet!
One shouldn’t laugh, but… You know you’re in trouble when your mother uses all three of your names … http://t.co/WflHl66qxl
— Stephen Fry (@stephenfry) November 22, 2013
Stephen Fry reminded a few kids to watch out for the threatening usage of their full names after they decided to pull a prank on their parents.
For the love of all things holy. END http://t.co/yTKqO1GvDZ
— Eric Stonestreet (@ericstonestreet) November 20, 2013
Eric Stonestreet went to Disneyland and prayed for the end of the It’s a Small World ride. (Click on the above link to view a funny video from his ride).
Happiness is…your first trip to Costco! pic.twitter.com/zBfBgI8W9n
— Tuc Watkins (@tucwatkins) November 14, 2013
Tuc Watkins’ kids had a better time riding around in a shopping cart at Costco, the free samples probably helped!
What were your favorite tweets from the week? Tweet @thenextfamily or comment below to let us know the good ones we missed!
By Jacob Ladue
Here are a collection of tweets and twitpics you might have missed through out the last couple weeks from your favorite celebrity LGBT and single parents. Among them: Alec Mapa fell asleep during Thor, Jillian Michaels’ kid really had to go to the bathroom, and Ricky Martin promoted his new children’s book!
Took my kid and his friend to see the new "Thor" movie. I fell asleep after Hemsworth took his shirt off, but the kids loved it.
— Alec Mapa (@AlecMapa) November 12, 2013
Odd, that’s the part when I started paying more attention…
— Neil Patrick Harris (@ActuallyNPH) November 11, 2013
David Burtka ate a taco rather suggestively…
Rich soccer parents hogging 2 soccer fields and refusing to move: I am upset with your arrogance. There's room for everyone if u make it.
— Mayim Bialik (@missmayim) November 3, 2013
Single mom Mayim Bialik let her soccer mom out when other parents hogged the field. Watch out!
Good grief, I don't give my kids that many timeouts in 15 mins. @Saints
— Official Wanda Sykes (@iamwandasykes) November 3, 2013
Maybe the ref needs a timeout?
— Jenna Wolfe (@JennaWolfe) November 10, 2013
Today’s Jenna Wolfe went hiking with her partner Stephanie Gosk and their little girl.
My three year old just told me "I need to go poo poo for real". As if there was any other way.
— Jillian Michaels (@JillianMichaels) November 8, 2013
When the reality sets in… you gotta go, gotta go, gotta go right now!
Elton will be appearing on a special 'Lady Gaga and The Muppets' Holiday Spectacular' TV show on November 28 on… http://t.co/kT6mdifjlq
— Elton John (@eltonjohndotcom) October 21, 2013
Sir Elton John will be teaming up with Lady Gaga for a Muppets Holiday Special.
— Santiago the Dreamer (@DreamSantiago) November 12, 2013
Ricky Martin promoted the launch of his first Children’s book named Santiago the Dreamer in Land Among the Stars, a story about a little boy and his dream to preform on stage. Available today!
— Jared Polis (@jaredpolis) November 4, 2013
Jared Polis joked about newly out Congressman Mike Michaud. Welcome Congressman!
What were your favorite tweets from the week? Tweet @thenextfamily or comment below to let us know the good ones we missed!
Illinois is set to become the 15th state in the nation to provide same-sex couples the freedom to marry.
On Tuesday, the Illinois House of Representatives voted 61-54 to approve the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act, affirming the freedom to marry for all same-sex couples in the state. The bill passed the state Senate in February and will soon go to Governor Pat Quinn, who has expressed strong support for marriage and will sign it into law.
“It’s a fabulous day for Illinois! The Illinois House of Representatives finally made legal what the majority of Illinoisans have long understood–that love is love and all families deserve to be treated as equal under the law,” said Jim Bennett, Midwest Regional Director of Lambda Legal. “Same-sex couples and their children can celebrate a new era of equality in the Land of Lincoln. With the 5th most populous state in the union embracing the freedom to marry, we have moved much closer to bringing equality to all Americans. This victory will be a catalyst in our ongoing efforts to achieve full equality across all fifty states.”
