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IOC Forbids LGBT Rights Advocacy At Sochi Olympics

Sochi Olympic Rings
Previously, the International Olympic Committee has assured LGBT athletes, coaches, and spectators that they will "work to ensure" that the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi will take place "without discrimination", and that they had "received assurances from the highest level of government in Russia that the (anti-gay) legislation will not affect those attending or taking part in the Games." This seemed to quell apprehension, as well as embolden the likes of Johnny Weir, Blake Skjellerup, and most recently, Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer.

Now, the IOC seems to be changing its tone, according to a new report released by Gay Star News and publicized by The Advocate. According to the report, the IOC plans equate any displays of LGBT rights advocacy or solidarity with a "demonstration of political, religious or racial propaganda", which is prohibited by Rule 50 if the organization's charter. Those found in violation of Rule 50 can be subject to "disqualification or withdrawal of the accreditation of the person concerned," without any sort of appeal. The IOC spokeswoman who spoke to Gay Star News did not specify if those found "in violation of Rule 50" would also be subject to any punitive action by Russian authorities. 

She was asked, though, if the games might provide any sort of "Pride House" where openly LGBT athletes would be able to be fully free and open in a more secluded setting. She responded by saying:

"Regarding your suggestions, the IOC has a clear rule laid out in the Olympic Charter (Rule 50) which states that the venues of the Olympic Games are not a place for proactive political or religious demonstration. This rule has been in place for many years and applied when necessary. In any case, the IOC would treat each case individually and take a sensible approach depending on what was said or done."

Sochi GraphicWhile it may come as some consolation that the IOC is not directly aligning itself with the Russian government, Gay Star News did point out the troubling fact that "the Olympics own charter describes such things as ‘propaganda’ – the same word used by the Russians in their new anti-gay law which stops homosexuality being ‘promoted’ to minors." Also note that, as of now, the Olympic Charter only forbids discrimination on the basis of race, religion, politics and gender. Terms like "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" are conspicuously absent or incomplete. 

No reactions have been released yet from LGBT athletes or advocates regarding this newest development in the Sochi Olympics controversy. No doubt, though, that this most recent statement will likely galvanize and inflame those standing on both sides of the debate. We will, of course, keep track of these developments as they come in...since this fight is likely far from over. 

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Comments

  1. Translated:

    The IOC will tolerate the anti-gay laws in Russia.
    The IOC will not tolerate any statements against those laws.

    Clearly, a resolution is not going to come from the IOC.

    Posted by: gr8guyca | Aug 13, 2013 4:18:18 PM


  2. Wowwww. They are *really trying it.* Ms. Weir needs to get arrested in her technicolor dreamcoat.

    Really though, a bunch of people should go with the expectation of being arrested.

    Posted by: Munro | Aug 13, 2013 4:21:47 PM


  3. So, if an athlete remembers her gay brother when being interviewed after winning a medal, they are going to strip that medal before turning her over to Putin's stormtroopers for her arrest? That sure as hell is what this sounds like.

    Clearly the protests against Russia now have to include the IOC and all corporate sponsors of the Hatelympics in Sochi.

    Posted by: CPT_Doom | Aug 13, 2013 4:21:56 PM


  4. Okay, that's it: deal-breaker. The IOC (which you may recall once sued to make sure there would be no "Gay Olympics") has shown their true colors, and they are not only not our friends, they're not even interested in protecting athletes of any orientation.

    I say if you're gay--and/or if your country has any interest in promoting human rights--pull out of the Olympics, now. Let the whole thing collapse in on itself, and see how quickly they (the IOC) talks about moving things to Vancouver.

    Posted by: Dback | Aug 13, 2013 4:22:23 PM


  5. There is no news here.

    Posted by: Bob | Aug 13, 2013 4:23:11 PM


  6. There is no news here.

    Posted by: Bob | Aug 13, 2013 4:23:21 PM


  7. The IOC does not care about anything but money.
    Boycott the Olympics
    Boycott all Sponsors of the Olympics.
    Coke, McDonalds, Proctor & Gamble, Samsung, Panasonic and more.

    Posted by: Jeff | Aug 13, 2013 4:24:15 PM


  8. WoW !
    So don't be gay, act gay, dont't bring your lover partner husband wife.......don't have any gay symbols....
    Way to go IOC.....all the way with the Fascists right into the camps......they're only re-education camps after all.
    What a crowd of weasels these IOC are.

    Posted by: JackFknTwist | Aug 13, 2013 4:26:24 PM


  9. since when does expressing your sexual orientation equate "demonstration of political, religious or racial propaganda"?

    if you're straight, and thank your boyfriend or girlfriend on camera, or wear a wedding band, is this propaganda, too?

    i wish the ioc was as concerned about the contract russia signed to host the games as they are about interpreting their own rules. the ioc has really stepped in it now.

    Posted by: northalabama | Aug 13, 2013 4:31:26 PM


  10. This is going to end really bad. In a world with internet you can do this without a big big backlash.
    And if the companies that sponsor the games feel they get bad press instead of good, it would be a very uphill battle to find the money to make more games

    Posted by: jjose712 | Aug 13, 2013 4:33:27 PM


  11. F-- the Olympics. Seriously. If they can't treat us any better than the Russian, eff 'em all. This is sick, disgusting and infuriating.
    So much for bringing people together in peace.
    Idiots. Every single one of them. This was the WORST move they could have made. WORST.

