Wednesday, February 12, 2014

PSA: CIDI Luge Controversy

Last week, the Canadian Institute of Diversity and Inclusion (CIDI), a Toronto-based equality rights organization, has launched a controversial LGBT PSA just in time for the Olympics, claiming the games have “always been a little gay.”


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The PSA features two men in black spandex suiting up for a doubles luge run, then rocking back and forth against each other in slow-motion before launching down the track. The 30-second PSA – set to Human League’s 1982 hit “Don’t You Want Me” – concludes with the line: “The games have always been a little bit gay. Let’s fight to keep them that way.” Many may think that the song may be a salute to the Olympian’s ongoing desire for acceptance and recognition, but the song has been considered by some to be an anthem for the gay population. In fact, according to the blog Façade Treatment, the song ranks number 7 among the top anthems for the gay population.



“The discrimination in Russia is unacceptable,” says Michael Bach, Founder and CEO of the CIDI, “As an organization, we want to show our support, especially for the athletes competing at the Olympics in Sochi.”


Bach says that the PSA was created as a response to the perceived ongoing discriminatory practices in Russia. He notes that the ad was designed to illustrate support for all athletes competing in Sochi. In fact, the ad has stated that, “Win or lose, whether you are gay or straight, the fight for equality or human rights is an ongoing one that outweighs the pursuit of a gold medal.”


The cheeky PSA has not been universally acclaimed. Many on social media – including on YouTube, where it has been seen more than four million times – said it mocked athletes. Some commenters who identified themselves as gay said the ad made them uncomfortable in the way it sexualized the sport.


The games opened February 7, and with commentators such as openly gay US figure skater Johnny Weir offering their insights into the Olympics and the athletes, it’s certain that the controversy surrounding the anti-propaganda laws about homosexuality will only be further fueled by ads such as the one that aired from the Canadian Institute of Diversity and Inclusion.


Tell Keywest what you thought of the PSA.


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The CIDI is also inviting the public to show their support for equality during the games by changing your Facebook profile picture to the silhouette of two lugers forming the equals symbol.


Sources: CIDI, The Globe and Mail, and Guardian Liberty Voice