HRC Says Olympic Committee Should Do More For LGBT Rights Than Accept ‘Verbal Promises’ From Putin

After receiving 'assurances from the highest level' that any LGBT individuals participating in the upcoming 2014 Winder Olympics will be exempt from Russia's newly minted anti-gay laws, the IOC released a statement on Friday in the hopes of putting growing concern at ease.

The Human Rights Campaign, however, isn't letting the IOC off the hook that easily.

Chad GriffinSays HRC President Chad Griffin:

"Mere verbal assurances from the Russian government that foreigners will be exempt from their repressive laws are not enough…The IOC must obtain ironclad written assurance from President Putin. But more importantly, they should be advocating for the safety of all LGBT people in Russia, not simply those visiting for the Olympics. Rescinding this heinous law must be our collective goal."

Putin, for the record, is still adamant that that homosexuals are "full fledged members of [Russian] society and are not being discriminated against in any way.


  1. David From Canada says

    Governments, period, are crooked behind closed doors. It wouldn’t surprise me if the U.S. government was negotiating secretly with Russia, the over-all attitude being: “Hand over Edward Snowden to us, and you can do as you please with the gay American athletes at the Winter Olympics.”
    Truth is stranger than fiction, and governments are stranger than anything.

  2. says

    This struggle will go on long past the Winter Olympics.
    For two weeks in February the world will see the most fabulous Potemkin Village, but when the show is over and the torch is passed the bloodbath will still be going on in Putin’s Russia. HRC is right !

  3. JT says

    Do not trust the U.S. or Russian governments on anything pertaining to “human rights” let alone the IOC for security. There are no guarantees written or verbal. We can’t even pass ENDA for pete’s sake! BOYCOTT the Winter Games for the sake of our athletes. Remember Atlanta? If you think the U.S. is full of cuckoos, you can imagine Russia. We need to pull the Games.

  4. jomicur says

    What a lovely promise. Attacks on gay people by Russian skinhead gangs (and others) have increased markedly, presumably encouraged by this horrific law. And we’re supposed to believe that those skinheads will pause to ask whether the homo they want to attack is a native Russian homo or a tourist/athlete homo who’s there for the Olympics?

  5. says

    the ugliest thing about the “it would be unfair to the athletes…” argument is that it basically says “Sorry, the freedom and lives of your brothers and sisters isn’t as important as these folks’ commitment to cross-country skiing”


  6. GregV says

    As far as I know (and I could be overlooking someone), there were only six out gay athletes at the last winter Olympics (all of them female), zero out bi or trans athletes, and one gay male (Johnny Weir) who waited until the Games were over to come out.
    Assuming half of those people won’t qualify for Sochi, and maybe half of the gay athletes who do qualify this time will be too spooked by the dangerous attitude in Sochi to actually show up (let alone be out and open there), we are left with what, maybe two people whom the IOC is saying (with empty-sounding promises) will be safe?
    And what about a straight ally who says to the camera, “I want to thank my coach, my dad, my sister and her wife for standing by me and encouraging me.” Is that person risking imprisonment? the IOC has so far not even suggested one way or another whether straight allies who speak inclusively (which is now a criminal offense in Russia) are safe.

    Russia should never have been selected for the games. They should only be held in countries that maintain the highest standard of human rights and safety for anyone who might be competing, attending, or even just living there.

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