I’ll be watching Olympics despite the anti-gay law

Mo Farrah after missing out on a gold medal
				 Picture: Adam Davy

VERITY LUSH: Leave me to browse the make-up counter in peace

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Change is a little bit terrifying, isn’t it?

I’m not sure I’ve met anyone who embraces it without a frisson of fear as well as excitement.

Fearing the unknown – and the different – has kept the human race healthy across the millennia.

We’re afraid of the dark because things that may do us harm lurk in the shadows. We stick to the safe path in case evil awaits should we step off it.

There’s a reason why the Brothers Grimm wrote fairytale upon fairytale about sticking to the path and not venturing into the forest – you might get eaten.

That’s all well and good, but what happens when you constantly take the safe route, stick to the familiar and never venture off the path?

Is it really a case of better the devil you know than the one you don’t?

Well, not really. Let’s take Sochi and the Winter Olympics, which opened officially on Friday.

On that day Google turned its logo rainbow-coloured to mark the occasion, while Channel 4 not only painted its 4 statue outside its offices a rainbow pattern, but also showed a rainbow prism in the ad breaks, saying the channel has always taken risks.

The risk the broadcaster – and the internet giant – is taking is in pointing out the inherent homophobia in Russia.

An anti-gay law is in force, and officials maintain there are no gay people in Sochi, despite there being a popular and easy-to-find gay bar in the resort town.

I suppose the reason for the emphatic denial is that homosexual people have, for too long, been seen as different and as something to be feared.

Changing the way they are viewed, despite pressure internationally from gay rights groups, politicians, companies like Google and the media, would be too scary.

So the status quo is maintained, a basic human right to have a relationship with a person of the same sex and not be jailed for it is denied, and the country doesn’t move forward.

I’m a huge fan of sport and I’ll be watching the Winter Olympics. But I also hope that athletes who would be openly gay at home don’t feel the need to hide away while there. They don’t need that added pressure.