Test 2

Please select your preferred language.





Remember Me

New to Fridae?

Fridae Mobile


More About Us

14 Aug 2013

International Olympic Committee asked to clarify position on LGBT participants

The International Olympic Committee has been asked to clarify its recent comments that it will punish athletes who stand up for gay rights in Russia following the Interior Ministry's confirmation that openly gay people attending the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics will be arrested under the country’s draconian new anti-gay law.

In recent weeks, pressure has been mounting on the International Olympic Committee to clarify how Russia’s anti-gay law will be applied during the 2014 Winter Olympic Games to be held 7-23 February in Sochi. Last month, Russia passed a law to ban "propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations around minors" and punishes any instance of it with fines, jail time, and possible deportation. The law effectively bans pride parades, and any public discussion of gay rights and relationships anywhere children might hear it.

LGBT rights activists around the world are now calling for a boycott of the Sochi Winter Olympics or to relocate it to a country that is gay-friendly as well as a boycott of Russian vodka to protest Russia's stance on homosexuality.

The IOC had earlier assured LGBT athletes, coaches, and spectators that they will "work to ensure" that the 2014 Sochi Games will take place "without discrimination", and that they had "received assurances from the highest level of government in Russia that the (anti-gay) legislation will not affect those attending or taking part in the Games."

On Monday, Russia's Interior Ministry, which controls the police force, declared that the country's controversial anti-gay law will be enforced during the Winter Games, reported Russia’s state news agency RIA Novosti.

"The law enforcement agencies can have no qualms with people who harbour a nontraditional sexual orientation and do not commit such acts [to promote homosexuality to minors], do not conduct any kind of provocation and take part in the Olympics peacefully," said an Interior Ministry statement issued on Monday.

In a later report in Gay Star News, the stance of the IOC had changed and that the Committee will punish athletes who stand up for gay rights in Russia. According to the report, the IOC spokesperson said that the “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.”

Those found in violation of Rule 50 can be subject to "disqualification or withdrawal of the accreditation of the person concerned," without any sort of appeal.

Gay Star News added, “Any participant who steps out of line may be punished, not by the Russians but by Olympic chiefs themselves.”

US-based Human Rights First has called on the IOC to clarify its recent statement that suggests that it will punish athletes who stand up for gay rights in Russia. 

“Today’s alleged comments can seriously undermine the positive steps taken by the IOC to get clarification from the Russian government on how the antigay law will be applied during the 2014 Sochi Games,” said Human Rights First’s Innokenty Grekov. “If today’s statement is true, athletes may not only have to worry about the Russian government, but about reprisal from the IOC as well.”

“The Olympic Charter should not be used against those who advocate equality and nondiscrimination,” said Grekov. “The IOC should publicly clarify whether or not athletes showing solidarity with LGBT Russians will be reprimanded.”

Following the recent passage of the anti-gay laws, hate crimes against gay people in Russia have made international headlines. According to the BBC, two brutal murders this year were reported to have homophobic motives even if, as in the case of a young man beaten to death in May in Volgograd, the victim may not actually have been gay.

Gay rights advocate say not only will the anti-gay law effectively ban gay rights rallies and events, it would give Russians carte blanche to attack gays.

Homosexuality was decriminalised after the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union, but President Vladimir Putin has championed socially conservative values and reportedly has close ties with Russian Orthodox Church.

Prominent LGBT rights advocates including British actor and writer Stephen Fry have called for a boycott of the event. President Barack Obama rejected the idea but added that he was deeply offended by Russia's new law cracking down on gay rights activism.

British Prime Minister David Cameron has similarly opposed the idea of a boycott although he said that he shares Fry’s “deep concern about the abuse of gay people in Russia”, and added that attending the games is a better way of tackling prejudice against gays.

Fry conceded that as it was “probably not realistic to call for a move or a boycott,” he suggested athletes make symbolic protests at the games, such as crossing their arms over their chests to “show they are thinking of the gay people of Russia who are being tormented and brutalised every day,” Fry told the BBC.

