“Russia must drop its ban on a LGBT Pride House at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. The IOC should enforce the Olympic Charter and compel Russia to allow a Pride House for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) athletes.”
This appeal comes from protesters who picketed the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics Exhibition in Kensington Gardens, London, today, Thursday 9 August.
“London 2012 has a LGBT Pride House but Russia won’t allow one at Sochi. This ban is part of a wider crackdown on LGBT communities and visibility in Russia. It is an attack on freedom of expression and association, and coincides with new laws in several parts of Russia that ban so-called homosexual propaganda,” said Peter Tatchell, Director of the Peter Tatchell Foundation and coordinator of Thursday’s protest. “We have written to the IOC, urging them to intervene. Russia’s gay ban is contrary to the equality and non-discrimination provisions of the Olympic Charter. The IOC is duty-bound to require Russia to permit a LGBT Pride House,” he said.
Other participants in the protest echoed Mr Tatchell’s concerns.
Rakshita Patel, from the Peter Tatchell Foundation, added: “It is really important for LGBT athletes to have a safe, welcoming space – with their friends and family – especially in countries like Russia where the atmosphere is currently very homophobic.”
Megan Worthing-Davies of Pride Sports (UK), said: “The laws being used to forbid Pride House in Sochi are immoral, unfair and archaic. We call on Russia to repeal this ban.”
Carl Shultz, from the Federation of Gay Games, concluded: “Pride House reflects the equality principles of the Gay Games and the Olympic Charter. The Russian judicial authorities that rendered the Sochi ban contradict the modern trend to equality and the Olympic ideal.”
Thursday’s protest was supported by:
Pride Sports (UK)
The European Gay & Lesbian Sport Federation
The Federation of Gay Games
The Gay and Lesbian International Sport Association
Peter Tatchell Foundation