Russia's Olympic moment: Let's really gay this f*cker up

The Gay Olympics: We've had like 40 years of practice at this, people.

So, the 2014 Winter Olympics. They're in Russia (specifically, Sochi), which right now hates on all the gays. What should we do? 

Are we boycotting Russian vodka? Which vodka is actually Russian? Is Stoli really Russian, is Stoli really anti-gay? Is Stoli just desperate for attention? (And hey, whatever gripes some have against it, the vodka boycott thing's already been successful: the issue has hit the mainstream mostly due all the queers on Facebook constantly arguing over the boycott itself. Besides, what mainstream media outlet can resist the image of a bunch of queens tossing their precious martinis -- for human rights?)  

I'm a queer who drinks a lot of vodka and hates bigotry -- and so far I'm kind of meh about the responses, as inspiring as they may be. Let's get better.

What about boycotting the entire Olympics? Should we sign an online petition? Will the Olympics have a gay Jesse Owens/Black Panthers salute moment?

What if, hazards our most milquetoast media representative, Frank Bruni, in the NY Times, "a 'silent show of solidarity,' [among athletes] like subtly raising rainbow flags during the opening ceremony, would 'wordlessly mock' the new legislation and force Russian officials to 'stand by and seethe ... Maybe that statement isn’t a flag but 'a visible pin, an armband, a bracelet,' as Greg Louganis, an openly gay diver who won medals for the United States in three Olympics, recently suggested. Maybe it’s something small stitched into the uniforms…"

Well! Why don't we just invite Vladimir Putin round for a cup of Earl Gray tea and snittily ruffle our petticoats in his direction while he's in the powder room?

Look, we're gay. We have power. We're the people behind most of the design, marketing, broadcast, and choreography of the Olympics. We're the reason Anita Bryant lived in fear of hairdressers and Jerry Falwell always looked like he had chicken fat dripping down his chin when the cameras rolled. We had decades of practice kiki-ing up the games during the Gay Olympics period.  We also have a lot of straight athlete allies. Let's really offend some dickhead Russians with homosexuality!

(Not that the Sochi Olympics aren't kinda gay already -- I mean, have you seen the mascot? It's basically Snagglepuss in a kimono belt.)

Anyway, let's pull out the queer protest stops and get a little crazy at the games, here's how. And yes I'm going to invoke a bunch of offensive gay stereotypes here because fuck it we're fabulous.

OLYMPIC FAG-RAISING CEREMONY OK, the Olympic flag is already rainbow-colored, and the opening ceremony is centered around an eternal flame. Ralph Laren's outfits for the athletes will probably include berets and little scarves again, and you know the Russian gala presentation is going to have a lot of bears and some sort of ice queen in it. The only thing that could add even more splash of Mary to that homothon would be to replace the Olympic rings on the flag with a five-set of recently pierced nipples in various stages of healing and a horrible tribal circuit tattoo in the background. Meanwhile, someone replaces the soundtrack during the endless Parade of Nations with "Menergy."   

ANAL LUGE Let's fashion the luge track as a giant lubed anal canal that spandex-clad athletes, already laying snugly atop one another on their apparatus -- perhaps done up in fleshtones to look even more penile -- shoot through like a rocket-powered dildo. Launching from a giant cave marked "Crisco," and careening through the (waterbased) greasy track, lugers come to rest on golden pillow of fulfillment that soon turns to romantic disappointment and, eventually, mere online acquaintanceship. Sponsorship opportunity: nothing says "luge lube" like AstroGlide. 

SKI JUMP GLITTER BOMB This one's kind of self-explanatory, except that while the crowd is sheilding its eyes from the onslaught of tiny, colorful, razor-edged bits of glitter, the ski-jumper actually transforms during a mid-air double-sommersault into Tick, Hugo Weaving's character from Priscilla Queen of The Desert and sticks a tearful, over-the-top dramatic landing in apparent homage to Kerri Strug. Applause. 

SNOWBUTCHING Rather than competing, female snowboarders form a commune specializing in plumbing, car repair, low-cost construction, and raising the most well-adjusted, multicultural kids ever.  

