“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
― Edmund Burke
I have been alarmed by the recent reports about the increased abuses that gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered Russians are experiencing. Because of recent political actions in the country, citizens are acting as if they have unrestricted permission to abuse their neighbors in humiliating and violent manners. While some may say that this is happening so far away in Russia, and we can’t do anything, I can’t help but think of the laws different U.S. states are proposing and passing could lead to similar things happening here in our own country.
While some states and countries are finally granting more freedoms and providing safer communities for our LGBT friends and neighbors, other places are becoming more dangerous. What can we do to help?
- Speak up. Yes, some laws in various places are making it a little scary to speak up, but we need to be brave. I am proud to say I knew a man who risked his own security and spoke out against the atrocities being committed in Nazi-occupied Europe. He didn’t have to because the Nazi’s weren’t targeting his people, but he stood up for what was right. He also paid the price–losing friends and being sent to a prison camp. Too bad more people didn’t do the same. He is one of my heroes.
- Sign this petition. I am amazed at the power behind online petitions. More than ever, we are able to send a message that we will not tolerate certain actions and attitudes. It’s unfortunate, but the strongest message we can send anyone is that we will not support you financially if you continue doing what you are doing. The threat of an Olympic boycott could lead to change here.
- Get your friends involved. Mormons Building Bridges, PFLAG, and other organizations are reaching out to people. Let’s use our collective resources to send messages to our friends across the globe. Perhaps our Mormon’s Building Bridges friends could send a message out to their LDS friends in Russia to take action. Perhaps we all could reach out to our friends in places where our rights are being abused to provide encouragement and build a safety network.
As I write this, I can’t help but think of the many comments I have read and heard from good LDS people about gay rights. Too often they fear doing or saying anything because they don’t want others to think they condone “the gay lifestyle.” Well, stop worrying about that and start thinking about the lives you could save. Lives are being lost, and our inability to stand up isn’t helping the situation.
- Dan Savage: Why I’m Boycotting Russian Vodka (towleroad.com)
- Graham Calls for Olympics Boycott (hispanicbusiness.com)
- Don’t Boycott Sochi: Use The Olympics To Change The World (buzzfeed.com)