Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2023-12-13
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

VIEWPOINT The geopolitics of being Brittney Griner
by Rev. Irene Monroe
2022-11-18

This article shared 3584 times since Fri Nov 18, 2022
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email


WNBA All-Star Brittney Griner was arrested a week before Russia invaded Ukraine.

On Feb. 17, the Russian Federal Customs Service detained Griner at Sheremetyevo International Airport for allegedly transporting cannabis-derived vape cartridges in her luggage, and was charged with drug smuggling. Griner said she had no recollection of packing the cartridges and told the judge, "I made an honest mistake, and I hope that in your ruling that it doesn't end my life here." As a strategy, Grinner pled guilty to the charges to expedite her trial, hoping it would open dialogue about a possible prisoner exchange and it'd be her get-out-of-jail card. Also, a guilty plea might gift Griner a lesser sentence and avoid retribution from prison guards while detained. Griner's attorneys have filed an appeal for her nine-year sentence as she serves time in a "gulag-like labor camp."

Tragically, Griner has become a geopolitical pawn for both Russia and the United States, highlighting Putin's ruthlessness and America's hypocrisy—and her problems are compounded by being a Black queer woman.

Why is Brittney in Russia?

Many have questioned why Griner was in Russia in the first place. But the answer is simple: The United States' persistent and systemic gender pay gap affects women in every profession. Griner being in a Russian prison is a direct consequence of the gender-pay disparity that happens even in professional sports.

Since 2016, Griner has played for the Russian oligarch-funded UMMC Ekaterinburg team. The egender salary gap between the WNBA and NBA players is insulting, forcing female players to compete overseas during the offseason to play in Europe, earning them four to five times their U.S. salaries.

The revenue disparity highlights the following: the lack of money poured into women's basketball, unlike in Russia and other European countries, and female players' dependence on supplemental work rather than compensate these professional athletes appropriately.

Geopolitical pawn

Griner is no stranger to Russian basketball enthusiasts. But the deafening silence from the UMMC Ekaterinburg team is hypocritically revealing on many fronts. And Griner's intersectional identities place Griner in the wrong place at the right time during Putin's war against Ukraine.

Griner being an out lesbian is no secret here or in Russia. Russia's notoriously anti-LGBTQ+ laws and attitudes are no secret, too. The UMMC, however, has been able to insulate and protect its queer players. And, the UMMC has not stepped up on Griner's behalf. Some critics contest that Russia's anti-queer propaganda laws are now being used to weaponize and harass LGBTQ+ people, activists, and organizations to deflect attention from the war. Other critics of the UMMC's silence state Griner's utility to the team expired the day she was arrested.

However, where's the LGBTQ+ support for Griner in the states? Many in the LGBTQ+ Black community have expressed dismay at the deafening silence from the larger white LGBTQ+ community. For example, some wonder if professional soccer player Megan Rapinoe were in a Russian prison, if would there be a louder outcry and more robust activism from white queers and organizations. The ongoing effort, however, to bring Griner home has mainly come from African American women. An intersectional and intergenerational group of 1,200 prominent Black women have asked in a letter to Biden and Vice president Kamala Harris to "make a deal" to bring Griner home.

LGBTQ+ people in the United States and Russia are marginalized differently. While Americans can look at Russia's draconian laws and attitudes toward its LGBTQ+ citizens, America isn't looking so good these days. Aside from Florida's "Don't Say Gay Law" passed this year, anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination in the U.S. has taken a hard-right political turn since Trump. With Roe v Wade overturned this year, many of us are worried about what will happen to the goals of reproductive justice, marriage equality, our right to same-gender intimacy, and the fight to combat more than 300 anti-LGBTQ+ legislation bills in 28 states this year alone.

Russia likes to exploit tensions of race and racism in America, especially when it can expose America's hypocrisy as a paragon of democracy on the world stage. It's clear that Brittney is wrongly detained in Russia. However, regarding the number of wrongful convictions, the U.S. leads all nations. The U.S. incarcerates Black and brown people at five times the rate of whites. More than 2,400 people have been exonerated in the United States since 1989.

Who wins the get-out-of-jail card?

Rev. Al Sharpton has asked Biden to arrange for him and a group of faith leaders to meet with Griner, while former NBA player Dennis Rodman said he was going to get her; their hopes have not panned out. Griner, however, is not the only American who's run afoul of Russia's strict drug laws. Last year, Maryland teacher Marc Vogel, 60, was sentenced to 14 years for entering with medical marijuana to treat chronic pain. In 2018, former Marine Paul Whelan, 52, was sentenced to 16 years on suspicion of spying, and there are others. Is Griner a good political bargaining chip? Biden needs the Black vote for re-election and must uphold his promise to Black America. But what will it do for our race relations here?

