Olympic rower Robbie Manson comes out as gay
Robbie Manson, Olympic rower for New Zealand, comes out publicly as gay, talks about the struggles in the closet and coming out to friends before the 2012 Olympics.
The International Olympic Committee has a gay problem. It has for a while. Selecting host nations that criminalize homosexuality or allow thugs to round up and kill LGBT people is just part of it.
Today the IOC released a set of proposals that, in part, claims to take aim at that. Among the proposals is adding "sexual orientation" to the Sixth Principle of Olympism, which reads: "Any form of discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race, religion, politics, gender or otherwise is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic Movement."
According to the Associated Press the new principle would read: "The enjoyment of the rights and freedoms set forth in the Olympic Charter shall be secured without discrimination of any kind, such as race, color, sex, sexual orientation, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status."
To be clear, the principle is violated purposefully and consistently every Olympics by allowing egregious offenders like Iran and Saudi Arabia to participate. And we were told that LGBT was included previously with "or otherwise," so this really isn't a policy change but is another nicety aimed at quieting critics and getting said critics to celebrate the IOC, which some of them will do.
Another piece of the IOC's big announcement today is Recommendation 19, which creates an Olympic TV Channel. The IOC already has a YouTube channel and yesterday it released a video of Tom Daley talking about the psychology of sport. During the 9-minute video, Daley discusses his friends, his family, his everyday life and various insights into elite diving.
Interviewer: "You mentioned some of the changes that you've gone through since London. You've come here, you've got a new coach, Jane. You also made a very personal public announcement. Tell us about that."
Tom Daley: "Back in December I obviously made the announcement on YouTube, and since then the public support has been literally overwhelming. Everyone has been so nice, everyone has been so supportive. And right now all I concentrate on is diving. I don't have any other worries, I just focus on my diving. And I want to be known for my diving."
How on earth do you do that interview without mentioning the word "gay"? You have to consciously and deliberately aim to exclude it by not mentioning that the announcement was that Daley was bisexual (he now identifies as gay). Did Daley go to them and say he didn't want to say the word "gay"? Given he just announced a new fundraiser for HRC with his boyfriend, Dustin Lance Black, that seems unlikely at most.
This is the problem with these toothless pronouncements by the IOC: They say one thing, hoping to dupe advocates, and do another. They say they want to protect LGBT people but won't even say the word "gay" when talking about a gay Olympian.
I'm not buying it.
Hat tip to Diego Urena.