TONGUE HOCKEY There are far too few porns that feature hunky, bearded, be-mulleted hockey players locked in steamy embraces on the ice. This year, let's use the Olympics to rectify that. Thanks in advance.  

TRANSGENDER BOBSLED Start at the top as Barbara, land at the bottom as Bob.

QURLING No one really knows the rules to the obscure sport of curling except maybe the Canadians, and they're already gay anyway, so why not open it up to some pinker angles? During random periods of play, contestants could come together to perform a "Golden Girls" episode reenactment, engage in the art of vintage '50s beefcake magazine decoupage, bake an inventive new kind of dessert pastry using everyday junk food items from the grocery checkout aisle, or simply mime shopping for and rejecting various models of brightly colored high-top sneaker. Everybody wins a medal! (And somewhere a little gay Russian boy's obsession with mid-century modern furniture is vindicated through the power of gay culture.)   


Now, if only we can do something about the risk of having to mix silver, gold, and bronze jewelry. Also, can't we gussy up those podiums a little? 


figuring that how gay or not gay something is might not just be the most important thing on the planet?

Posted by anon on Aug. 12, 2013 @ 10:34 am

I speak for myself and everyone I know when I say we've heard enough about gays and their rights. I'm not against them, I'm not for them. I simply don't get involved because it's not my cause. But I do plan to ignore the Olympics for SOOO many reasons. It's gotten to be a huge grandstanding event by professional athletes, and WHO CARES anymore. There's no national pride, and now no gay pride. Ick.

Posted by Guest on Aug. 12, 2013 @ 2:20 pm

Which straight SF elected official has endorsed the Russian vodka boycott? The answer is here:

Also, as Robbie Sweeny notes at his BoycottRussianVodka Facebook page, , we will be picketing outside BeatBox, 314 - 11th Street, on Wednesday, August 14 from 7 to 8 pm.

That's when the Mr Stoli contest is happening and we will educate folks as they enter the bar.

Finally, for a roundup of coverage of our successful Russian vodka dump last Tuesday at City Hall, including coverage from the Chinese language paper Sing Tao, go here:

Join us on Wednesday outside BeatBox!

Posted by MPetrelis on Aug. 12, 2013 @ 1:50 pm

So I think we're all opposed to this new anti-gay law in Russia and think it's appalling (well ok, maybe not the conservatrolls, but most of us in San Francisco are on the same page I think). I understand the burning desire to do something about oppression. But this boycott of Stoli makes no sense.

Let's say you were living in a foreign country, and some policy of the American government really ticked you off. Oh, let's make it easy... let's say it was before same sex marriage was legalized and you were living in one of many countries that allowed it, and you opposed America's policy. So you decide to boycott... let's see... think of a target that's vaguely American but has absolutely nothing to do with the policy. So you decide to boycott... the US film industry! The big studios are baffled at your stupidity and issue statements that they support gay rights and some even voluntarily give same sex partner benefits. But still you persist, because you don't want to let, you know, facts, get in the way of a good campaign and all that.

Yeah. That's about the same level of stoopid as the Stoli boycott. Stoli had nothing to do with the Russian government's anti-gay law. In fact, they opposed it. Here's what the company had to say about the anti-gay law and the boycott:

Not only do they have no influence on the Russian government, but they are opposed to the anti-gay law, *and* they may not even be a Russian company depending on what you think of as "Russian." Sorry to rain on your parade, but this is just lame.

Posted by Greg on Aug. 12, 2013 @ 2:45 pm

boycotting Stoli has already proven effective because it's gotten the issue out in the mainstream in a way that, say, boycotting LUKOIL would not have. It's actually a great nightlife story: despite the supposed death of gay bars due to the mainstreaming of gay rights, boycotting liquor (ala the Coors boycott in the 80s) is still one of the most attention-getting things that gays can do.

I'm sorry that Stoli may be getting their feelings hurt (I hardly think they're gonna go broke), but maybe this will teach them to engage the community on a deeper level in their media outreach going forward to avoid such things in future...  

Posted by marke on Aug. 12, 2013 @ 2:56 pm

Have never heard anything quite so infantile. When you grow up, you can post something we can all digest like adults. Saying that a boycott of something that has nothing to do with the issue JUST FOR THE ATTENTION to gay related issues is downright unethical and mean.

