And we are all terrified (but in a good way)

I have been witness to a lot of happy dances this week. I’ve “liked” an obscene number of Facebook statuses. I’ve high fived and comforted and clinked glasses with many excited-slash-nervous students–my friends for the last four years. Everyone’s too tired from the essays and exams to really process that they’re graduating, that this is it. We all talk about it like we know what it means, but we all have no idea. We’re excited, definitely, but we have no idea.

I sit in the student bar, splitting a pitcher, smiling, counting the days, complaining about the weather. I’m not graduating. I have a semester left in my program, thanks to co-op. I graduate next winter, maybe even next spring. I’m just a cheerleader in the middle of this mass exodus. And that’s a big difference, no doubt. A girl I met in residence, who grew so close we even road tripped to my parents’ house, is moving to New Brunswick with her boyfriend soon. Another good friend, an old University roommate, just celebrated her acceptance to grad school. She’s moving. She’s going to be a teacher.

A lot of people are going to be teachers. Or lawyers, or people-with-Masters-degrees. Or they’re just going to find a job, travel some, hope that they’re enough for whatever system they’re thrown into. People are moving to Toronto, to Montreal, to wherever they got accepted. Some are just going “home.”

I wonder how, after 4 years of University, anyone really knows where “home” is.

The people with plans and grad school acceptance letters seem very comfortable with the whole thing. They have a next step in the foreseeable future, and that’s great. I’m happy for them, and I’m jealous of them, and–deep down, really deep down–I’m quite okay with not being them.

Plans and I don’t have the best history. It’s always been about more about possibilities than plans.

Everyone is tired. I see the congratulatory hugs, the crying fits from rejection letters, cheerful bursts of “YOU GUYS, I just finished the last class of my University career EVER.” It’s exciting, it’s anti-climactic, and it must be exhausting. No one knows how to express what they’re feeling. They don’t know who they can relate to. They don’t know if they’re doing it right, if they did it right, if they’re going to do it right. They just know they’re done. They’re staring down the barrel of “So, sweetie, what are your plans after you graduate?”

I feel like I’m cheating the system somehow, by not graduating at the same time as everyone else, by not having a concrete plan for when I do. But I know it’s always been more about possibilities than plans. I like that. Possibilities have more room to move than plans. They’re more fun to chase, easier to move on from. I’m surrounded by them. We all are, and that makes us damn lucky.

And maybe that’s what people are having trouble expressing. The fact that University was one massive possibility, and we picked it, and we’re going to finish it. The fact that there were a million different possibilities within that University–programs, courses, people, dates, clubs, crams, apartments, attitudes. We tried them out. Stuff happened. We learned which possibilities work for us…and which ones really don’t.

And now–at least in a way, at least for some of us–it’s over. Those possibilities are gone. They’re replaced with a million more possibilities, this time in the real world, and that’s awesome slash scary. It’s scary for the people navigating falliable “plans,” and it’s scary for the people grasping at “now what”s. It’s scary for the ones leaving and the ones left behind.

Of course it is.

Possibilities are overwhelming. Watching a possibility become reality can feel surreal.  The thought that the possibility you’ve been dreaming about and working towards might not happen is horrifying. And, of course, there are a million more possibilities where that one came from.

But knowing these people who are graduating, knowing what they’re capable of, knowing how much they care…I can only imagine what kind of badassery will come out of the right person meeting the right possibility. I’m excited. I’m scared.

But I think we’re terrified in a good way.

 

Our kids are learning a new definition of “Let it go” (and it’s the best thing ever)

There’s an unspoken deal between me and my Sunday school students: If they’re doing any sort of craft or activity, the Frozen soundtrack needs to be playing in the background. It’s important to them. They adore the songs, and so do I (or maybe I just like seeing how much they adore the songs). And, of course, they belt out “Let It Go” with the passion that can only be found in a Disney-infused 8 year old.

let it go

(It’s basically this, all the time.)

For those of you who haven’t heard the single (and suffered the inevitable weeks of song-in-head syndrome) or seen the movie, it goes something like this:

“Don’t let them in, don’t let them see
Be the good girl you always have to be
Conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them know”
Well now they know

Let it go, let it go
Can’t hold it back anymore

Let it go, let it go
Turn away and slam the door
I don’t care what they’re going to say
Let the storm rage on.
The cold never bothered me anyway

Context: Queen-to-be Elsa is cursed to turn everything she touches into ice.  She lives in hiding for years and years to spare the world from her so-called destructive quality. When the curse which she has suppressed for so many years is unleashed, she “can’t hold it back anymore” and begins a process of  embracing who she is and the curse she has (first by running away, then eventually by using the power of love to use her so-called curse to save the day).

