LeftOut: Cheering for the Olympics

Susan Bankston 2 thumbRussia and “gay propaganda.”
by Susan Bankston

When your grandmother was a little girl, Adolph Hitler used the 1936 Olympics in Germany to show off how his Aryan kids could beat everyone in feats of physical ability. It backfired like an old Chevy when along came African-American Jesse Owens, who won four gold medals, making Hitler look like a damn fool.

For those seeking justice and being thrilled by irony, it was like recess in heaven.

The thought that it can happen again is the whipped cream on the Olympic cherry pie. Yes indeed, you can bet your best pair of pink boots that at this Olympics everybody will be rooting for the gay athletes so that the Russians will look like damn fools. Darlin’, I am so excited about this prospect that I have to walk sideways to keep from flying.

Illustration by John A. Kwitkoski.
Illustration by John A. Kwitkoski.

The Russian government is banning “gay propaganda” from the Olympics, and it promises that any athlete displaying such propaganda will be disqualified from competing.

Do they know that Olympic figure skater Johnny Weir is coming? And he will be bringing his husband? Weir says he will continue to be gay, even after crossing international borders and six time zones. Do they know that he will be grinning from his butt to his eyebrows when he wins the gold?

No, seriously, do the Russians know that figure skating is in the Olympics? If not, it kinda makes you wish that “painfully stupid” isn’t just a figure of speech—that actual discomfort is involved.

So, I got to wondering: what would be considered “gay propaganda” at the Olympics? I mean, this is Russia. They have a president who goes to the gym every day and wants to be photographed shirtless just a little too often. This leads me to think that maybe they don’t even know what gay propaganda is.

So, as a helpful guide to athletes who may not be fully informed on their gay propaganda signs, I have lovingly made a list of The Ten or So Gay Propaganda Signs.

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Ten or So Gay Propaganda Signs Not Allowed at the Olympics:

• New event:  Broadway Theater Ski Jumping. We’re not sure of the rules yet, but tight pants will be involved.
• The words “fabulous,” “hunka-hunka,” and “sweetie.” (“Do you want fries with that?” and “Welcome to WalMart” are still considered strongly heterosexual propaganda.)
• Plaid opening-ceremony uniforms.
• Hunting for pro-biotic fast food in Olympic Village.
• Oh my God, it’s a Village and there’s People. You know what that means!
• Cats.
• Any communication that starts with, “Hey, Girl . . .” No, no, wait. Sorry, wrong list. That’s Ryan Gossling propaganda signs.
• Body glitter (only in copious amounts).
• Any mention of Beyoncé. Same deal with Rick Perry.
• Topless speed skating: oh yeah, like you can’t already see cold nipples through the tight uniforms.
• Toaster ovens.
• Overly aggressive armadillos. I do not know what that has to do with being gay, but avoiding them seems like a good life choice to me.
• Any sport that involves several men inside a phallic-shaped object rushing dangerously down a hill of slippery ice to a climax of…oops, sorry—bobsled and luge always get me carried away.

This Olympics, I won’t be cheering for America. I will be cheering for LGBT athletes around the world, including those in Russia. Let’s win one for the zipper!

Susan Bankston lives in Richmond, Texas, where she writes about her hairdresser at The World’s Most Dangerous Beauty Salon, Inc., at


Susan Bankston

Susan Bankston lives in Richmond, Texas, where she writes about her hairdresser at The World’s Most Dangerous Beauty Salon, Inc., at

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