Against the backdrop of increasing, institutionalized homophobia in Russia, I looked for positive and realistic images of LGBT Russians. As a photography historian and film curator, I am aware of the potency of visual representation -- the affirming power of self-representation in particular.
I refuse to give my dollars to a country that diminishes free speech and basic humanity. So while I hope that the Olympic field of competition is fuller than ever, I also hope that the stadium is emptier, the profits at hotels and restaurants smaller, and the lines to buy souvenirs shorter.
Online commenters' shock and outrage mingled with genuine confusion as to how Russia could be so backward at a moment when the rest of the world -- and particularly the U.S. -- was making strides on gay rights.
Homophobia is a mark of failing nations. Even in America, it is the emblem of poor, second-tier states. It is the signpost of inferior cities that perpetually fail to reach their potential and can't figure out why.