November 1st, 2013 @ 20:49:52

My girls sing this song, and I can’t help but smile. Not because I think running away and locking yourself away with your problems is a good move, but I am so grateful that they’re learning this definition of  the words “let it go.”

Because you know what definition I learned?

I learned that “let it go” was synonymous with “behave.” These were words I heard when I happened to be sad about something longer than I was supposed to be (God forbid!).” Or when I cared about something more than I should. When I was suffering. When I needed to pretend something wasn’t bothering me.

“Let it go” was  always about hiding. For those three words to become a call to emotional honesty and an empowerment of true identity…that’s huge. It’s huge for my students, and it’s huge for me.

Essentially, the “IT” in let it go has changed.

When I was growing up, let it go = let go of your feelings, let go of your history, let go of your dreams, let go of your true self.

For the Frozen generation, let it go = let go of expectations, let go of trying to please everyone, let go of hiding. Oh, and love everyone else through their truth, too.

Guess which one is a way, way better message for our kids?

Watching those same words which used to assault me into “moving on” encourage my students to move inward and to express themselves? Beautiful. Just beautiful.

Frozen soundtrack, you are welcome in my classroom any day.

Andrew W.K. sends Shaunanagins a shout out!

Just got a party-hardy shoutout from Andrew WK himself!

My friend Mark met Andrew WK (who I’ve chatted with on Twitter) today, and he wanted to send Shaunanagins a shoutout. According to my friend: “It was his idea.  He said you can post it on your blog if you want. Or not…”

Um, YES.

(Oh, and to endorse him right back, Andrew WK is playing Maverick’s tonight. Consider checking it out if you’re in Ottawa!)

 

The #nomakeupselfie is still a beauty contest. And I’m not playing.

I was nominated three or four times for the #nomakeupselfie. The women who nominated me are wonderful people (this has nothing to do with them), but I have to be honest: for the first time in a long time, I felt insecure about my face. 

This was weird for me. I like my face–it’s not perfect, but it’s mine. I like sometimes dressing it up with makeup. I like washing it off before bed. And I’m usually on board with the idea that “everyone is beautiful just the way they are.”

But suddenly, uncomfortably, my face needed to “get naked” to prove it.

What’s worse, I would have to “get naked” online, plastered alongside everyone else. They looked so pretty in their well-posed no makeup selfies–good lighting, good angle, right time of day. Meanwhile, I was sleep deprived and had a couple massive chin breakouts. If I supported “natural beauty” (and cancer research, apparently?), I needed to find a way to take an attractive looking picture of myself without makeup. In fact, I needed to do it within 24 hours. My typical confidence, my knowledge that skin clears up, my comfort with and without makeup–it all buckled once the expectation hit me.

Just like that, a well-intended “natural beauty” project quickly became an intimidating unofficial “natural beauty” contest.

Being free of makeup doesn’t free us of our desire to be beautiful on society’s terms–if it did, we wouldn’t care about the “likes” on our #nomakeupselfies. We wouldn’t be complimenting each other’s naked faces, we wouldn’t have taken 40 snapshots before finding a so-called natural photo that makes us feel pretty. Creating a “go naked or go home” regulation doesn’t really do much but suggest that if you don’t look and feel good without makeup, something is wrong with you and your self-perception. It doesn’t remove expectations of “beauty,” but adds to them: now you have to achieve these standards au naturel or you’re not “real.”

That seems wrong to me.

It’s easy for a healthy, attractive 20-something girl with flowing hair to take a #nomakeupselfie and claim that she’s promoting natural beauty. But we’re totally kidding ourselves if we think that posting pictures of these women being beautiful without any “aids” will in any way encourage those who are truly overwhelmed by society’s expectations.

Like, say, the transgendered woman who uses makeup to express her identity. Or the burn victim who prefers to cover up scars. Or even the cancer patients so unwittingly tied up in this trend–cancer patients whose treatments radically change their appearance, and who are often helped astronomically in the morale department by tools like wigs, makeovers, spa treatments, and friendships in the “beauty” community.  People shouldn’t be demeaned for finding comfort in these therapies. Who decided that beauty is only “real” if it’s “natural”?

