The Winter Olympics in Sochi have been marked by widespread uproar, protests, and confusion regarding Russia and President Vladimir Putin's laws and stances against the LGBT community. A law signed in July prohibits gay "propaganda" and effectively makes any expression of support for gay rights a crime. The mayor of Sochi has gone so far as to state (with no evidence) that the city contains no gay people whatsoever. Complaints have continued right up until the start of the Olympic Games, with athletes and at least one sponsor speaking out on Wednesday.
Putin and Co.'s party line can look a little ridiculous, if only because the Winter Olympics themselves have more than their fair share of homoerotic content. In fact, that's the premise behind a new 30-second ad from the Canadian Institute of Diversity and Inclusion, a non-government consulting group based in Toronto. In the spot, the members of a two-man luge team are seen thrusting back and forth on their sled in the sport's standard starting motion with the Human League's 1981 hit "Don't You Want Me?" as accompaniment. The tagline is fitting: "The games have always been a little gay. Let's fight to keep them that way."
Watch it below (via Outsports):
While it bears another mention that the CIDI is not affiliated with the Canadian government, this organization has real credentials and boasts partnerships with Microsoft, Cisco, TD Bank, and other notable corporations on its website. The press release for the ad professes more support for Sochi athletes and suggests ways in which people can show their support for the LGBT community.
It now seems somewhat clear that the furor over Russia's anti-gay laws and intolerant statements from government officials will not die down with the start of the Olympics. These are serious issues that have compelled activism for good reason, and the start of competition won't change that. If this ad is correct, these sports may inspire thought about these issues in wholly new ways.
Putin, seen here riding shirtless on the back of an absolutely fabulous horse, has not commented on the CIDI's spot.
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