Posted by SFAnnie on Aug. 12, 2013 @ 3:26 pm

That's nice that it's gotten attention. But you're getting that attention by picking on a company that didn't do anything to hurt you. In fact, if anything, they seem to be on your side. This isn't the same as Coors, which was actively anti-gay. The line about "engaging the community on a deeper level" is really a load of BS. You could just as well pick a random company -one that is mildly on your side, and boycott them because they "don't engage the community" deeply enough for you. This isn't right, Marke, and no amount of spin will make it right.

Posted by Greg on Aug. 12, 2013 @ 5:11 pm

Stoli is just one of them, Greg.

And Stoli just added "sexual orientation" in a panic to its policies last week, so yeah, the Stoli boycott may actually have promoted a specific LGBT cause, whether it was the intended one or no. Stoli certainly had no problem identifying itself with Russia before the boycott, or cashing in on the gay community via party stereotypes -- so it's taking a little hit now in the name of a broader cause, one it's intimately tied to. I think that's fair, and we'll see how it handles this situation. Holding a male beauty contest as damage control, and sending that clown Patrick Gallineaux to protests to timidly read statements, is probably not the best approach imho. But there you go.

Your point about Coors, however, is correct, I was talking about alcohol activism on a broader, more cultural level there.


Posted by marke on Aug. 12, 2013 @ 7:02 pm

You know, Russians drink a lot of tea as well as vodka. And even though many companies that make tea aren't Russian, tea is associated with Russia. As long as we're doing tenuous guilt-by-association excersizes, we should boycott tea as well, because tea producers haven't been deeply in tune with the community, or whatever it was you said. That would make just as much sense.

Maybe we should walk pickets in front of Samovar. They're shamelessly capitalizing on an association with a Russian symbol- and in the Castro too!

Posted by Greg on Aug. 12, 2013 @ 8:01 pm

really associates tea with Russia. 

Posted by marke on Aug. 13, 2013 @ 6:52 am

There's a whole chain of restaurants, one of which is in the Castro, which plays off of tea's association with Russia.

Posted by Greg on Aug. 13, 2013 @ 7:07 am

The Stoli boycott has gotten the issue out how far and to whom? Do you have any polling data to substantiate this, or do you and your friends doing things in an echo chamber mean that anyone else notices?

This is not OUR issue, it is but not directly. WE don't have to deal with the business end of this, Russian LGBT do. WE should act in solidarity with Russian LGBT. We respectfully defer to Russian LGBT the autonomy to call their own shots and should take whatever steps they ask us to, not do whatever we think will attract attention.

it is THEIR call not OURS.

Posted by marcos on Aug. 12, 2013 @ 5:45 pm

Marcos: As for the "echo chamber," I urge you to look up how many major news outlets -- including the front page of the NYT today -- have covered the boycott.

And sure, let's stand with the activists -- but you realize the point of a protest is also emotional release and networking, yes? No one thought a bunch of freaks marching every month in SF was going to impeach George Bush, but it was all we could do when faced with powerlessness and rage, so it served its purpose that way. (This is also how governments attenuate unrest by allowing controlled protests btw.) For those of us outraged here, pouring a bunch of vodka down the drain is a cathartic act, that can clear our minds and help us focus on real solutions.    

As usual, Marcos, your answer is not to actually do anything at all.

Posted by marke on Aug. 12, 2013 @ 7:04 pm

Because it's "cathartic?"

There's something you can do for catharsis Marke - it's called "therapy" or "using drugs." I know you're not a stranger to either.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Aug. 12, 2013 @ 7:39 pm

Seriously, Marke, the position of the SFBG and its thin rolodex of ethically compromised sources is to cut self serving deals with the cossacks that allow them to overrun our neighborhoods and to abscond with their claims on the general fund while gnashing the teeth, wringing the hands (Tim was especially good at that) and the symbolic pouring out of vodka.

Organizing is only allowed when there is no chance that organizing will change anything. In that case, it is no longer organizing but acting out.