Moreover, a prisoner swap might encourage more hostage-taking. If there's no trade, then Griner might languish in a Russian prison. Griner's imprisonment has highlighted Russia's and the United States' ongoing power struggle. Also, her marginalized intersectional identities in America—race, class, gender and sexuality—have highlighted the reason why she's over there in the first place.


This article shared 3584 times since Fri Nov 18, 2022
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email

Out and Aging
Presented By

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

WORLD Ugandan law, Japan, Cass report, Tegan and Sara, Varadkar done
2024-04-12
Ugandan LGBTQ+-rights activists asked the international community to mount more pressure on Uganda's government to repeal an anti-gay law that the country's Constitutional Court refused to nullify, PBS reported. Activist ...


Gay News

NATIONAL Trans woman killed, Tenn. law, S. Carolina coach, Evan Low, Idaho schools
2024-04-12
Twenty-four-year-old Latina trans woman and makeup artist Meraxes Medina was fatally shot in Los Angeles, according to the website them, citing The Los Angeles Times. Authorities told the Times they found Medina's broken fingernail and a ...


Gay News

VIEWPOINT Meditation on the killing of journalists
2024-04-11
Trigger warning: I am a journalist and I read newspapers. I've been reading newspapers since I first learned to read. Newspapers were a lively part of the daily life in my family. I even wrote letters ...


Gay News

LPAC, Arizona LGBTQ officials denounce Arizona Supreme Court ruling on abortion
2024-04-10
--From a press release - Washington, DC — Yesterday, in a decision that starkly undermines reproductive freedoms, the Arizona Supreme Court ruled to enforce a 160-year-old law that criminalizes abortion and penalizes healthcare providers who ...


Gay News

Black LGBTQIA leaders applaud U of South Carolina head coach Staley for standing up for trans athlete inclusion
2024-04-08
--From a press release - WASHINGTON — On Sunday, April 7, the University of South Carolina's women's basketball team won the NCAA National Championship. Ahead of the championship game, South Carolina's head coach Dawn Staley made comments in support of transgend ...


Gay News

NAIA bans trans athletes from women's sports
2024-04-08
The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) announced on April 8 that athletes will only be allowed to compete in women's sports if they were assigned female at birth, CBS Sports reported. The NAIA's Council of ...


Gay News

Lambda Legal: NAIA proposed transgender sports ban disappointing, harmful reversal
2024-04-08
Lambda Legal: NAIA Proposed Transgender Sports Ban a Disappointing and Harmful Reversal "The NAIA announcement sends a dangerous message, is inconsistent with the law and science, and undercuts the organization's ...


Gay News

For Deb Robertson, the end-of-life issue is very real
2024-04-07
For just about everyone, life is hard enough. However, talking about ending that life—especially when one is terminally ill—is just as difficult. Ten states have authorized medical aid in dying, although Illinois is not one of ...


Gay News

KFF survey shows extent of LGBT-related discrimination
2024-04-07
KFF—an independent source of health policy research, polling and journalism—released "LGBT Adults' Experiences with Discrimination and Health Care Disparities: Findings from the KFF Survey of Racism, Discrimination, and Health." This ...


Gay News

Lightfoot may be hired to investigate Dolton mayor, trustees
2024-04-06
A group of Dolton trustees is aiming to hire former Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot—who is also an ex-federal prosecutor—to investigate Mayor Tiffany Henyard, media outlets reported. The group wants Lightfoot ...


Gay News

Ugandan court mostly upholds harsh anti-LGBTQ+ law
2024-04-04
On April 3, Uganda's constitutional court refused to annul or suspend an anti-LGBTQ+ law that includes the death penalty for certain same-sex acts, Reuters reported. However, the judicial body voided some provisions that it said were ...


Gay News

DoJ accuses Utah of bias against incarcerated trans woman
2024-04-03
The U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) filed a lawsuit against the State of Utah, including the Utah Department of Corrections (UDOC), alleging violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) ...


Gay News

How safe are we really? A look into Illinois' LGBTQ+ protections as hate rises nationwide
2024-04-02
Illinois has long been known to have some of the strongest LGBTQ+ legal protections in the country. Its first anti-discrimination laws go back several decades, and the state boasts a wide variety of protections of LGBTQ+ ...


Gay News

First of LGBTQ+-owned dispensaries set to open in Northalsted
2024-04-01
By Tatiana Walk-Morris - Since 1970, 3340 N Halsted St. had been the home of the Townhall Pub, the beloved cash-only dive bar known for its tasty drinks and friendly staff. But after Townhall's former owner William Bucholtz passed away ...


Gay News

SAVOR The Inspired Home Show, Uncle Julio's closes, Malort cocktails
2024-03-30
Getting inspired: On March 17-19, The Inspired Home Show—a massive display of current and upcoming products focused on cooking, cleaning, containing and much more—occurred at McCormick Place. Battery-run lawn mowers ...


 


Copyright © 2024 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.

All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 
 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.