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02/12/2014

Sochi as stand-in: Is relatively better resort town giving false sense of Russian homo-hostility?

by Jeremy Hooper

The sports site Deadspin has an interesting take on the journalism that is going on in Sochi. Writer Barry Petchesky's argument is that local journalists who are relying on Sochi (and particularly Sochi's lone gay bar) are actually doing a disservice to the true plight of Russian gays:

Screen Shot 2014-02-12 At 9.31.17 AmSochi, a resort town that's relatively tolerant by Russian standards, isn't the place to report on the plight of the country's gays. Getting at the larger issues is impossible for journalists credentialed for just the Olympics, who have to stay in the area. They're doing the best they can, but run the risk of sending readers away with the impression that gay life in Russia is all smiles and camp.
FULL: Sochi's Gay Bar Is Overrun With Reporters [Deadspin]

Seems a bit like using a yoga class in an Alabama college town to represent the gay rights views of the state. Sure, even there, you might get a sense that are not as accepting as they could be—but you won't get the real sense until you talk to the scared gay teens living in the cornfields.

Still, Sochi has put a spotlight on a major problem happening in Russia and across the globe. The burden is ensuring this is a conversation starter rather than a problem that will fall from view in tandem with the Olympics' closing ceremony.

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