Sports can both unite and divide people, but as it turns out, so can music. Eurovision, an annual song contest in which various European countries compete for a title, took place throughout the last week, and lots of things happened. Political things, to be precise, both positive and negative. For LGBT activists, the outcome of this contest was extremely encouraging, but perhaps more importantly, it showed that stupidity and ignorance are universal, and that even the LGBT community is not exempt from this rule.
Seldom have I felt so embarrassed to consider myself an LGBT activist. Usually, it means being surrounded by an amazing group of people who are accepting of everyone, regardless of who they are. Differences are celebrated and how a person is seen is based on who they actually are as a person, not on their demographics. Perhaps it’s overly utopian, but the thing about being accepting is that all you need to do is to want to be accepting, and since the LGBT community often takes pride in being accepting and open-minded, they actually become open-minded. But not this week.
This week, LGBTs from all over Europe judged people on their demographics, and they did so without shame. They decided that the two 17 year old girls from Russia were not entitled to recognition or success, not because their performance was bad or because they were bad or arrogant people, but for the sole reason that they were born in a specific place. Without caring about who those girls were as a person or what they believed, an entire crowd of people decided to boo them just because of their demographics.
And that is pathetic. What kind of hypocrites are we really? Are we honestly suggesting that homophobes have to accept everyone as they are, but that we as LGBT activists can go ahead and judge people for something they have no control over? Yes, those girls were Russian, but so what? Would anyone have treated them in this way if they had been born in another place? Of course not! So is this how we want to be treated ourselves? Do we want to be judged and hated for the way we were born, whether that is straight, gay, black, white, male or female? If the answer to that question is no, then why on earth are people doing exactly that to other people? Why? I just cannot fathom it. Are we truly so ignorant?
This Eurovision Song Contest could have been a wonderful occasion, and surely, great things did happen. Not only was the winner a bearded drag queen, a great sign of progress for the future, but she even received 5 points from Russia. What more proof would we need to understand that not every Russian thinks the same way? But instead of realising this, instead of acknowledging it, we continue to see Russia as some distant evil in which no good ever happens.
It is pure ignorance, because in the end, Russia isn’t so different from a country like the US. Both are nationalistic power nations with democratic regimes that cannot possibly represent the entire country. Europe and the US are full of homophobes, yet with those regions, we judge the individuals. In Russia, the majority is homophobic, but does that mean we should judge the entire population? Do you honestly think that that will change their mind? And how does it make us any better than them? We are forcing our opinion on them, and not in a gentle way either. We’re doing so in an arrogant, ignorant and discriminating manner. No wonder then that the Moldovian public is extremely sceptical of their government’s plans to create closer ties with Europe.
LGBT activists pride themselves on being open-minded, but in the end, it is as if we only see black and white. We believe Russia is a dictatorship because the democratically elected leader is someone we disagree with, someone who would never have been elected in our own country. We believe that the people of Ukraine and Moldova want to be part of the EU, but that they are so scared of the Russians that half the population would prefer to stick to Russia, just because we cannot imagine anyone not wanting to be part of Europe. And we believe that the EU is perfectly ethical and not doing anything wrong just because we like to see Russia as the big bad evil, even if that big bad evil is represented by two innocent, 17-year old girls.
This Eurovision Song Contest has shown that there is still a lot of work to do, and then I don’t mean in the direction of convincing the world that they should be more accepting of the LGBT community. I mean we have a lot of work to do to make the LGBT community accepting of the rest of the world, because until we do that, we cannot possibly expect others to be accepting of us.
Don’t forget to rate/share/like this post, and if you have any thoughts of your own, please do leave them in the comments! And if you’re new here? Feel free to like the Facebook page for regular updates, or try having a look at the list of most popular posts!
See you next Monday!
More related content from Dean Richards: