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Content about the Winter Olympics

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 22, 2014

With today's win, Ireen Wüst becomes the first athlete to win five medals at Sochi

Out bisexual Ireen Wüst added to her medal count today (22 February) at the Winter Olympics.

The speedskater took gold as a member of the Netherlands women's team pursuit squad.

She, Jorien ter Mors, and Marrit Leenstra won with an Olympic record time of, as reported by the Associated Press, 2:58.05.

February 19, 2014

Video shows members of performance art group being attacked in public plaza

Video of members of the performance art group Pussy Riot being attacked with horsewhips by Cossack militia emerged Wednesday and is quickly causing outrage.

The pro-gay, anti-Putin group was trying to perform in Sochi, Russia, under a sign advertising the Winter Olympics.

As they pulled out a guitar and microphone,  at least 10 Cossacks and other security officials moved in.

The women chanted in Russian: 'Putin will teach you to love the Motherland,' the name of the song for which they had arrived in Sochi to make a new protest video.

February 17, 2014

International LGBTI activist Omar Kuddus argues openly gay sportspeople have been ‘selfish’ in Russia while more attention should be paid to Uganda, Nigeria and elsewhere

Despite the setbacks we have seen in recent months, I’m sad to have to report that activism for LGBTI rights remains very much a ‘fashion’ statement and vehicle to get media attention for oneself.

February 15, 2014

Lesbian tennis legend King has been named as one of the presidential delegates to attend Sochi’s closing ceremony after she had to drop out of opening ceremony to care for her sick mother

Tennis legend Billie Jean King has been announced as one of the presidential delegates selected by Barack Obama to attend the closing ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Sochi.

The openly gay US former world number one, 70, was originally part of the line up to appear at the opening ceremony but she decided to drop out to care for her sick mother who died on 7 February.

Now King is being given a second chance to travel to Sochi as part of a group of US representatives.

February 8, 2014

A crowd of 70,000 will hold hands at Sydney’s Mardi Gras to stand up for gay rights in Russia

70,000 will hold hands at the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras to show their support for gay people in Russia.

The event on 9 February will see Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras join forces with the Asia Pacific Gay and Lesbian International Sports Association (GLISA-AP) to stage a mass photo of people holding hands to voice their support for the LGBTI community in Russia.

The project aims to show solidarity for competitors in the Winter Olympics and LGBTI people who face discrimination from the Russian government.

February 8, 2014

After finishing his crusade in Sochi, anti-gay US preacher Larry Craft will go to New Orleans to protest gays, abortion, sex addiction, and 'church gossips'

An anti-gay US preacher is in Sochi to offer support to President Vladimir Putin.

Larry Craft, a resident of Rochester, New York, spent the opening day of the Winter Olympics passing out anti-gay pamphlets in downtown Sochi.

He told the Wall Street Journal that he, and two other men, were briefly held at a police station because their sign said 'God bless Putin for his stance on homosexuals.'

February 8, 2014

Lesbian BBC reporter Clare Balding has responded to tweets attacking her coverage of the Winter Olympics 

Lesbian BBC sports presenter Clare Balding hits back at Twitter trolls attacking her for going to work at the Winter Olympics in Sochi.

Balding, 43, faced criticism, some of it homophobic, after it was revealed she would be part of the team covering the Olympics.

Some felt she should use the opportunity to speak out against anti-gay Russia whereas others thought she agreed to go to Sochi purely for the money.

One Twitter user said: ‘principles before profit time?’

February 8, 2014

A Sochi 2014 clip inspired by Facebook’s anniversary videos shows what LGBTI people in Russia have suffered

Facebook users have recently been enjoying their ‘look back’ videos.

Nostalgic clips that show their best moments and favorite photos to celebrate ten years of the social media site.

However, a version focusing on Sochi 2014 is the total opposite.

Instead of smiling photos and funny statuses, this video looks at the bloodied faces of gay rights protestors and the homophobic comments from Russian leaders.

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

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

Betty Moffitt's declining health forced her lesbian icon daughter to drop out of official US delegation in Sochi

Instead of being at today's opening ceremonies for the Winter Olympics in Sochi, tennis legend Billie Jean King was at the side of her 91-year-old mother when Betty Moffitt died.

King, 70, announced earlier this week that she would not be able to fulfill her role as an official US delegate at Sochi because of her mother's declining health.

Both King and her younger brother, retired Major League Baseball pitcher Randy Moffitt, traveled to Arizona to be with their surviving parent. Their father, Bill Moffitt, died in 2006.

February 6, 2014

Two guys bending over each other in an attempt to sled down a long racecourse. Nope, nothing homoerotic about that

A hilarious Canadian advert has proved just how gay the Winter Olympics really are.

Made by the Canadian Institute of Diversity and Inclusion, this humorous PSA aims to point out how the sports like the luge are incredibly homoerotic.

But the group is aiming to raise a serious point, by urging awareness of the treatment of gay people in Russia.

‘The discrimination in Russia is unacceptable,’ Michael Bach, founder and CEO of the CIDI, said.

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 6, 2014

Dmitry Kozak claims Russia does not discriminate against LGBTI people as he implies gays are pedophiles

Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak has said gay Olympians and fans will be safe at Sochi but added ‘Please do not touch kids.’