“This was an enormous group effort and along with the leadership from the House, Senate and Governor’s office we’d like to thank our colleagues at the ACLU of Illinois, Equality Illinois, all of the members of the Illinois Unites for Marriage campaign and advocates from across the state who called, wrote letters and made visits to their elected officials,” added Bennett.
“Today’s vote by the Illinois House means the Land of Lincoln will be our nation’s 15th freedom to marry state. This is great news for the thousands of committed same-sex couples in Illinois who will now be able to make the ultimate vow before their friends and family, protected and supported by their marriage,” said Freedom to Marry’s national campaign director, Marc Solomon.
President Barack Obama released a statement following the passage of marriage equality in Illinois. It read:
Tonight, I applaud the men and women of the Illinois General Assembly, a body in which I was proud to serve, for voting to legalize marriage equality in my home state.
As President, I have always believed that gay and lesbian Americans should be treated fairly and equally under the law. Over time, I also came to believe that same-sex couples should be able to get married like anyone else. So tonight, Michelle and I are overjoyed for all the committed couples in Illinois whose love will now be as legal as ours – and for their friends and family who have long wanted nothing more than to see their loved ones treated fairly and equally under the law.
I also commend the members of the General Assembly for approaching this issue in a fair and open way, and for recognizing the importance of our commitment to religious freedom by engaging the religious community in this conversation. Throughout this debate, they’ve made it clear that this is about civil marriages and civil laws, and made sure that churches and other institutions of faith are still free to make their own decisions that conform to their own teachings.
As I said in my Inaugural Address last January, our journey as a nation is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law, for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well. And tonight, I’m so proud that the men and women elected to serve the people of the great state of Illinois have chosen to take us one step further on that journey to perfect our union.
The National Equality Action Team (NEAT), a project chaired by Marriage Equality USA, provided support to Illinois Unites for Marriage. In the spring of 2013, NEAT volunteers in New York City and across the country had 1812 conversations with constituents in Illinois. This fall they had an additional 1900 conversations with Illinois voters which resulted in 700 calls to undecided Illinois representatives.
“I am so proud of the work MEUSA and our partners in the Illinois coalition accomplished! The dedication this summer to redoubling efforts, reevaluating strategy, and expanding our work has paid off for thousands of LGBT families in the Land of Lincoln,” stated MEUSA Executive Director Brian Silva.
Among the active members of the NEAT Illinois campaign were the National Organization for Women (NOW) and the Triangle, North Carolina chapter of the Human Rights Campaign.
NOW Action Vice President Bonnie Grabenhofer reported, “With training and support provided by Marriage Equality USA, NOW members from all over the country were able to have conversations with Illinois voters in the districts of undecided representatives. Those Illinois voters then left messages for their representatives urging them to support the marriage equality bill.”
NEAT held phone banks for Illinois Unites for Marriage in 27 different locations. Physical phone banks for Illinois were held in 3 states and remote phone banking was done from the homes of people in 18 different states. Key leaders in the Triangle (NC) Chapter of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) set up an in-person phone bank in Raleigh with MEUSA’s assistance.
Carson Fernandez, Triangle Chapter of the Human Rights Campaign, added, “Although North Carolina voters approved a constitutional amendment that prohibits our state from recognizing any kind of union other than heterosexual marriage, many of us doubled our efforts to help Illinois win the freedom to marry.”
Brought to you by The Seattle Lesbian
Married Americans spend more than those in any other marital status category, across age groups. Americans who have never married spend significantly less, particularly for those younger than 50, suggesting that if the marriage rate increases, overall spending in the U.S. may increase and benefit the U.S. economy.
Married Americans report a daily spending average of $102, followed by $98 among those who are living in domestic partnerships, $74 by divorced Americans, $67 by those who are single and never married, and $62 by those who are widowed. As shown in the accompanying graph, across all age groups, those who are married spend more than those of other marital statuses.
