LGBTI global news 24-7

Content about Olympics

April 16, 2014

Dozens of people were arrested under the gay propaganda law in Sochi, and activists are hoping this never happens again

Over 100,000 people have called on the IOC to ensure the Olympics are never hosted in an anti-gay country again.

While the International Olympic Committee has hinted the rules could be changed in the future, activists are hoping any homophobic countries will be stopped from reaping the rewards of hosting the Games.

The last Olympics in Sochi, Russia, drew a huge amount of international criticism. Dozens of people were arrested under the ‘gay propaganda’ law.

March 4, 2014

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

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.

February 28, 2014

LGTBI activist Sarah Gibson explains why the International Olympic Committee must reconsider its views on transgender and intersex athletes

Much to the dismay of Russia, the Sochi games will not be remembered for its extravagant spending but for the opposition to Russia’s continuing human rights abuses against LGBTI people. 

In the run up to the games, principle 6 of the Olympic Charter has been widely quoted.

It reads: 'Any form of discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race, religion, politics, gender or otherwise is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic Movement'.

February 24, 2014

Cher said no, and the world listened. From ballet demonstrations to national commercials, from tweets to open letters, here are the 14 ways the world came together for the Russian LGBTI community

Did you pour your Stoli vodka down a drain, or stop eating McDonald’s during the Winter Olympics?

In recent months Russia has been at the center of a civil rights firestorm, between president Putin signing anti-gay laws to politicians threatening LGBTI Olympic athletes and spectators.

Even though the Sochi Winter Olympics wrapped up this weekend, the reactions to Russia's anti-gay laws are still being seen, heard and felt around the world.

February 23, 2014

'In the [bid] process it would be helpful. I would like to see it but I also understand it's not that easy'

On the last day of the Sochi Winter Games, tennis legend Billie Jean King hopes the International Olympic Committee changes its charter to specifically declare anti-gay discrimination is prohibited.

'Hopefully [IOC president] Mr [Thomas] Bach and the IOC will think about the next time they give a bid out - I hope that they'll look at discrimination as a big part of it,' she said to the BBC.

'But no country is perfect. America certainly isn't,' King continued. 

February 19, 2014

Althete who caused controversy when she got a cuddle from Putin takes home silver in the women's 5,000 meters

Dutch bisexual athlete Ireen Wüst has won her fourth medal of the Sochi Olympic Games.

The Netherlands speedskater took home silver in the women’s 5000 meters today (19 February).

This means she will be one of the most awarded athletes in this year’s Olympics, a Games overshadowed by the homophobic legislation of Russia.

Wüst was expected to take the top spot of the 5,000 meters after she set an impressive time of 6 minutes, 54.28 seconds.

February 19, 2014

Star Trek icon tells GSN: “This Olympics is really a chilling thing because it reminds me of the 1936 Olympics when the Olympics Committee provided an international platform for Adolf Hitler'

George Takei has been watching some of the Olympics in Sochi even though he strongly believes they never should have been allowed to be held in a country with an anti-gay propaganda law in place.

The openly gay Star Trek icon tells Gay Star News that he considers the International Olympic Committee 'spineless' for not moving the games after it was clear that 'Russia breaks the pledge to the Olympic creed of no discrimination.'

February 18, 2014

IOC spokesman says countries who do not abide by an anti-discrimination rule could factor in decisions on the bidding process

Russia, and other countries with homophobic laws, could be banned from hosting the Olympics under a proposed new rule.

The International Olympics Committee has responded to calls that countries must abide by a specific anti-discrimination decree modelled on the Olympic Charter’s Principle 6.

Principle 6 says sport does not discriminate on any grounds, including race, religion, politics or gender.

February 18, 2014

IOC spokesman says countries who do not abide by an anti-discrimination rule could factor in decisions on the bidding process

Russia, and other countries with homophobic laws, could be banned from hosting the Olympics under a proposed new rule.

The International Olympics Committee has responded to calls that countries must abide by a specific anti-discrimination decree modelled on the Olympic Charter’s Principle 6.

