Does it matter that 9 of the 12,000 2012 Olympiads are openly Gay?
In one sense it doesn’t make one iota of difference is someone is gay or not, it is a meritocracy and the medals will be decided on who is the fastest, strongest, most agile and well trained. It should not be even be worthy of mention, why do we need to know about someones private life or who they want to date.
Looking at the list o who is ‘out’ is interesting; only one of the nine are from Europe, with Germany providing two along with one from Australia. The numbers seem strange, even if we accept that only 1% of the population is gay then we would expect about 120 gay Olympiads, and even taking into account political repression it would be feasible assume that more than one person on the American team is gay.
The obvious culprit is homophobia, but I recall a story of a friend of mine who was in the Royal Navy; he was Chief Petty Officer and the entire crew knew he was gay, at the time it was a dischargeable cause, when the officials found out he was discharged; it was not homophobia within his team – it was ‘officialdom’ that created the problem.
I think the problem is not within the athletes teams but society’s problem in accepting that gay people are just as capable as everyone – as I have argued before we should not be a special group.
To answer the initial question of is it important to be openly gay and an Olympiad, yes I think it is,, to show that we are everywhere doing all sort of jobs. It is by ‘coming out’ that we make it easier for the next person. I really do hope that one day it will not necessary to discuss our sexuality, and when we bring our ‘significant other’ to an event there will not be noticed.
Another important issue that of providing role models, my role models when I was coming out where not the best – with respect – being fed a diet of very camp Comedians, Politicians being blackmailed and Actors dying of mysterious diseases.
We still need positive role models, and a variety of them of every shape and size, until we have true equality.
I long for the day when I am invisible.