    Posted by: Marc | Aug 13, 2013 4:41:10 PM


  12. I'm not surprised by the IOC at this point. Russia has tested them and they are clearly on board with Russia's ideaology, as they have now made clear to the entire world. Any organization that has dragged it's feet and delayed responsibility this long was just busy looking for their "out" to proceed as they have intended the entire time they were supposedly working on a solution. They have shown where their interests lie.

    The real question has ceased to hinge on the IOC and whether they will show compassion for the atrocities Russia commits against it's own people. Instead, who are the corporate sponsors of this treatment the IOC feels is so fair and equal, good enough for the world to allow? Who's going to cover the event? Will they broadcast what's happening to common citizens on the streets the one's with no voice, or only focus on the propaganda of Russia? Which group will be next on Russia's list?

    Posted by: Hey Darlin' | Aug 13, 2013 4:42:54 PM


  13. This should surprise precisely no one. For decades the IOC has been free to be commandered by the highest bidder. They don't care about the athletes or human rights. Their prior statements were nothing but a well strategized PR smokescreen and this is a peek at the proverbial "man behind the curtain". It'll be fascinating, surreal, and terrifying to see how this all plays out. And yes...I'll freely admit I don't have the cajones to go over there myself - I'll be cheering on that speed skater though :/ I did sign the petitions at least...:/ Sigh...

    Posted by: Leo | Aug 13, 2013 4:43:58 PM


  14. The IOC has lost its mind and they has just added a huge amount of fuel to the ongoing fire.

    The problem is not any of the "propoganda" that the athletes could promote but the extreme unfairness of current Russian laws and culture.

    Posted by: Omar | Aug 13, 2013 4:44:49 PM


  15. Rule 50 translation: the host country can promote and display any amount of propaganda they want. If an athlete makes the host country uncomfortable, they go bye-bye. This explains the display of Aryan supremacy allowed by the IOC in the 1936 Berlin games. It seems the IOC needs to re-evaluate its priorities on displays of "political propaganda".

    I wonder how Rule 50 would hold up if it wasn't funded by billions of dollars in sponsorships from American companies like Coca-Cola and NBC.

    Posted by: Mike | Aug 13, 2013 4:47:33 PM


  16. Rule 50 translation: the host country can promote and display any amount of propaganda they want. If an athlete makes the host country uncomfortable, they go bye-bye. This explains the display of Aryan supremacy allowed by the IOC in the 1936 Berlin games. It seems the IOC needs to re-evaluate its priorities on displays of "political propaganda".

    I wonder how Rule 50 would hold up if it wasn't funded by billions of dollars in sponsorships from American companies like Coca-Cola and NBC.

    Posted by: Mike | Aug 13, 2013 4:47:37 PM


  17. Phuk the IOC. They should be seriously investigated for all the fraud that goes on.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Aug 13, 2013 4:51:25 PM


  18. So the IOC caved to Russia. I was not for a boycott before, but what choice do we have now?

    Posted by: jsb | Aug 13, 2013 4:53:12 PM


  19. Whatever. As many have already pointed out this should surprise nobody. It's all about $$$ - if sponsors started to pull out they would quickly change their tune. @Mike hit the nail on the head.

    Posted by: Gerry | Aug 13, 2013 4:55:29 PM


  20. The IOC has the old school democratic socialist Euro mentality that people should not be allowed to question authorities too much, because those authorities know what's best for them. Average people should know their place, and realize that esteemed academics and other luminaries in the arts, business world and politics are their natural superiors, and shouldn't be too closely analyzed and questioned. The IOC has spoken, now do as you're told. You don't want to be too 'loud' and American.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Aug 13, 2013 4:56:32 PM


  21. Will NBC be prosecuted if it interviews a male figure skater who has a "high voice" or a women's ice hockey player who has a "husky voice"? Will the athletes be prosecuted if they don't conform to Russian requirements of "manliness" and "womanliness"? Sure looks like non-traditional values propaganda polluting the pristine minds of Russian children...

    Posted by: Hue-Man | Aug 13, 2013 4:57:16 PM


  22. There was a Pride House at the Vancouver Olympics. No one considered that "political".

    Posted by: David | Aug 13, 2013 5:04:35 PM


  23. And the IOC website is conspicuously absent any info on this horrific development.

    Posted by: danielw | Aug 13, 2013 5:09:37 PM


  24. "The IOC does not care about anything but money."

    I realized this 20 years ago.

    "The IOC has the old school democratic socialist Euro mentality"

    No. Most of the leadership are casts-off from the corporate world or come from wealthy, right-wing European families, including some royal ones. Besides the world of sports, if you haven't noticed yet, is inherently conservative.

    Sorry kids, the Russian problem is going to get worst before it gets better. I've read more than one serious history of WWII noting that while Eastern Europeans and Hungarians hated the Germans and Russians, they were only terrified of the Russian soldiers. The Germans were no doubt committing an monumental atrocity at the death camps, but their soldiers didn't rape every woman and child at every village they were garrisoned as the Russians did. (and don't forget that the "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion" which fomented antisemitism across Europe was actually written by the Russians) There's a deep ugliness is the Russian national character, that's been surpressed for decades and is now coming into full bloom. The intelligent people have left...they have been leaving since the 19th century. What's left in the gene pool? Well...figure it out yourself.

    Posted by: EchtKultig | Aug 13, 2013 5:13:31 PM


  25. "the Olympic Games are not a place for proactive political or religious demonstration." There is NOTHING political nor religious about being gay. The IOC just wants us to remain in the closet and allow persecution to reign thru-out the developed world. The IOC is not our ally in any way shapr or form. The are the politicians.

    Posted by: ToThePoint | Aug 13, 2013 5:19:14 PM


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