I call bullshit. Beauty is “real” if you say it is. If, for you, that involves walking around with no makeup on, completely embracing physical signs and symptoms of whatever you have going on, then mad respect. But if that involves a little lipstick, or a post-chemo wig…who am I to judge that?

Perhaps my friend Niki said it best in her post on the subject: “The challenge we should be issuing isn’t “Real women” or “no make-up” (because that also assumes that only women face appearance pressures), the challenge we should be issuing is “What Makes You Happy.” Nevermind changing society, change you – do what makes you happy.”

A high majority of women (upwards of 97%) say that looking good makes them feel good. I’m not going to argue that this is wrong or bad, and I’m certainly not going to deny this to people who are struggling with their health. It is not up to us to judge or police how someone looks or feels good. People should be allowed to reject or conform to “normalized” concepts of beauty and gender if they so choose.

And either way, I don’t see how the #nomakeupselfie challenges any of those conceptions by replacing lipstick with good lighting and suggesting that it is “different” or “abnormal” to take a picture of yourself without makeup. As an example, here’s a selfie I took on a completely unrelated occassion:

 

nomakeup

If this is beautifulit’s probably partially because I was happy/excited/exhausted…but also because the angle was good, because my hair was styled in a messy ponytail, and because I took like 20 pictures before finding one I liked. There are other pictures that could be considered “beautiful” because I decided to use my face as canvas, and still others which aren’t particularly “beautiful” at all, depending on your definition. That’s okay. My pictures aren’t me. They are 2 dimensional pieces of art that I create to capture a moment. They don’t define my worth.

And I won’t be entering them in any beauty contest.

The Impact of a Single Act of Kindness: OC Transpo Edition

This is a story about an OC Transpo bus driver who made my week.  Like, actually made my week. I’m still significantly happier and better off because of this person, and I figured I should pass on his awesomeness.

As a broke student, losing my bus pass is the worst thing that can happen. Besides my need for daily transportation, I use my plastic pass holder as a stand-in wallet.

bus pass

This little red folder is everything to me–without its contents, I can’t even buy groceries. If I lose it, the best case scenario is that I’m stranded in Vanier, counting change and praying I have enough money/time to bus down to OC Transpo’s awkwardly located Lost & Found.

I assume you see where this is going.

It was Wednesday, March 12 when I lost my bus pass. It was my fault, of course; the pass had fallen out of my pocket while I was riding home, and I didn’t notice until it was too late. To make matters worse, this was particularly bad timing (an out-of-town friend was coming in that night, I had projects due at school, and I had used all my change for this random act of kindness last month). I was stuck.

Then my phone rang. It was my bus driver. He had found my bus pass and, since my business card was stuffed alongside it, he was able to contact me to let me know. The heads up was incredibly kind, but what he offered next was truly above-and-beyond:

“I was just gonna bring it into work tomorrow, but I’m heading out for a bit after dinner. Did you want me to just drop it off with you?”

I was stunned. Seriously? Was this person actually willing to bring my lost bus pass right to my doorstep? Was this real life? He insisted that it wouldn’t be out of his way, and I thanked him repeatedly him over the phone.

Not even an hour later, he was on my doorstep with the little red plastic pass holder that held my life. Every card was still in place. My out-of-town friend gaped as I came back inside. We couldn’t believe it.

The driver who came to my rescue had such a cheery disposition, so willing to do something nice for someone else. There was no awkward speech about how I should watch my things, no passive aggression, no expectation that I grovel in exchange for my bus pass. Instead, this man just seemed genuinely happy to help.

This attitude and gesture left a profound mark. This past week, I have actively tried to be less naggy and more giving. If this complete stranger could forgive my absentmindedness and kindly help to minimize the damage, then surely I could be more understanding and helpful to my friends or my roommates. By going out of his way for someone, and by showing so much joy in doing so, this bus driver started a pretty great chain of kindness and positivity. He also made the City of Ottawa look really, really good to my out-of-town friend (who left with a great impression, and is now considering moving here).

I am so proud to live in a city with kind people in the driver’s seat (literally).

The Biggest Mistake We Make With Each Other.

I have a challenge for you.

I want you to think about the industrialized world (you know, the one you live in, where you use money for stuff) in two categories:

The first is services. The second is products.