Principle 6 says sport does not discriminate on any grounds, including race, religion, politics or gender.

February 16, 2014

Vladimir Luxuria, a member of the Communist Refoundation Party, is allegedly 'alone in a room with neon lights on the face'

Read more here:

Various media outlets are reporting that Vladimir Luxuria, Italy's first out transgendered elected official, has been arrested in Sochi.

According to the McClatchy Washington Bureau, Vladimir Luxuria was allegedly arrested after holding a rainbow colored banner that said 'Gay is OK' in Russian.

Luxuria took a photo, holding the banner, outside of Olympics' Medal Park. She put the picture on Twitter.

February 13, 2014

Vitaly Milonov, who says gay people rape kids and are violent towards straights, has said a gay contest must take place behind closed doors

A Russian lawmaker who sponsored the federal gay propaganda law wants Moscow’s ‘Gay Olympics’ banned.

Vitaly Milonov has urged Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin to ban the LGBT Sports Games that is being planned to be held shortly after the Sochi Winter Games.

The lawmaker has become a central figure in the battle on gay rights in Russia after he authored the original ‘gay propaganda’ bill in St Petersburg before it became federal law.

February 12, 2014

Austria’s Daniela Iraschko-Stolz says she hopes to create positive conversation surrounding the outrage over the Russia Winter Olympics

Austria’s Daniela Iraschko-Stolz became the first openly gay athlete to medal at Russia’s Winter Games yesterday (11 February).

She came second in the first ever women’s ski jump competition at the Olympics.

Iraschko-Stolz actually jumped the furthest in the final, flying through their air on her second jump for 104.5m (343 feet).

But the gold was awarded to German Carina Vogt after the Austrian’s points score was calculated to accommodate an advantage she had in wind speed.

February 11, 2014

Married to a man, she adds:  ‘Nope I didn’t just come out – you just late to the party. But I have drinks for all y’all'

Monica Raymund, one of the stars of the NBC drama Chicago Fire, tweeted about a Norwegian artist’s protest against Russia’s anti-LGBT policies the other day.

But it is her follow-up tweet that is getting all the attention.

'So proud to be Bi and excited about this movement during Olympics,' she wrote.

When asked by a followers if this was her public coming out the actress replied: ‘Nope I didn’t just come out – you just late to the party. But I have drinks for all y’all.'

February 10, 2014

Debbie Harry has revealed that Blondie were approached to perform at the Sochi Winter Olympics but turned down the offer over Russia’s human rights record

Blondie singer Debbie Harry has revealed that her band was approached to play during the Sochi Winter Olympics but turned down the offer over Russia’s human rights record.

Harry took to Twitter to post a photo of the offer by the Red Rocks Festival which is being held in Sochi as part of the Cultural Olympiad which surrounds the games.

On it she had written, ‘Pass – human rights.’

Blondie had been asked to travel to the games to perform in front of a crowd of 25,000 people during a 45 minute set on 13 February with a 9pm start.

February 9, 2014

Despite arrests, reported beatings and threats of sexual violence against activists who were detained, the IOC says nothing except that Russia was acting in accordance with its laws

Since the start of the Sochi Olympic Games on Friday, some 61 activists – 24 of them for staging pro-gay demonstrations – have been arrested across Russia. Some of those held in Moscow have reported being beaten while in police custody.

February 8, 2014

GLAAD praises spots as truly reflecting 'the fabric of our nation, which today includes gay and lesbian families'

The Russian government may be busy cracking down on any public display of support of homosexuality as the Olympics kick off in Sochi, but it has no control over what airs on NBC.

The US broadcaster of the 2014 Winter Olympics aired two commercials from car company Chevrolet that could never air in Russia due to its anti-gay propaganda law.

They feature families with same-sex couples and aired during NBC's tape-delayed telecast of opening ceremonies which took place earlier in the day on Friday (7 February).

February 7, 2014

The London Gay Men's Chorus sang for three hours outside Russian Embassy in London

The London Gay Men’s Chorus sang for equality today while the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics kicked off in Sochi.

