Map of the World

Take a look at this map.

It’s not pretty, is it? (And I love maps, so that’s saying something.)

Anywhere you see a nation that isn’t green, that’s somewhere that people like me are basically illegal. People like me get killed.

Let’s not be too complacent about the green places, either. I could tell you about the places I’ve been in the United States where I’ve heard the cat calls and threats, directed at me or at other people. Friends of mine, sometimes. Or complete strangers. But mostly, people like me.

Still, I can stay where I am and be, relatively speaking, safe enough. People who live in those orange and red countries, or that big bruise-colored one and the like, may not have the luxury of pulling up stakes and moving.

So, you know, they fake it or die. And faking it, if you ask me (not that you did, but hey, you’re here, so you must be at least a little curious what I think—heaven knows why), is a kind of death in itself.

So you’ll excuse me if I don’t share your enthusiasm about your country’s hockey medal. When people say that things like someone else coming out don’t matter, or that a law in Uganda is none of our business, showing up to or watching a massive quadrennial sporting event (or not) hosted by a country whose leader is throwing queers under the bus to distract from massive corruption and a collapsing economy doesn’t matter, I have to say, yeah.

It does matter.

(And for the person who will inevitably say, “Yes, but a) the United States is guilty of equally heinous atrocities abroad” or b) “there are 17 states in the U.S. where it’s hell being queer so hypocrisy” or c) insert ad hominem “yes but” argument here, let me just cut to the chase and say hooey. Those things are awful, yes, and your bringing them up does nothing to negate the original position. Try harder. Better yet, try telling that to the one who was burned to death by a mob in Nigeria. Or the one who got trampled in Russia, or the transwoman gunned down in D.C.

(You can’t, of course. They’re dead.)