Sophie Defaix
Staff Writer

Everyone was shocked when the Russian government adopted the Anti-Gay Propaganda Law during the Olympic games of 2014 in Sochi. This law severely constrains the LBGT communities of Russia. Consequently, several countries decided to boycott the Olympic games or they did not want to send their LGBT athletes to Russia. 

For me, having lived in the Netherlands my entire life, it is impossible to understand why countries forbid or restrict same-sex marriage. I was four years old when same-sex marriage was legalized in the Netherlands. Before I came here, I could not imagine how it would be to live in a country or state that does not allow same-sex marriage. 

Brittney Griner, who plays basketball for the Phoenix Mercury, identifies as gay.
Brittney Griner, who plays basketball for the Phoenix Mercury, identifies as gay.

The Anti-Gay Propaganda Law is a serious threat for human rights in Russia. Everyone should be able to express their sexuality, without getting in trouble or having to deal with hatred or prejudice.

First of all, let’s just say that everyone is equal. It is a sentence that is repeated over and over again, but will everyone ever be equal before the law? Does it matter whether people are black, white, Asian or Latino, gay or straight, male or female, religious or atheist, fat or skinny, blond or brunette, tall or short? Can’t we all just be “human”? To answer my own question: it is understandable that individuals think differently, but on professional level it should not matter. 

Especially in sports there should not be a difference. Sports are supposed to fraternize. When there are big sports events, everyone should live peacefully together and cheer for the one thing they all have in common: their country. I cannot understand that people criticize athletes that come out as gay. These athletes do everything they can and they do that for your country.

Jason Collins was the first openly gay athlete in pro sports.
Jason Collins was the first openly gay athlete in pro sports.

Furthermore, it is not fair for the athlete. Gay athletes have worked just as immensely hard to be able to go to the Olympic games as every other straight athlete. They made this great achievement by being themselves, so they should be able to do that again at the Olympic games without having to hide themselves or their sexuality. 

Also, it does not really give a good image to young athletes that gay athletes did not get a warm welcome in Russia. Young people often have that innocent view on the world and, not being able to come out as gay during big sports events, ruins that. Young athletes should keep believing that it does not matter whether you are gay or straight, because that is the only right view. 

I want to end by saying that it really matters to a lot of people. It is not a small problem. Everywhere in the world the LGBT community has to deal with people not accepting them and hating them for who they are. Especially in sports, one of the few things that brings us all together, the sexuality of the athletes should not matter. When an athlete of your country wins a gold medal, you should cheer for him just as hard as you cheered for the straight athlete that won a gold medal.