UESE Wants IOC To Include Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity In Its Charter

Sochi Olympic Rings
Earlier this week, it was circulated that the IOC intends to crack down on any expressions of solidarity or advocacy regarding LGBT rights in Russia. The committee claims that they are not aligning themselves with the Russian government. Rather, they say that any sort of "demonstration of political, religious or racial propaganda" runs contrary to the regulations and spirit of the Olympic Games. This decision is partially due to the fact that, currently, the Olympic Charter only forbids discrimination on the basis of race, religion, politics and gender

United for Equality in Sports & Entertainment (UESE), as well as their international partners at Pride House, want to change that, by urging the IOC and its president, Jacques Rogge, to update the Olympic Charter to add "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" to that list, effectively protecting LGBT athletes, coaches, officials, press, and spectators from the hostile environment they will be facing in Sochi this upcoming February.  David McFarland, Founder & CEO of UESE, had this to say in the group's press release:

"While today’s request to include sexual orientation and gender identity in the Olympic Charter remains vital to sport and the founding principals of the Olympic movement, the message of acceptance and diversity must be heard louder then ever from the IOC and leaders throughout the world for our athletes and Russian brothers and sisters." 

Occupy-anti-gay-group-russia-2Apparently, president Rogge of the IOC agrees with this sentiment, previously stating, during a meeting that took place in Moscow on August 9th, that “The Olympic charter is clear. A sport is a human right and it should be available to all, regardless of race, sex or sexual orientation." Unfortunately, Rogge's remarks don't have the potential to affect much change if the charter does not reflect them. 

"Additionally, UESE and its partner organizations support the idea that the IOC should consider a country’s human rights record and laws when allowing nation’s to bid as a host city. UESE proposed to the IOC that countries that discriminate against persons on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, or any other criteria, should not be qualified to bid for or host Olympic Games.
"Lastly, UESE and its partners requested that the IOC should require the presence of a community-based Pride House at all Olympic Games to foster the above goals and encourage dialogue and exchange on issues of discrimination and visibility for LGBT athletes and the LGBT sport movement."

UESE states in their release that "new program and strategy initiatives" are currently in the works, and that the group will be announcing them some time in the coming weeks. Already, Pride House has announced a "Same Sex Hand Holding Initiative", which encourages all Olympic participants, regardless of their orientation or identity, to hold hands with as many mambers of the same sex as possible. 


  1. JMC says

    Gender identity is still super controversial in sporting events so I unfortunately doubt our trans* allies will be ensured protection, but hopefully sexual orientation will be added in the coming weeks so the IOC can’t bully/threaten:punish gay athletes with bullsh*t claims of propaganda.

  2. Kev C says

    At least the IOC doesn’t appear to be overtly homophobic like the IAAF almost certainly is.

  3. Mike Ryan says

    Personally I think that urge should be a demand. Either the IOC updates their policies and regulations or their won’t be any Olympic Games much less an IOC. How the IOC could have allowed the current atrocity of Russia hosting the games is a travesty and one of their greatest errors, among many.

  4. billmiller says

    With all the gay athletes OUT there, the IOC as an international org. should sign on and add us to their charter for protection.

  5. Koskalaka Maricón says

    Good for UESE and their hand-holding initiative! Isn’t it ironic that the IOC will support, if not enforce, Russia’s “propaganda” laws forbidding overt expressions of other-than-heterosexual gender identity and equality rather than fully support the athletes’ expressions of gender identity and equality if they happen to not be heterosexual. Talk about your Propaganda with a capital “P,” and I’m thinking and talking about you, Putin. Finally, those Olympic rings (shown above in their correct, standard colors) include some of the colors of the rainbow: How is this prominently-displayed Sochi symbol NOT propaganda?

  6. Jerry6 says

    Unless things change, I will not be watching the Olympics, or being subjected to the product advertising that goes along with it.

  7. Don says

    No one seems to making much of the IOC’s position that speaking out against this law consitutes “political, religious or racial propaganda”, as opposed to advocating for basic human rights. In Berlin in 1936 the IOC wanted signs taken down. This time they asked the Russian government to refrain from enforcing the law during the games, then it’s back to your pogroms as soon as the last plane takes off.