Reader's Comments

1. 2013-08-15 01:06  
well,well,well I cannot wait to see how this plays out. So, now
gay athletics (out or not) have to be subjected to the IOC's
raft if appearing to protest?? Why don't they just tell the truth.
If you are a foreign national traveling to another country guess
what YOU are subject to that countries laws. The IOC cannot
guarantee protection from law enforcements use of the anti-gay
law. This article also makes reference to Putin's religious connect-
ions which are purely political but once again it is the conservative
religious zealots pushing their agenda. They are always trying to
use politics to force you to their point of view. A sad unrealistic
point of view.
2. 2013-08-15 01:44  
Russia is such a wonderful country, it's too bad that they are one Kristal Nacht away from turning the country into what Germany once was. The hostility should result in a boycott.
3. 2013-08-15 01:53  
I have said it before in posts and I will continue saying it. First, pull the Olympics from Russia. Second, boycott all Russian trade. If you hit a country in the pocketbook then they will rethink their behavior. This kind of ignorant action Putin is using against his country needs to be met with strong negativity from the rest of the world. When his fellow countrymen can't do any trading or start to loose money then Putin will be dethroned as was some of his predecessors. Russians have had a taste of "regular life" outside of Russia; do you really think they want to go back to the way it was? Criminalizing being gay is one of the first steps to locking down the people. Russians will get tired of this man and things will change; we just need to "help" speed this along. Move Olympics and full boycott. enough said.......
4. 2013-08-15 07:47  
This story gets more and more interesting by the day, as it seems set to become a flashpoint focus for gay rights. Frankly, there are several gay athletes who would be attending - can they all be guaranteed to be muzzled or silenced by the IOC before attending? What if anyone says a single word on Russian soil in front of the international media condemning these rules - will burly Russian riot police be dispatched to arrest them and haul them before a court? What about the international media - if they also report critically on these vile new laws, they'll also be breaking them, and could be arrested.

It's already a PR disaster that's burning away for the IOC; while Russia is, as ever, indifferent about international condemnation and criticism - which actually feeds the awful Putin's popularity, as well as suiting his political games and aims - well,the IOC is now faced with firefighting, with the Sochi Games increasingly overshadowed by its apparent endorsement of homophobia.

Afte all, it's all very well to say that's sport must be apolitical, and politics etc must be kept out of sport - however, when many of the competing athletes *could* be arrested (as a bullish Ministry or two seems to relish the thought of showing Westerners that Nobody tells Russia what to do - and if arresting a few 'deviants' helps to strengthen power, so be it), as well as coaches, supporters, partners - or even sympathisers, media and human rights officials - well, excuse me language but there's a huge potential for a giant shitstorm to explode.

It seems to me that this is something that gay people *have* to press for - can Russia arrest leading gay sports people, politicians, stars? What about arresting UN staff? Or government representatives who condemn the laws? There is *huge* scope for the story to pan out in different ways.

Lastly, I'm sick of the IOC/sports bodies excuses that calling for a Games boycott is unfair on the athletes, and throws away all their training, dedication, etc etc. Well, I'm Irish, from Ireland - we are the people who invented the term "boycott", which comes from an incident in our history. To boycott something comes from a stubborn refusal to support something that you think is wrong - attending or competing in those Games in Russia is wrong (just as competing in other sports,in the countries with bad human rights etc is wrong). There are things I've spent *decades* doing that I'm Passionate about - but I wouldn't use my skills, or let my output, be used to further the cause of bigots or intolerance. Never, ever support, even indirectly, what you know to be wrong.

It'll be very interesting indeed to see how the IOC, athletes, politicians and the media resolve this spectacular mess - as long as it's for the betterment of Russia's gay people - who, for the first time, *finally* have a global interest in and focus on their shocking treatment by the state, and de facto persecution - I hope it all goes to the bitter, complex end. Russia's homophobia, even as part of the New-Soviet way of thinking there, cannot be allowed to stay unchallenged.