Posted by marcos on Aug. 13, 2013 @ 8:31 am

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Posted by England Pages on Wikipedia on Jul. 30, 2014 @ 11:52 pm

Marke, this ain't no party. This ain't no disco. This ain't no fooling around. This ain't no Mudd Club. Or CBGB. I ain't got time for that now.

If we cannot keep our own political house in order, and it is not me who is attenuating populist resistance but your cohorts over at the nonprofits and labor, then we're really not positioned to be acting on behalf of others who are facing the onslaught of pogroms. Nor do you have the record of political accomplishment to be commenting credibly on what does and does not lead to political success.

Political activity can serve as successful therapy. That happens when you work hard, do it right and win. Winning elections is better than the best sex.

But this lashing out, flailing just to appear like you're doing something is all about the activist, just like so much of our own identity politics fetishists here, not about the people facing pogroms. So much of middle class white politics is self indulgence of being seen by others being political. Nobody cares, really, nobody cares.

Posted by marcos on Aug. 13, 2013 @ 7:30 am

Does anyone else agree that the gays have taken things too far? I for one am sick to death of hearing about their hardships and abuse. If I were gay, I'd be happy that things are starting to turn around in the right direction, with gay marriage being allowed in almost all the states now. Victories should be savored one by one Wanting it all now, and not waiting for the cultural wheel to turn its slow revolution is just being impatient and childish. Look how long it took to abolish slavery. Give this a rest and stop hounding the rest of us with the pathetic displays that don't endear gays to the public. The best way to gain acceptance is to keep a low profile and ease your way into the system. The worst way is to throw it everyone's face, every day, and insist they swallow it whole the first time they see or hear about it. Sounds like a very big case of spoiled rotten brats.

Posted by SFAnnie on Aug. 12, 2013 @ 3:23 pm


You are trying to turn me on, aren't you?


Posted by Patrick Connors on Aug. 12, 2013 @ 3:40 pm

...spoken like a true straight, white person....

Posted by Guest on Aug. 12, 2013 @ 6:39 pm

"Does anyone else agree that the gays have taken things too far?"

No, I don't agree that "the gays" have taken things too far (whatever the fuck that means). And your willful-ignorance is appalling. You excreted this:

"with gay marriage being allowed in almost all the states now."


There are 50 states. Gay marriage is allowed in 13 (thirteen) and the District. That's "almost all" to you? Loca.

From Wikipedia:

As of August 2013, thirteen states (California, Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington), the District of Columbia, and five Native American tribes[n 1] have legalized the issuing of same-sex marriage licenses.

Posted by Guest on Aug. 12, 2013 @ 8:18 pm

Poor Stoli!! Why is everyone picking on vodka???

Vodka never hurt anybody!!

What a terrible idea....boycotting booze!!! We have to drink!!! There isn't a choice!!!

Oh poor sweet Stoli.

Never hurt a fly.

They have the best interests of LGBTs at heart....they sponsor all our events because they love us SO MUCH!!

Posted by Patrick Connors on Aug. 12, 2013 @ 3:25 pm

that American gays believe boycotting a Cypriot-based vodka company with a Russian name will force a Russian dictator to strong-arm his compliant parliament into changing a law with which they disagree.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Aug. 12, 2013 @ 4:18 pm
Posted by marke on Aug. 12, 2013 @ 4:31 pm

Like most of those from the left?

Two snaps up sista!

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Aug. 12, 2013 @ 4:49 pm

I really don't think anybody believes a boycott of Stoli or Smirnoff is going to alter the political landscape of Russia. But here's the point - Gays drink vodka . Lots of it. The Russian vodka boycott, ridiculous as it was, got A LOT of people talking and helped spread the word about what's going on in Russia. They essentially linked what was taking place in Russia to a popular gay pastime.

Russia's just a such a shitty place it's hard to have an effective boycott of anything. Lukoil I guess? Maybe Gazprom? Aren't we well on our way to natural gas self sufficiency here in America anyway?

Whatever, I'm ranting. Point is, boycotting a place that nobody has any interest in visiting or buying items from ain't that easy.

Posted by Scram on Aug. 12, 2013 @ 5:36 pm

We could just admit there's nothing we can do and instead give Russian gays visas to come live here. Of course I don't hear anyone advocating for that.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Aug. 12, 2013 @ 5:48 pm

I have.

