The 10 Gayest Things to Happen at Sochi
A lot of the coverage in the run up to the Winter Olympics in Sochi, which begins today, has focused on the state of Russian politics. In particular, the introduction of laws that prohibited the promotion of 'non-traditional relations'. Homosexuality in other words.
The law hit headlines and protestations from President Vladimir Putin that he 'has gay friends' went unheeded. Many LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) groups and athletes have spoken out against the policy and even called for a boycott of the games.
Scottish craft brewery, Brew Dogs, attacked Russia's anti-gay laws in their own way - by launching a special beer mocking Vladimir Putin.
The catchily titled 'Hello My Names is Vladimir' ale is described as a drink for 'uber hetero men who ride horses while topless and carrying knives. I am a beer to mark the 2014 Winter Olympics. But I am not for gays.' 50% of all proceeds from the beer will go to supporting like minded charities.
As spotted by our friends over at Whitelines, Cheryl Maas became the first athlete to stage a protest in support of the LGBT community in Sochi when she pushed her rainbow gloves into the camera after her second run in the women's Snowboard Slopestyle qualifiers on Thursday.
British TV channel, Channel 4, has always had a reputation for pushing boundaries and maintaining a liberal political stance. As of yesterday they rebranded their channel, changing their logo from white to the colours of the rainbow in solidarity with gay athletes.
As well as airing important documentaries about life for the gay community in Russia, they've also launched their own unofficial Olympic anthem, 'Gay Mountain' which wishes 'good luck to everyone out in Sochi'. It is unstoppably catchy and the MPORA office can't stop humming it.
Google's Doodle has gained a life of its own over the years and has become a way for the San Francisco based company to take a stance on various issues and support various causes.
Today the doodle took the form of the rainbow flag and depicted various winter sports, whilst quoting the Olympic charter below - 'Every individual must have the possibility of practicing sport, without discrimination of any kind and in the Olympic spirit'.
No doubt the web giant were aiming to uphold their 'don't be evil' policy.
[part title="Tatu at the Opening Ceremony"]
We think there must be some kind of fifth columnist at work within the Sochi opening ceremony organising committee. This is due to the announcement that Russian girl group, Tatu, sorry t.A.T.u, will be performing at the grand curtain raiser on Friday.
One of the most successful Russian contributions to pop music in recent years, the duo achieved notoriety for their apparent lesbian antics in their music videos. Something surely in contravention with the new laws. Still any excuse to hear that song again.
[part title="Guide to Luge with the Canadian Institute of Diversity and Inclusion"]
We've got to admire the amount of effort that the Canadian Institute of Diversity and Inclusion have gone to to create the gayest Olympics advert ever. The group aim to promote equality and understanding within Canada, but have now set their sights on Russia. We'll certainly never be able to look at Luge in the same way.
[part title="The World's Authors Unite"]
An open letter appeared in British newspaper, the Guardian, on Thursday in which 200 prominent authors from around the world united to decry the situation in Russia as well as the repeated attacks on free speech in the country.
The newspaper has also recently changed its logo to the rainbow colours in solidarity with the LGBT community. While the list of authors maybe longer than the letter itself, it offers a powerful warning to Putin's Russia and criticises the 'chokehold' that has been placed on the 'right to express oneself freely in Russia'.
The letter has been signed by literary stars such as Salman Rushdie and Margaret Atwood.
[part title="The German Olympic Union"]
Aesthetically, the German Olympic uniforms have divided opinion. Some people just can't handle so many colours in such a tight concentration - something to do with not having enough cones in their eyes we think.
What it looks like to us at MPORA is a rainbow, an LGBT rainbow in fact. The German Olympics Sports Confederation have disputed that there's any political message behind the design with one spokesperson, Christian Klause, saying that "the uniforms are not in protest," adding that "this is just a fashionable jacket." He's clearly not being serious.
[part title="Principle 6 Clothing"]
American Apparel has joined Google in bringing the Olympic Charter into the debate on gay rights at the Winter Olympics. They've launched a range of clothing called Principle 6 which shows solidarity with the repressed and marginalised minorities in Russia who enjoy 'non-traditional relations.'
An American Apparel statement said: "The principle 6 campaign uses the language of the Olympic Charter to allow athletes and fans to speak out against this discrimination during the Sochi Games without violating Russian anti-gay laws or violating the Olympic ban on political speech."
The clothing is available with a Russian message and has been endorsed by the model Cara Delevingne.
[part title="Shared Toilets"]
For all the protestations in Russia some things in Sochi seem, well.. a little gay. Much amusement was had by Western journalists arriving in the seaside to resort who discovered that cubicles contained two toilets.
Even stranger is that these shared loos contain a single paper dispenser, surely leading to some awkward reaching over. Unless, and bare with us here, that's not their intended purpose. Maybe the Russian Olympic organisers are adopting a 'don't ask, don't tell' policy and whatever occurs in these unusual toilets just happens.