Think about what you spend money on. Think about what you do for work. Think about that really awesome business idea you and your buddies came up with around last call that would totally make you millionaires.

I want you to close your eyes (actually don’t do that, then you can’t read) and think about the difference between the products and the services involved in all those industries.

A product “is anything that can be offered to a market that might satisfy a want or need.” Anything. Products are things. Products can be owned.

A service is an action or process that a person or business provides to another. A service cannot be owned. Providing a service is something a person does, not something they are.  Here, we are selling an non-tangible action, not an object.

For example: In music, a service would be performing a concert; a product would be the recorded CD of that concert. In finance, a product would be a bank account while a service would be a personal tax consultation. In education, teaching is a service while learning software and textbooks are products.

Human beings, fundamentally, are service providers. People may provide services that result in products, but they should never be products themselves. It would be offensive for us to treat them that way, wouldn’t it?

As such, any industry which appears to be selling people as a product deserves serious scrutiny.

trade

paris hilton

picked

Picked. Traded. Owned. Branded.

We use a lot of “product” words to talk about certain people in our society.

It isn’t surprising that we do this. We seem to think we’re some highly evolved society, that we have somehow figured out how to properly humanize people. We haven’t. Only a few centuries ago, we were explicitly buying and selling people as slaves.  This means that our capitalist system has a major history of people-as-products, one which persists in ways which are obvious (human trafficking, for example) and not-so-obvious (celebrity culture, college sports, the deifying of religious leaders, etc).

I’m sure there are also hundreds of human nature-y reasons why we might objectify people. Sometimes, we look up to someone (or the idea of someone) so much that we almost literally want to own a piece of them. Other times, we recognize that people can serve a purpose in our lives and “use” them in that way.

But when objectification becomes the cornerstone of entire industries, when we turn people into sellable products, wow. 

That’s really bad.

Perhaps the worst part is that we have created a world where becoming a product is glamourizedThat’s success, right? Isn’t being contractually tied to a company a good thing, a secure thing? Isn’t being a cover girl, a professional athlete, or a figurehead something to be sought after?

As long as those are jobs, as long as they are services that a human being is providing in good faith, then fine. Fine. But when being owned becomes our definition of success, something is terribly wrong. When people are becoming products because it’s the only way they feel like they can be seen (and hey, don’t we all want to be seen sometimes?) or loved or wanted, something is terribly wrong.

So keep your eyes open, friends. Keep looking for people who are being treated as products, for human beings who are being bought, sold, and owned.  Watch out for that product-centric language that we use so often when talking about people, especially those in the spotlight or who “serve a purpose” (yuck).

It happens more frequently than we think and, in my opinion, it’s the biggest mistake we make with each other.

In Defence of Playing Dress Up

Lately, I’ve been thinking about my makeup habits a lot.

Why do I wear this stuff? How I justify hauling a “mask” of sorts around town? What am I trying to prove? What am I trying to hide? 

While sometimes the answer is “Um, obviously you’re trying to hide that pimple, Shauna,” I have realized that these questions as a whole are flawed. My makeup isn’t really a mask.

IMG_8802Story time.

Growing up, my mother rarely wore makeup. She was a low-maintenance country girl and, perhaps more importantly, she had four little people to look after. I was the oldest of these, and the only girl.

On very special occasions, my mother would unleash the mystical cosmetics bag. I would watch, fascinated, as she expertly curled her lashes and powdered her face with whatever-that-stuff-was. She would share her eye shadow with me (just a little bit, just for fun) and I would giggle as I buried my little feet in her size-8 shoes.

Dress up was one of my favourite games.

My day-to-day makeup free momma was no more or less beautiful than the date night version, and she was certainly no more or less my momma. Still, I really dug the special-occasions grooming process. I loved watching my mother ceremonially draw on her face before leaving us with the babysitter. Once, in one of my most embarrassing moments ever, I even stole red nail polish from my her bathroom and tried to use it as lipstick.

(Wait. Let’s just take a moment to reflect on how stupid that was.)

Fast forward through a few face paint faux pas and the turtleneck-centric middle school years, and I found myself in the dress up big leagues. High school meant my choices were endless and personal. It also meant that the factors influencing those choices were complicated. I had more self to express, more peers to please, more categories and clothes and I finally got my ears pierced. 