Forward, comrades! Let the biggest battle for gay rights in Russia commence!
Comment edited on 2013-08-15 07:49:27
5. 2013-08-15 11:01  
The IOC cannot, of course, control the Russian legal apparatus, but the least it could do is NOT add insult to injury by penalizing gay athletes even further.

It's simply pathetic, absurd, stupid, hateful and appallingly corrupt that the IOC would even entertain the notion. If it believed in even a tenth of its own ideals, it would tell Russia that it will have no part in anti-gay bigotry and that it will defend gay athletes to the extent it can. Going the opposite way -- "Oh, Ms. Queer Athlete, you crossed the Russian government, well fuck you, you'll get to pay *us* a fine too!" -- just shows, yet one more time, that nothing matters to the IOC but money.
6. 2013-08-15 14:59  
"...the venues of the Olympic Games are not a place for proactive political or religious demonstration.”
Really? Huh. Germany, 1936. Hitler trying to prove racial superiority.

From London, 1948 through Helsinki, 1952 Russia boycotted the Olympics.

Australia, the 1956 Olympics was affected by three protests.

In 1964, Tokyo became the first Asian country to host Olympics. Yoshinori Sakai born on August 6, 1945 (day of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima) was chosen as the Olympic torchbearer. Nothing political there.

1968 Mexico Olympics. Remember Tommie Smith and John Carlos’ Black Power salute during the national anthem protesting against racism in the US?

1972 Munich Olympics. Enough said.

30 African countries boycotted the 1976 Montreal Olympics after the IOC allowed New Zealand to take part. Kiwis’ rugby team played with racial-outcasts South Africa who were banned since 1964. Taiwan backed out when China forced the hosts to keep Taiwan out.

The US-led alliance of more than 60 nations boycotted the Moscow Games in 1980. Protesting against the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the participating nations were reduced from 120 to 81.

Not forgetting the humiliation of 1980, Four years later, in Los Angeles 1984, the USSR led a boycott of 14 socialist countries. Ya. Nothing like a little bit of politics thrown into the Olympics right Russia?

Beijing 2008 Olympics. Many human rights groups believed “allowing China to host the Games legitimises its repressive regime.” Many VIPs, politicians and celebrities, intended to boycott the games to protest China’s role in Darfur, Tibet and Myanmar. During the games Beijing was also under high alert because of security concerns following civil unrest in Tibet and terrorist attacks by Xinjiang separatists.

Nope. The games have been, for a very long time, all about making political statements. It's sad really but it's also human nature to be idiots.
7. 2013-08-15 17:53  
When will the world stand up to Russia ? it appears that everyone and everything is terrified of that country.
Comment #8 was deleted by its author on 2013-08-15 22:33
Comment #9 was deleted by its author on 2013-08-16 14:36
10. 2013-08-16 14:38  
Please be calm do not make wrong judgement.
We do not know exactly as they do not talk frank.

May be All the world get threatening from a community.
it is like monkey, rabbits, horses, cows, pigs, chicken in the middle of snakes that insists food.
who will be the first victim? monkey?rabbits?horse?
all will get turn

We know God will always exist with or without Religion/Holly books.
And Yes, Exist before Creation of Holly Books
When Religion/Holly books will Go...God Always Exist
11. 2013-08-17 12:31  
Well said and noted no. 6. The IOC are being very cowardly and disingenuous in their statements with regards to gay participants in the coming Russian Winter Olympics.
They and the world's media, together with all right minded politicians, internationally, should be pressing for a boycott of these games until that ex-KGB Colonial Putin changes his stance on homosexuality and gets his country's laws and attitudes in line with a supposed 21st democracy.

Please log in to use this feature.

Select News Edition

Featured Profiles

Now ALL members can view unlimited profiles!


View this page in a different language:

Like Us on Facebook


 ILGA Asia - Fridae partner for LGBT rights in Asia IGLHRC - Fridae Partner for LGBT rights in Asia