A professional soccer player has turned his home nation upside down by simply wearing a rainbow-colored arm band in a professional soccer match.
Guram Kashia wore the arm band to support LGBT rights in the Netherlands, where he plays professional soccer for SBV Vitesse. The effort was part of a nationwide effort in soccer to support LGBT equality.
So what’s the hubbub? Kashia is a player on the Georgia national team. While the country has some discrimination protections for LGBT people, there is a ban on same-sex marriage.
None of that has stopped a vocal group of people from totally losing their minds over this simple gesture.
Some have called for Kashia to quit the Georgia national team because he publicly displayed support for LGBT equality. Via the Washington Post:
“‘LGBT Kashia’ must be cut off from the Georgian team!” columnist Giorgi Gigauri wrote Friday in one of the country’s most prominent newspapers, Asavali-Dasavali (via RFE/RL). “Georgia’s soccer fathers should know that Georgian men will boycott the team if ‘LGBT-Kashia’ dares to play in the national team jersey.”
Yes, you read that right.
Some in Georgia were arrested for their behavior in protesting this athlete for demonstrating compassion. From NBC News:
The nationalist Georgian March group wanted defender Guram Kashia punished for wearing a rainbow armband while captaining Dutch club Vitesse Arnhem earlier this month, as part of a broader initiative in the Netherlands for the country's "Coming Out Day."
In case you didn’t know, Georgia is a country on the east coast of the Black Sea that was formerly part of the Soviet Union.
While we’ve come so far in the United States, totally insane over-reactions like this in other parts of the world are a constant reminder that we need to look beyond our borders and help those so much less fortunate.