Gallup asked Americans to report how much money they spent the prior day, excluding payments for normal household bills and major purchases such as homes or cars. The figure gives an estimate of discretionary spending. The current analysis is based on January through September 2013 Gallup Daily tracking interviews with more than 130,000 U.S. adults.
These results suggest that if more Americans are married, and fewer are single/never married, overall spending might increase. Similarly, if more Americans are in domestic partnerships and fewer are single, that too would appear to be related to higher spending.
The Relevance of Income
Married Americans spend more than the average American in part because they have higher-than-average incomes. Single Americans spend less, at least in part because they have lower-than-average incomes. Those in domestic partnerships spend almost as much as those who are married but have lower average incomes, similar to single Americans’ incomes, suggesting that domestic partners in some sense overspend what would be predicted from their incomes alone. This hypothesis is supported by additional research showing that those in domestic partnerships have a relatively high rate of spending when income and other demographic factors are controlled for.
The U.S. marriage rate has declined in recent years, but recent Gallup analysis shows that it is possible that the marriage rate in the United States will go up in the future, based on a pent-up demand for marriage. Based on the spending habits of married Americans compared with their single counterparts who have never married, such a change could be expected to give a boost to the economy, if those marriages come from the ranks of those who are single/never married. Similarly, an increase in the percentage of Americans living in domestic partnerships as opposed to being single would have an apparently positive impact on the economy. If, however, Americans in the future become less likely to jump from single status to marriage and more likely to move into domestic partnerships, the impact on the economy would be less significant.
Brought to you by The Seattle Lesbian
In June, the Supreme Court declared Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional thereby allowing the federal government to recognize same-sex marriages performed in the current states where it is legal. This sea change in the recognition of same-sex marriages has led to significant new changes in public attitudes with strong implications for the American economy and workplaces. In a new Harris Poll released Thursday and commissioned by Out & Equal Workplace Advocates, nearly half (49 percent) of gay and lesbian adults would consider changing jobs if their employer required them to transfer to a state where same-sex marriages were not recognized, compared to just 30 percent last year.
The new survey also reveals that two-thirds (67 percent) of all Americans today, regardless of their feelings of approval or disapproval, believe that marriage equality is “inevitable everywhere in the U.S.”
“With the end of DOMA and our recovering economy, major corporations and employers that operate in states that don’t yet recognize same-sex marriage will find it tougher to recruit and keep the best LGBT talent,” said Selisse Berry, Out & Equal Founding Executive Director. “Same-sex marriage recognition by the federal government is an historic breakthrough. It’s now time to renew our efforts to pass a federal employment nondiscrimination law that is truly inclusive of sexual orientation and gender identity.”
The U.S. Congress is today considering passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) that would provide protections against workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. If this legislation were enacted, the new poll reveals that at least one-third (34 percent) of LGBT adults who are not yet open about their sexual orientation or gender identity at work would become comfortable “coming out” at work. Regrettably, the survey also reveals a need for greater education on the issue since nearly eight of 10 (76 percent) adults wrongly think it is currently illegal, under federal law, for an employer to fire someone because they are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender (LGBT).
The annual 2013 Out & Equal Workplace Survey was conducted online by Harris Interactive in conjunction with Out & Equal Workplace Advocates and Witeck Communications, among 2,577 U.S. adults, of whom 2,150 indicated they are heterosexual and 371 self-identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender (including an over-sample of gay and lesbian adults). Begun in 2002, this survey has become a trusted annual barometer of attitudes surrounding LGBT issues in the workplace and is the longest-running national survey of its kind.
When it comes to career advancement, the new survey reveals a clear majority (60 percent) of gay and lesbian adults also would consider declining a job promotion if it required them to transfer to a state where same-sex marriages were not recognized, compared to only a third (33 percent) when asked last year. Also, eight out of 10 (79 percent) gay and lesbian adults, other factors being equal, would prefer a job with an employer in a state where same-sex marriages are recognized over an employer in a state that does not recognize same-sex marriages, compared to 68 percent in 2012.