With talk of the Olympics having been overshadowed by Russia’s LGBTI laws, the chorus decided to take a stand.

Steven McIntyre, one of the group’s trustees and the organiser of the protest, said: 'What we wanted to do was say, "look, we understand that the Olympics bring people together, but this Olympics is excluding people, and that’s not okay".'

February 7, 2014

Dutch prime minister and Russian president meet despite extreme tension between the two countries following assaults and humiliation

President Vladimir Putin has told the world the Olympics is not the place to discuss Russia’s treatment of gay people.

In a meeting with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, the Russian president demanded politics and sport should not mix.

‘I know you always give much attention to humanitarian issues and adherence to human rights,’ Putin said, according to Reuters.

‘We are always open to discussion.’

February 7, 2014

Berliners have lit a Rainbow Flame of hope for LGBTI Russians in an alternative Olympic opening ceremony

Berliners have lit a Rainbow Flame in an alternative Olympics opening ceremony to highlight anti-LGBTI abuses in Russia.

The unique project will see the gay flame burn throughout the Winter Olympics in Sochi, tended by a team of volunteers from the new Enough is Enough organization.

Around 1,000 people packed out Potsdamer Platz for the lighting ceremony which finished in the last few minutes.

February 7, 2014

Four gay rights activists, including one pregnant woman, have reportedly been arrested in St Petersburg

Russia has made the first arrests of the Sochi Olympic Winter Games.

Four gay rights activists, including one pregnant woman, were arrested in St Petersburg today.

LGBTI advocate Anastasia Smirnova led the group holding a banner, according to the Russian LGBT network.

It said: ‘Discrimination is incompatible with the Olympic Movement. Principle 6. Olympic Charter.'

Speaking to Gay Star News, a police spokesman confirmed the arrests and said they would be held until further notice. They could answer no further questions at this time. 

February 7, 2014

The story of a Russian arrested and persecuted for his sexuality, forcing him to seek asylum, is told in the new play

A Russian gay man is locked up and abused for his sexuality, forcing him to flee to London for asylum in a new play highlighting LGBTI-rights abuses as the Sochi Winter Olympics start.

'In the Thrice Ninth Kingdom, by Michael Yale, is being staged in London to support the Kaleidoscope Trust, an international LGBTI charity.

The play was inspired by the passing and consequences of Russia’s 2013 law, banning 'propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations amongst minors', and used to crack down on LGBTI people, leading to arrests and violence.

February 6, 2014

British TV channel goes where Coke, McDonalds and Visa have refused to tread and rebrands itself with rainbow colors for the Winter Olympics

British TV station Channel 4 will be rainbow branded in the colors of the gay pride flag tomorrow (7 February) to mark the start of the Sochi Olympics.

They have also launched a tongue-in-cheek promo with a hairy ‘gay bear style’ cabaret act singing a celebratory ‘Gay Mountain’ song honoring all the athletes.

Channel 4 is the official broadcaster of the Paralympics, while the BBC has the contract for the Olympics themselves.

They will be wishing all athletes at the games, gay or straight, good luck on their TV trail.

February 6, 2014

Ban Ki-moon: 'We must all raise our voices against attacks ... We must oppose the arrests, imprisonments and discriminatory restrictions they face'

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon didn't mention Russia by name but seemed clear it was one of the country's he was referring to when he spoke out Thursday (6 February) against discriminatory laws and violence against LGBTI people.

On the eve of opening ceremonies of the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, Ki-moon addressed the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and his remarks indirectly addressed the impact of Russia's anti-gay propaganda law.

The law makes it a crime in Russia to show any kind of public support of homosexuality.

February 5, 2014

Tennis legend forced to drop out of US delegation to be with her ill 91-year-old mother

Billie Jean King, one of the most famous lesbians in the world, will not be at Friday's opening ceremonies at the Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia.

The 70-year-old tennis legend, President Obama's high-profile appointment to the official US delegation, has decided to stay home to be with her ailing mother.

'It is important for me to be with my mother and my brother at this difficult time,' King said in a statement.