Sometimes I write intelligent essays. Other times I write pieces titled “and stuff.”
The 2014 Winter Olympics end today. I haven’t watched them as much as I have in the past – in 2006 I was glued to the TV, excited because I hadn’t known there was even a winter version – but I’ve seen some of my two favorite events (luge and ice skating), so I’m happy. I bribed my way through last week’s schoolwork by telling myself things like, “OK, after I finish history I can watch this five-minute YouTube video.”
I mean, seriously. Those ice-skaters. They’re, like, fifteen and the best in the world and spin around a lot. When I was fifteen I was putting any ribbons I won in my ears. And if I tried all those spins and twirls, I would fall over and probably throw up.
Anyway. As I was saying, I haven’t followed the Olympics that closely, and have actually tried to avoid reading articles about the event because an irritating number of them aren’t concerned with sports and instead talk about how the games are being used by other countries somewhat as a platform to call out Russia’s anti-gay laws.
Now, I would be the last person to say prejudice is OK – I mean, just the other day I wrote a monstrously long post on queer representation in stories. So why would I object to those articles?
Because most of them are hypocritical.
You probably already know this, but I’ll repeat it anyway: in Russia, you can be arrested for spreading “gay propaganda.” Not good, right? Well, yeah. But consider that in the United States – the country from which many of those articles originate – the government basically ignores transgender people and only thirty-six percent of the states have full marriage equality.
Here, I’ll give you a personal example.
Pretty colors! All right, back on track. The chart above can be found here, and I highly recommend that you click the link because that picture is only a screencapture – the graphic is interactive. Hover over any of the fifty sectors and a text box detailing that state’s LGBTQ+ rights will appear on the left-hand side of the screen. Pretty neat.
You’ll find my state, Indiana, second from the right in the Midwest section. Yeah. That uncolorful little slice. (It sounds like a Shakespearean insult: “Fie, thou uncolorful little slice! Begone!”) This chart was created in 2012 so several states’ information is out of date, but Indiana’s hasn’t changed. I know – I looked it up.
Let’s see what the website says about my rights.
- Hospital visitation: no protection against discrimination or law is unclear
- Employment: no protection against discrimination or law is unclear
- Housing: no protection against discrimination or law is unclear
- Hate crimes: no protection against discrimination or law is unclear
- Schools: no protection against discrimination or law is unclear
- Marriage: illegal and banned
- Adoption: allows adoption by a single person and joint adoption by same-sex couples
So it looks like I’m allowed to adopt, and that’s it. Wow. So helpful. Let me just grab some kids and be a parent at seventeen.
Sorry for the sarcasm. But I’m not in a very good mood right now.
I have lived in this state my entire life. Not that doing so – or indeed just living, just existing, anywhere – means anything when it comes to my rights. I mean, why would that even be a thing? (Sarcasm.)
Rights. The meaning of that term is right there in the word. I have a right to my rights. I should automatically get them. Stop voting on whether or not I have them. That I wouldn’t have a right to hospital visitation particularly worries me; why would anyone care if someday I visit a sick wife instead of a sick husband? Why couldn’t I visit them? Homosexuality isn’t contagious. (Believe me, I know – I didn’t infect anyone this time last year when I had the flu.)
And you know what I did yesterday? I did my taxes, because I have a job now and there’s official paperwork and whatnot. I pay taxes to this pathetic state and yet I’m still missing some rights? I’m not asking for special treatment. I’d just like the basics, please.
So why is the United States criticizing Russia?
Or rather, why is the United States criticizing Russia and not acknowledging that they themselves have progress to make? Because I don’t see that happening, either.
Yes, Russia should be called out, but the United States isn’t a pinnacle of rights. Something needs to be done about that.
And now for something completely different! I’d like to end this post on a high note, so here are some nice videos. If you want something Olympic-related, try this Norwegian commercial. If you want something else, try this awesome video of a beardy guy singing Lord of the Rings a capella.