When I hear the term "dictator" casually thrown around to describe everyone from Kim Jong Un to Chavez to Putin to Barack Obama, I really get the feeling that people have no clue what the term really means.

Kim Jong Un, Suharto, Pinochet, Stalin... these guys are/were dictators.

Chavez (and now Maduro)... definitely not a dictator.

Societies like Russia and the United States are best described as oligarchies or flawed democracies. Love him or hate him or somewhere in between, Putin was, in fact, freely elected. The parliament is compliant because his party has an absolute majority. It has an absolute majority because the people voted for it. Yeah, they probably padded their win a bit (not as much as Americans think). Yeah, media coverage was favorable toward them. Yeah, there are institutional advantages to the ruling order. But the bottom line is that Putin is extremely popular, and he won no matter how you slice it.

And... the sad fact is that Russia has an extremely homophobic culture. There are opposition parties in the parliament -they actually have a broader range of opposition parties than we allow in our system, but even they didn't vote against it. On this issue, the culture of the whole country is just retrograde. Nobody wants to admit this, but this law wasn't enacted because a dictator forced it down the throats of an unwilling public. Quite the contrary, the government in this case is actually doing what the people want.

Posted by Greg on Aug. 12, 2013 @ 5:34 pm

deny it, just like Americans but more so.

In any case, American gays are just painting themselves as alcoholic fools boycotting Stoli.

And "anal luge"? Is that helpful?

I wonder sometime who's on what side -- and who are the "useful idiots."

Time for everybody to make sure they are acting like grown ups.

Posted by lillipublican on Aug. 12, 2013 @ 10:49 pm

Ask the 4th Estate (Press) if Chavez is not a dictator. You will get a much different answer.

Posted by Richmondman on Aug. 13, 2013 @ 1:46 pm

So Marke is the new publisher and he wrote this article and he won't even write the word FUCKER. (jesus fucking christ).

Why sanitize the title of this article: "Let's really gay this f*cker [sic] up"

This is not a good sign of things to come with the "new progressive Bay Guardian." Tim Redmond would have written fucker and so would Steven Jones.

Who exactly are you trying to sanitize and sterilize the place for now? I think we already have enough of that going on in the Castro with the prudes there.

If you really want to "gay" something up, you don't use asterisks in a sex word to sanitize it.


Posted by Guest on Aug. 12, 2013 @ 8:31 pm

has always been to avoid putting the word "fuck" in all its glorious forms on the cover or the homepage, just an age-old Guardian tradition I like to honor. People also tend to share things more on social media that way. Besides, I thought it looked funny -- to me, asterisks are like tiny puckered anuses, riding high atop the rough, hard alphabet of life. 

Posted by marke on Aug. 13, 2013 @ 6:51 am

"Conservatives" complain that gays push details of their private sex life onto others. I've quit arguing with them in that regard based on this sort of nonsense.

How does a graphic description of a sex act promote the cause of equal rights?

Posted by lillipublican on Aug. 13, 2013 @ 12:00 pm

all those periods, colons, pounds, interroblasts, backslashes, pilcrows, obeli, and rampant interjections -- how *do* you even stand to write in english without clutching a fan?

Posted by marke on Aug. 13, 2013 @ 12:40 pm

I prefer Taaka, always have. It's cheap and made in San Jose, California.

Mixes nice with grapefruit juice.

Posted by pete moss on Aug. 13, 2013 @ 4:03 am

The French do everything better, don't they? I discovered it right about the time the right wing was on a tear hating on France. It's always nice to thumb your nose at the wingnuts, but I wouldn't drink it if it didn't taste good.

But that's beside the point.

Posted by Greg on Aug. 13, 2013 @ 6:54 am

We should try being FOR something (like maybe supporting Gray Goose because France just passed gay marriage) vs. always being AGAINST something.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Aug. 13, 2013 @ 11:54 am

I've worked in liquor distribution. Did a few taste test promotions and vodka made from grapes always won out easily.

Of course voddy purists will insist that if it's not made from potatoes, it's not Vodka.

In other words GG is technically unaged or raw brandy.

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