Russia’s anti-gay laws that promise to send anyone who promotes homosexuality to prison have become a shield for neo-Nazi groups and other homophobes who have taken the law into their own hands by beating, torturing, and murdering anyone who seems anything but heterosexual.
All over the world people have been calling on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to oppose these laws, and have demanded that the 2014 Winter Olympics be moved from Sochi, Russia to a place where all athletes are accepted. The IOC has declared that after speaking with Russian authorities they have been assured that, while in Sochi, Olympic athletes and fans would be exempt from the anti-gay laws. However, the Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said that is not so. He expressed that Olympic athletes and fans must respect the host country’s anti-gay laws. In addition, Russia’s Interior Ministry stated that the anti-gay laws will be enforced during the Olympic Games in Sochi.
It’s obvious that no matter how the IOC tries to assure LGBT people and their supporters about their safety during the Olympics, LGBT people are just not welcome or safe in Russia. The IOC’s assurancse will not prevent Russian thugs from kidnapping, beating, and possibly murdering anyone who appears to be gay.
Find out what the IOC has to say, and what needs to be done, on the next page…
An IOC spokesperson responded to whether or not athletes would be allowed to wear rainbow pins or hold hands during the ceremony, or if a “safe place” will be provided for LGBT athletes and their fans, by saying, “[T]he IOC has a clear rule laid out in the Olympic Charter (Rule 50) which states that the venues of the Olympic Games are not a place for proactive political or religious demonstration. This rule has been in place for many years and applied when necessary.” According to Rule 50 of the IOC’s charter, “No kind of demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda is permitted in any Olympic sites, venues or other areas.”
Obviously, the IOC has opted to take sides with Russia, instead of defending and protecting LGBT athletes. This is clearly a double standard as it relates to the acceptance of all athletes. A few years ago, the IOC did not find The Pride House in Vancouver’s provision of a safe space for LGBT athletes from around the world a violation of Rule 50. Now athletes are being forced to take a step backwards to please the host country of the 2014 Olympics. [HP]
Athletes around the world must demand that the IOC Move the Olympics Out of Russia!