After visit to Sochi for Olympics, Billie Jean King ‘more than concerned’ about safety of gays in Russia

'Basically, it's OK to hate now and you can get away with it'

After visit to Sochi for Olympics, Billie Jean King ‘more than concerned’ about safety of gays in Russia
03 March 2014

Reflecting in her whirlwind trip to the Olympics in Sochi last month, sports icon Billie Jean King left inspired by the athletes but worried about the gay people who live in Russia.

King, 70, spent three days in Russia and attended the closing ceremonies as part of the official US delegation to the games.

While there, she met with a Russian teen who is gay and is getting bullied in an atmosphere where an anti-gay propaganda law has led to an increase in violence.

‘I’m worried about the LGBT community for their safety,’ King tells the Associated Press.

‘Basically, it’s OK to hate now and you can get away with it,’ she says. ‘I’m concerned, more than concerned.’

What can be done?

‘The main thing is to let them know we care and we can help LGBT organizations that help the community,’ King says. ‘Dialogue is always good, but action is important, too.’

While she connected with the bullied teen, King did not find many Olympians who wanted to talk about human rights while they were competing.

‘The athletes pretty much kept it mainstream, "this is about sports, keep the politics out."’

But, King adds, ‘There’s politics in everything – especially with this.’



No thumbnail available

Ricky Martin talks at the UN about 'beautiful' experience of coming out

Puerto Rican popstar speaks at the United Nations about breaking free from his upbringing and coming out in 2010
No thumbnail available

Fatboy Slim joins Freemasons at Brighton Pride

Weapon of Choice chart-topper to get pride partygoers' blood pumping at UK city's annual LGBT festival
No thumbnail available

UKIP's LGBTI chairman quits, says party isn't gay friendly

'I couldn't defend the party or convincingly campaign for it any more'
No thumbnail available

You can tell if you’re gay by your earwax

Scientists believe by analyzing your earwax, you can discover your sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender and health
No thumbnail available

Britain’s Got Talent group talk bringing their gay act to TV screens

La Voix and the London Gay Big Band talk about their journey on Britain’s Got Talent, from their first audition to the performance they are preparing for tonight
No thumbnail available

ASDA removes ‘Tranny-saurus’ greetings card after complaints

Owned by US supermarket chain Walmart, ASDA removed the trans dinosaur card after customers pointed out it was offensive
No thumbnail available

Nazi jibe politician not homophobe says UKIP

UKIP has defended Godfrey Bloom MEP's 'bullying' questions to the European Commission.
No thumbnail available

Anti-gay pastor caught on Grindr looking for men to cuddle and have sex with

Reverend Matthew Makela is a married father of five
No thumbnail available

Judge orders out of state marriages of 10 gay Missouri couples be recognized in their home state

ACLU of Missouri: 'This is a personal win for our 10 courageous couples'
No thumbnail available

Rise of far right in Ukraine election poses 'threat' to gays

Extremist 'fascist' party Svoboda sees surge in popularity during Ukraine's parliamentary elections