So I shaved my head, then dyed my hair brown for awhile. I went through everything from au naturel months, to questionably bold colours, earthy tones, pinkish glows, red lipsticks. I wore cowboy boots. I wore sneakers. I wore huge hoop earrings and tiny necklaces. I stole (borrowed?) my mother’s nail polish once again, and actually managed to finally use it right.

This was dress up. This was the same game my mother played when she got ready for a night on the town. The same game I played as a giggly little kid, stumbling around in mom’s shoes with 20 different barrettes falling out of my hair. 

…and it’s the game I play now, as I try on my third outfit and rush through my current eyeliner-infused routine each morning.

And so the questions follow:

Why do I keep playing this game? Am I trying to be something I’m not?

Hardly.

Actually, as I look back on my life, it appears to be quite the opposite: Dress up isn’t about denying who I am. It is a part of who I am.

Is part of the motive to look pretty? Of course it is. I felt pretty in my twenty barrettes when I was five, in my vintage earrings and cowboy boots at 16, and in my big-kid makeup yesterday. No, I don’t believe I owe it to anyone to be consistently attractive (though for some people that’s a thing, and it shouldn’t be). I just believe that feeling pretty feels good. work really freakin’ hard to be beautiful on the inside (is that weird and/or vain to say?), and sometimes it’s nice to feel like my face is a part of that. 

Do I try to look pretty for other people sometimes? Of course I do (‘sup, hormones?). But I also try to act nice and be funnier and listen better. Highlighting your best qualities isn’t a bad thing. And getting your game face on (literally) isn’t a bad thing either, not really.

Dress up doesn’t have to be about changing who we are. It can be about expressing and highlighting who we are, where we are, how we are. We just have to own the game.

You’re allowed to wear whatever makes you most comfortable. If that means sweat pants (helloooo Thursday night Netflix!), then great. If that means covering blemishes and highlighting features with a so-called mask of colours and chemicals, then cool.

As for me? Well, I’m just going to stick with what dress up means to me today: Reddish lipstick, blue jeans, and unmatching socks.

IMG_0793(2)Classy is as classy does, folks.

I’m a mess. And that’s okay.

I feel fake.

Not all the time.  But lately, at least on the internet, I feel like I’ve been putting my “best self” forward. And that’s fine, I guess. But it’s not particularly genuine.

I have business cards! I was at an awards show! I wrote some stuff, and people read it!

I’m proud of all those things, I really am. And I’m glad I can share them. But between the collection of #humblebrags, the over-edited status updates, and the filter-on instagram version of my life….

I mean, it looks like I’m the kind of person who puts on pants before noon. Who watches intellectual TED talks, instead of mindlessly binging on Dr. Phil.  Who always, always gets along with her picture-perfect family.

And that’s simply not true.

1939781_677342468978693_1865372605_n

So here’s the reality, friends:

I’m insecure, overzealous, and uncoordinated. I swear, sometimes when I shouldn’t (sorry, mom).  I don’t exercise enough…unless you count running late, I guess. I make jokes that aren’t funny, and I laugh at them. Out loud.

(Yeah. I’m that person.)

I suffer from foot in mouth syndrome, fear of missing out syndrome, there-are-always-clothes-on-my-floor syndrome. I also make up syndromes a lot, apparently.  I’m messy. I play mind games without meaning to, mostly with myself.  Sometimes, I have trouble being happy for people.  I can be a bad listener–or worse, a good listener but  a terrible responder.   I am sensitive to a fault; I use big words when I do not need to; if there is a mirror nearby I will be looking at myself.  I’m kind of awkward. Definitely impulsive.  Occasionally preachy. I don’t know how to hide irritation, even when I should. I cry at commercials, laugh when I’m nervous, and rarely think before I speak.

I’m a mess. And that’s okay.

It’s not that I’m proud of these qualities. Not even a little bit. But I’m not ashamed to recognize them, either.  They mean I’m here, I’m awake, I’m aware, I’m human, and I’m trying to be better.  They mean that even through imperfection–serious, serious imperfection–I can still live, love, and be loved.  We all can. And we can love other people through their not-so-perfect, too.

That’s amazing.

The judgement machine of the online world sometimes makes that difficult, I know. We put a filter on everything. We compare our everyday lives to everyone else’s “greatest hits” (thanks, Facebook).  We blog about the times we win, not the times we lose. We talk about the times we have been wronged, not the times we wronged others. We manufacture our own stories in which we are the heroes.