Past polls show that non-LGBT allies are dedicated partners in the fight for workplace equality and, according to the new survey, they are growing in number. More than a third (35 percent) of heterosexual adults consider themselves to be an ally of LGBT people, compared to a quarter (27 percent) who declared so two years ago. Also, more than one out of four (28 percent) heterosexual adults say they keep informed about issues of importance to the LGBT community, compared to just a fifth (19 percent) in 2011.
Transgender Americans remain especially at risk for workplace discrimination, yet increased visibility can lead to more respect and acceptance. Nearly eight out of 10 (77 percent) heterosexual adults agree that how an employee performs at their job should be the standard for judging an employee, not whether or not they are transgender, compared to 67 percent of heterosexual adults tested in 2007.
The Out & Equal Workplace Summit will open on Monday, October 28, and close on Thursday, October 31, 2013 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Nearly 2,500 attendees are expected from more than 30 countries. LGBT employees and straight allies, along with human resources and diversity professionals, representing a broad cross-section of the nation’s leading companies—a majority from the Fortune 500—are set to participate in this year’s Summit, focused on achieving workplace equality.
For more information about the Summit or to register, please visit www.outandequal.org.
Marriage equality advocates in California, Oregon and Washington now have the opportunity to make a real difference in making the freedom to marry a reality in Hawaii. On Thursday, October 24 at 7:30 p.m. PT, the National Equality Action Team (NEAT) is having a national “Night of Action” for Hawaii in which volunteers can phone bank from home and other locations.
NEAT is a nearly 50-member action-oriented coalition of national, regional, state, and local organizations chaired by Marriage Equality USA (MEUSA).
Tracy Hollister, MEUSA Program Manager explained: “Just as loving, committed couples’ genders should not restrict their freedom to marry; neither should their state of residence. The rest of the country, particularly National Equality Action Team partners and volunteers on the West Coast, who are in a better position to phone bank for Hawaii, stands with Hawaii in their historic bid for marriage equality.”
“We are excited that fair-minded people on the West Coast and around the country can easily make a difference simply by going to www.theneat.org and signing up,” said MEUSA Board Member Brendan Brawner. “Even in New York, the ‘City That Never Sleeps,’ we will have an in-person luau phone bank party happening live in Times Square at 10:30 p.m. ET on October 24.”
Brian Silva, MEUSA Executive Director, concluded: “Since 1991, Hawaii has been at the forefront of the fight for equal rights for LGBT families. Today, MEUSA takes another important step as an early member of the Hawaii United for Marriage coalition by organizing supporters across the country to take action in support of our friends and family in the Aloha State.”
By Brandy Black
Kirsten Vangsness from Criminal Minds showed us pictures of her as a teenager. “I was bullied pretty relentlessly” When asked what a parent should do when their kids get bullied Kirsten said “You have to lead by example, if a child or a parent walks into a space knowing their worth, that they are valuable and equal, it’s not going to happen as much.”
Brandy: Do you want to have kids?
Kirsten: ”I’m a big proponent of adopting, a big proponet of foster care. It’s not on the table at this point in my life. A lot of my friends have kids and I’m really good at picking them up and putting stickers on them and if that makes a good parenting, then I will be.”
Dan Bucatinsky, writer, actor, film producer and husband of screenwriter Dan Roos was in attendance. If you haven’t caught his book Does this baby make me look straight? You should check it out!
Mayim Bialik, actress on Big Bang Theory and single mom to her two sons, spoke with me about life at home. It is not about being a celebrity. She shops at Costco, eats leftovers occasionally, and does her best to be a good parent to her boys. “I try to always admit when I’m wrong” she tells us of her parenting style. With a vegan cookbook out and a humble demeanor, she is an inspiration.
Peter Paige is the creator of The Fosters on ABC Family, about an interracial lesbian couple who are married and are raising biological and adopted children together. He spoke with me about being bullied as a kid and his support for GLSEN. His show is a great success and he’s got some good projects in the works. Keep an eye out for this dynamo!
Jim Parsons, actor on Big Bang Theory, and his partner Todd Spiewak, art director/graphic designer arrived together right before the Respect Awards at the Beverly Hills Hotel.