The homophobic outburst came this morning (6 February) as the country makes its final preparations for the Winter Olympics which start tomorrow.

He was referring to Russia’s legislation which bans gay ‘propaganda’ to minors and which has been used to crackdown on LGBTI people and dissent in general, leading to further violence against them.

February 5, 2014

Protests will take place in 19 cities around the world including London, New York and St Petersburg

A call is being sent out around the world to protest against Russia’s anti-gay laws today (5 February).

Held two days before the Winter Olympics begins in Sochi, the protestors will call on sponsors to speak out over Russia’s gay propaganda ban.

Protests are expected to take place in 19 cities around the globe, including London, New York, Paris and St Petersburg.

Sponsors of the Olympic Games include Coca Cola, McDonalds and Visa.

February 4, 2014

'Hello My Name is Vladimir' is the world's first 'protest beer' to be sold in stores and online

'Protest beer' mocking anti-gay laws in Russia is being sent to Vladimir Putin today (4 February).

A Scottish craft brewery believe they have launched the world's first 'protest beer', produced to fight against homophobic legislation.

BrewDog’s new craft beer, Hello My Name is Vladimir, is a double IPA ale containing Limmonick berries - an ingredient regarded by some Russians to enhance sexual performance in men.

The bottle is styled with a gaudy Andy Warhol-style label showing an image of the Russian president wearing lipstick and eyeshadow.

January 31, 2014

Berlin’s Rainbow Flame is set to be a focus for worldwide opposition to Russia’s anti-LGBTI laws during the Sochi Olympics but is dangerously short of cash

The dream of an LGBTI flame to burn through the Winter Olympics and challenge Russian hate could be extinguished before it has even been lit.

The Rainbow Flame will be lit on 7 February in the world famous Potsdamer Platz, Berlin – at the same time as the Olympic flame.

It will be tended by volunteers day and night until the Olympics ends on 23 February – braving temperatures which may drop as low as -23C (-9F)

January 31, 2014

Only .0028% of all the athletes competing at the Sochi Winter Games are openly LGBTI

President Putin has unwittingly propelled the LGBTI community into the spotlight with his anti-gay laws.

With the Winter Olympics launching today (7 February), the handful of openly gay athletes competing in Sochi will not only be concerned about their sporting performance, but also for their personal safety.

Despite assurances from Russian politicians, LGBTI athletes and supporters still face danger despite Principle Six of the Olympic charter meant to eradicate discrimination from the Olympic Games:

January 29, 2014

Britain will be sending Anne, the Princess Royal, Lord Sebastian Coe and Culture Secretary Maria Miller, the politician responsible for same-sex marriage in England and Wales, to Russia

UK Prime Minister David Cameron has officially refused to attend the Sochi Winter Olympics, but has denied it is a ‘snub’.

Downing Street formally informed Russian diplomats yesterday the Conservative leader will not be attending, but stressed it was not due to the outrage surrounding Russia’s gay propaganda laws.

Instead, Cameron declined the invitation on the grounds there is no precedent for serving prime ministers to attend the Winter Olympics.

Britain will be sending Anne, the Princess Royal and former London Olympics chief Lord Sebastian Coe.

January 27, 2014

Coca-Cola declines chance to comment after being pulled from awards. Gay advocates say they should condemn Russian homophobia

Gay awards bosses have chucked Coca-Cola off their shortlist after it refused to use its sponsorship of Sochi to speak out on LGBTI rights in Russia.

The Out in the City and G3 Magazine Awards had nominated Coca-Cola in its Brand of the Year category for what are dubbed ‘Britain’s gay Oscars’.

But the brand’s sponsorship of the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, has sparked criticism.

January 26, 2014

Clothing line uses Olympic charter’s anti-discriminatory Principle 6 to show opposition to Russia’s ‘non-traditional sexual relations’ law, and has athletes on-side

Gay rights campaigners have joined forces with clothing brand American Apparel to produce and promote a range of garments that encourage diversity in sport ahead of the Winter Olympics in Sochi next month.

The campaign uses Principle 6 from the Olympic charter to express opposition to Russia’s controversial anti-gay propaganda law that was introduced last summer.

Principle 6 states: ‘Sport does not discriminate on grounds of race, religion, politics, gender or otherwise.’

January 21, 2014

'Please change this law - just be inclusive, champion everyone'

If Billie Jean King were to find herself face-to-face with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Winter Olympics in Sochi next month, she knows exactly what she would say to him.

'Please change this (anti-gay propaganda) law,' the tennis legend tells ABC News. 'Just be inclusive - champion everyone.'

January 16, 2014

'You will admit there was some heat between us'

Who would have thought that Stephen Colbert's dream woman is a 70 year old world famous lesbian?

Well, it's a quite dazzling 70 year old by the name of Billie Jean King so maybe it does make sense.

The tennis legend has been making the media rounds in advance of her duties as an official US delegate to the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, and paid a visit this week to The Colbert Report.

Colbert asked King: 'Isn't your mere existence propaganda for homosexuality because you make it look so good?'

Replied King: 'Well, I hope so!'