Russian LGBT Group Calls for Boycott of Sochi Olympics; Says Gay People Not Safe There

A Russian LGBT group is calling for a boycott of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, RIA Novosti reports:

SochiThe group is calling for a boycott of the games, saying the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community is not safe in Russia – and they hope even those who are not gay will support the ban.

“LGBT people in Russia are scared, they live in fear, and we want people to be aware of the issue. If they feel strongly about human rights they should boycott the Olympics in Sochi,” said Nina Long, co-president of RUSA LGBT, a Russian-speaking LGBT organization based in New York.

“We really want the LGBT community to know it’s unsafe to travel there,” she said in an interview with RIA Novosti.
A statement from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) did little to ease her concerns, Long said.

The committee told RIA Novosti in a statement that the IOC has a long commitment to non-discrimination against Olympic athletes, adding that “athletes of all orientations will be welcome at the Games.”

The group, as we reported over the weekend, plans to have its first-ever float in the NYC Pride Parade on June 30.

RIA Novosti continues:

Long and others say the issue of gay rights in Russia and FSU countries is more urgent now than ever before, with a growing conservative movement across the region that has led to new anti-gay laws and a growing homophobic environment.

Laws that forbid the spreading of propaganda for non-traditional sexual relations to minors started in local communities but grew to larger cities like St. Petersburg in 2012, and passed Russia’s lower house just last week.