It was a gorgeous evening filled with glistening starts…Lily Tomlin even breezed by us. I look forward to the next one!
LGBT rights may be making progress, but it’s not going quick enough for Judy Shepard whose son Matthew was the victim of a brutal anti-gay hate crime 15 years ago in Laramie, Wyoming.
Matthew died October 12, 1998 at age 21, six days after he was beaten and left on a fence by two men he met at a bar while he was attending the University of Wyoming.
“Matthew’s death gave Wyoming a perfect opportunity to take the first step toward equality,” Shepard said. “Instead, it has taken two steps back.”
Shepard is shocked the state still has no hate-crime laws, let alone one based on crimes against sexual orientation or gender identity. Because of this, she said a lot of LGBT people in Wyoming choose to stay in the closet.
During an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Shepard also talked about the play The Laramie Project that addressed the town’s reactions to Matthew’s death. The play showed at the University of Mississippi, and some of the audience members shouted antigay slurs at the actors.
“It’s disappointing the nation as a whole isn’t embracing the movement to accept people like Matthew,” she told the Times. “We’ve still got a long way to go. That’s why an incident in Mississippi can still happen.”
Shepard set up the Matthew Shepard Foundation and was described as a “tireless advocate for gay rights.” The foundation’s executive director, Jason Marsden, thinks progress has been made for the LGBT community, pointing out the openly gay state legislator from Laramie that was elected in 2009, Cathy Connolly.
Marsden did, however, dismiss the book The Book of Matt, which claims that his murder was not a hate crime, but instead over drugs. His mother had no statements concerning the book.
Shepard has never been to the spot where Matthew died. She does, however, keep her sons watch, which was rescued from the police evidence room as he was wearing it when attacked. She had given it to him as a graduation gift and now keeps the watch on her dresser “as a reminder of Matthew’s life – and that time goes on.”
Brought to you by The Seattle Lesbian
Two-time U.S. Olympian Nick Symmonds not only won a silver medal in the 800 meter race last week at the IAFF World Athletics Championships in Moscow, but he decided todedicate his medal to his gay and lesbian friends.
The Olympian became the first to “to openly criticize Russia’s controversial anti-gay law on the country’s soil.”
Russia’s anti-gay laws, prohibiting “homosexual propaganda,” have been causing a lot of controversy considering the country is hosting the 2014 Winter Olympics.
Even president Obama is upset with Russia’s laws, but thinks it’s unfair to boycott the Olympics.
“We’ve got a bunch of Americans that are training hard, who are doing everything they can to succeed,” he said. “Nobody’s more offended than me by some of the anti-gay and -lesbian legislation that we’ve been seeing in Russia
Symmonds said he would do all he could for the LGBT community short of getting arrested.
“As much as I can speak out about it, I believe that all humans deserve equality as however God made them,” Symmonds said. “Whether you’re gay, straight, black, white, we all deserve the same rights. If there’s anything I can do to champion the cause and further it, I will, shy of getting arrested.”
Symmonds seems to be true to his word. While he wanted to wear a rainbow flag during his race, the Russian government made it clear they would throw him in jail.
“I’m trying to tread that fine line of being respectful as a guest in this country and also speaking against some serious injustices that I see,” he said. “As adamant as I am about this issue, I don’t know what me sitting in jail is good for.”
Symmonds will stay civil during his races, but as he explained in a column for Runner’s World, his gay and lesbian friends will stay in his heart.
“I will say now what I said before the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China, when people asked me how I felt competing in a foreign country with questionable human rights standards: The playing field is not a place for politics. In a world rife with never-ending political battles, let the playing field be where we set aside our differences and compete for national pride and the love of sport.
“If I am placed in a race with a Russian athlete, I will shake his hand, thank him for his country’s generous hospitality, and then, after kicking his ass in the race, silently dedicate the win to my gay and lesbian friends back home. Upon my return, I will then continue to fight for their rights in my beloved democratic union.”
This article is brought to you by The Seattle Lesbian