After winning gold medals in the World Track and Field Championship in Moscow, Russian athletes, Kseniya Ryzhova and Tatyana Firova, kissed on the winners podium. However, Russian officials have been speculating if the kiss was just plain ‘ole sportsmanship, or “gay propaganda.”
Once the two won the 4x400 relay, photos of Ryzhova and Firova showed them hugging and pecking on the track. But the runners made heads turn after kissing on the winner’s podium.
Ryzhova and Firova smooching and hugging it up on the track!
While neither of the runners has issued a statement about the kiss, Russia’s sports minister, Vitaly Mutko, compared homosexuality to illegal substance abuse. As Mutko says, “We want to prevent the young generation, whose psyche has not been formulated. We want to protect them against drunkenness, drugs, and non-traditional sexual relations. We want them to grow up and when they become adults, they have to define what they want.”
Yep, Mutko, I always think of sexual orientation in relation to drug abuse. It all makes so much sense now!
The kiss is getting so much attention due to Vladimir Putin’s anti-gay law, which systemically stigmatizes gays, and bans children from knowing about homosexuality. With this law in place, those who provide info to minors about the LGBT community, or hold gay pride rallies, can be charged with a very large fine.
In a separate protest for Russia’s anti-gay law, Swedish high jumper Emma Green-Tregaro competed while wearing rainbow-colors on her nails. She was later told that her nail colors violated her team’s code of conduct, and changed her polish to red.
Russia’s laws on the gay community are completely absurd, causing LGBT communities to fight back because of the hate they’ve been receiving. LGBT activists are already calling for a boycott of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics. Russia’s LGBT community is also receiving support from celebs like Tilda Swinton. Back in the early July 2013, Swinton was pictured holding a rainbow flag in front of the Moscow Kremlin, with the statement, “In solidarity. From Russia with love.”
All in all, I think the kiss could be used as a tactic for supporting the LGBT community. Maybe the pair are actually in love, or it could’ve been a victory kiss. Who knows! Until we hear from the runners themselves, the public is free to think (and apparently harshly judge) whichever they want. I mean why wouldn’t they want to show each other some kissing action? They’re both gawwgeous!
Thanks to The Advocate, MSNBC, ESPN, The Guardian, and The Advocate
Photos via The Advocate and Twitter