Published on November 19, 2013 | by Sean McKee

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Love always wins

ALN deputy news editor, Sean McKee [Alice Russell]

Sometimes I really take things in life for granted. I haven’t seen my (free) GP in five years, but thankfully have a clean bill of health. I am pretty indulgent when it comes to food as well, as about 90 per cent of my money is spent on delicious treats for me to gorge on daily.

But one thing I will never take for granted is just how lucky I am to have been born into the incredible family I have, who support me and my lifestyle choices, while I see people around me suffer alone or in silence for fear of losing everyone around them because of who they are.

What if that was the reality for everyone though? I’m merely drawing attention to the possibility that I could have been born in a different part of the world, where I’d be punished for something that I can’t change about myself.

All around the world, people suffer every day against brutal anti-gay laws. In many African countries, including Commonwealth member states Uganda and Nigeria, homosexuality is punishable by death.

I frequently read articles from parts of eastern Europe and even America that use the safety net of religion to label lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people ‘abominations’ and ‘unnatural’.

Gay marriage is a fiercely hot topic at the moment; one that has received so much global attention. But for me, it’s more of a priority to get back to basics. It’s so important now, more than ever.

Rather than pushing for the liberalisation of world religions, we should campaign here in the UK and show support for other LGBT people across the world that aren’t as god damn lucky to have the basic right of the freedom to love another human – regardless of gender.

Anti-gay laws are a very important topic for me, and they are about to feature heavily during the winter Olympics in 2014. The host country, Russia, have rolled out laws that don’t ban homosexuality outright, but rather ban the expression of it.

That means you can love a man if you’re a man, but no-one is allowed to know. These laws have been widely publicised by gay rights activists in an attempt to quash them.

But so far the opposite effect is occurring; animosity toward the gay community in Russia is growing. Viral videos have leaked from gay vigilante groups that bludgeon young gay teens to near-death after being lured to a false date by a fake gay man.

It’s an extremely dangerous environment to be in if you’re not welcome, and one that I can’t even possibly imagine.

Yes, I received a bit of abuse when I was a youngster and the UK is not perfect – look up Section 28. But the introduction of a new law to restrict gay rights is unprecedented in the modern era.

I am a firm believer in the idea that sport should never mix with politics (yes, a gay who knows about sport). But the Sochi Winter Olympics should be used by global brands and ambassadors to show that love matters more than the matter of who is in love.

Already there are massive petitions online to pressure global sponsors to pull out in opposition to Russia’s laws, which would leave the country with a massive multi-billion dollar funding headache.

Other movements are also taking a stance by boycotting Russia’s biggest export: vodka. Simply put, don’t buy it and cripple their economy. Well they don’t want gays in their country, so they don’t want the pink pound either, right?

It would be great if we all took part – odds are you have someone close to you who is LGBT or even Q (queer). So watch the videos, keep up to date, sign a petition and switch brands.

Most importantly, let’s focus our eyes on Russia. Let’s hope its medieval laws don’t hold back minorities in our rapidly changing, 21st century world.

The most important symbol that could really help the movement gain momentum, and may lead to it influencing other countries, is if athletes take part in opposing Russia’s laws. I’m not asking for lewd sexual acts to be performed in order to assert your sexuality; but simple gestures, as demonstrated in the campaign video, may bring real significance to the message that gay activists simply wish to portray – that Love Always Wins.

Watch this beautiful two-minute video and please share it with your family and friends. You can also sign the petition here.

 

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