But we aren’t heroes. We’re People. We make choices. We have personalities. We have bad habits and imperfect histories and honestly, we’re pretty boring most of the time.

may-your-life-someday-be-as-awesome-as-you-pretend-it-is-on-facebook-520x357

So let’s take solace in the fact that we won’t always be perfect.  The fact that we will annoy people. We will try to be helpful and it won’t work. We will apply for jobs and not get them.  We will suffer failed relationships, send regrettable text messages, and come in last place.

I’ll be a mess. You’ll be a mess. We’ll be a mess. And that’s okay.

Life isn’t about being perfect every time you show up–life is about showing up, period.  And tomorrow is about being a better you than you were today. If we were perfect today, then tomorrow would be pretty boring.

(And right now, by pretending I have it all together, by pretending it’s only smiles and professionalism and good news, my internet-self is probably pretty boring. Hopefully this helps to keep it real.)

Love.

20 Reasons Valentine’s Day Actually DOESN’T Suck. (Really. Seriously.)

Originally posted on Shaunanagins:

Who the heck likes Valentine’s Day? You know, the most commercial, AND emotionally loaded, AND consistantly disappointing, AND painfully corny of all “holidays.”

I know I didn’t. I didn’t like it at all. When I was a single teenager, I found it stupid.  When I was a coupled young adult, I found it stupider. But these last few years as a single young adult? WELL. That’s a different story.

Now, I proudly enjoy Valentine’s Day. Here’s why you should, too:

  1. If you want to watch something romantic and cheesy, you’re TOTALLY ALLOWED. In fact, it’s festive.
  2. If you want to watch a kickass action film, you can to that too. In fact, you’ll look pretty ironic and awesome.
  3. Your excuse to host a fondue party IS RIGHT NOW.
  4. Valentine’s Day memes are fantastic.
    Puritan Valentine's Day cards. The internet wins this round.

    The internet wins this round.

  5. You can dress cutesy. Or sexy. Or wear red/pink/purple/hearts in the…

View original 272 more words

The Real Competition: Canada and Sweden Going For Badass Protesting Gold

Don’t get me wrong–I like hockey and skiing as much as the next person. And I’m excited to see our athletes compete at this year’s games.

But, let’s be honest…if you want to see the real nationalistic sportiness this year, you should probably turn your attention to the protests against Russia’s controversial anti-gay laws.

Which country will prove itself to be the most progressive? The most viral?  The most creative?

As of today, two countries seem to in the lead for their efforts. Let’s check out the lead contenders, shall we?

Team Canada

Major Canadian cities banded together to raise rainbow-coloured flags in solidarity with the LGBT cause during this year’s games.  And don’t even think about crossing Ottawa’s mayor Jim Watson on the matter:

mayor

The Canadian Institute of Diversity and inclusion also created this very homoerotic (yes, you read that right) advertisement against LGBT discrimination at the Olympics. After being picked up by websites like Buzzfeed, the video now has over a million views:


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Oh, and let’s not forget that 4,880 people have already signed this petition to get the CN Tower lit up with Pride colours. (And 4,779 of those aren’t even me!)

petitionYour move, Sweden.

Team Sweden

What happens when you teach 2,000 Swedish LGBT activists the Russian national anthem? This, apparently:


.
All, all, all the feelings.

Swedish activists get pretty sassy with their protests. After winning this “Lovie” award for their social media campaign against the LGBT ban in Russia, Stockholm Pride decided it belonged with the man who started their efforts.  So they added the words “to a man with a heart of stone, here’s a heart of gold,” and sent it directly to Vladmir Putin.

lovie

Oh, and the crosswalk in front of the Russian Embassy in Sweden? Yeah. They added a little colour to that, too.

crosswalk

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Other contenders to watch for…

Team Holland

In the first major display of Olympian protest on the matter, Dutch snowboarder Cheryl Maas shared her Olympic spotlight with these stylin’ rainbow gloves:

dutch

Team USA

President Obama seemed to be making a statement about Russia’s laws when he did this:USA

Additionally, American activists have been nothing short of creative with this issue. My personal favourite? This video made by big Broadway stars (the likes of Harvey Fierstein, Andrew Rannells, Michael Urie, Roger Rees, Jonathan Groff, Laura Benanti) pokes fun at the ridiculousness of anti-gay legislation by answering the question “What would happen if you took the gay out of Broadway?”

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Let the games begin!