State Department Issues Travel Warning to LGBT Americans Heading to Sochi Olympics

On Friday, the State Department issues a travel alert to anyone heading to Russia for the upcoming Olympics in Sochi, noting that LGBT Americans in particular should be mindful of the country’s laws banning “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations.”

SochiRead the alert, in part:

"Russian citizens found guilty of violating the law could face a fine of up to 100,000 rubles ($3,100). Foreign citizens face similar fines, up to 14 days in jail, and deportation," the alert states. "The law makes it a crime to promote LGBT equality in public, but lacks concrete legal definitions for key terms. Russian authorities have indicated a broad interpretation of what constitutes 'LGBT propaganda,' and provided vague guidance as to which actions will be interpreted by authorities as 'LGBT propaganda.'"

Metro Weekly reports that the alert also warns Americans to avoid public demonstrations, which many expect will in part focus on the anti-LGBT law signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin in June 2013.

"U.S. citizens should avoid large crowds in areas that lack enhanced security measures," the alert reads. "Use caution in any areas where protests, demonstrations, or other public disturbances are taking place. Demonstrations intended to be peaceful can develop quickly and unpredictably, sometimes turning violent."


  1. MaryM says

    Obviously people need to be very careful while in fascist Russia.

    But if a US citizen is arrested under these fascist laws it will be a public relations disaster for the Putin dictatorship.

  2. Will G. says

    I thought the Russian govt. and the IOC ensured everyone that ALL is good and no need for concerns.

    Now our own state dept. has issued warnings to be vigilant??? WTF is that. I it safe or not?

    American athletes, LBGT, and attendees are risking potential danger by attending these games. Who knows what will blow up next or what idiot fascist will hit you with a bat.

    We said boycott the Russian LBGT propaganda law, SOCHI Olympics and the IOC and the corporate sponsors, including Johnny Weir said either it was too late, or no problems, don’t worry.

    Well now it’s time to worry.

  3. Paul R says

    This is a pretty blunt diplomatic smackdown. Like any LGBT people going to Sochi wouldn’t know of these laws. The State Department doesn’t issue warnings like this all too often.

  4. bkmn says

    If it is not safe to venture out in a host country that country should never have been selected for the Olympics.

  5. HadenoughBS says

    Not only is travel to the Sochii Olympic games unsafe for the LGBT community, with the ongoing unrest in this dictatorship, primarily at the hands of anti-Putin Islamists, I wouldn’t risk my life going there – or anywhere in Russia – period!

  6. Rad says

    BKMN…ahh… yup.

    If I were an athlete, I would really be dubious of attending the games, let alone with an entourage or family in tow. Human life is just not worth that much risk.

  7. Jere says

    Here’s how this is going to play out. Putin will order the police to lay off and ignore the law during the Olympics. There will be no arrests, of foreigners or natives, even if foreigners go there specifically to try to create an issue. After the games, it’ll be business as usual and Putin will be able to say to the world “Look, you’re blowing this out of proportion…nothing happened to anyone at the Olympics.” And then it will be business as usual in Russia with the government persecuting its LGBT citizens again.

  8. Mike Ryan says

    Which is why, of course, we are sending a wussy queen and his two bull-dyke lesbians as protection. Duh…

  9. zeddy says

    This is kinda a duh moment. Having been in Afghanistan, obviously I would be careful there as well.

  10. Andy says

    There’s a difference between a Dept of State travel warning and a travel alert. This is a travel alert…