Pride House International--a coalition group of LGBT sports and human rights organizations--has plenty to say about the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, but the group is already setting its sights on the 2020 games. According to a press release issued yesterday, Pride House International is calling on the International Olympic Committee to choose a host country for the 2020 Summer Olympics that respects and values LGBT rights:
As the 104 voting members of the International Olympic Committee head to Buenos Aires for the organisation’s 125th session, the Pride House International coalition of LGBT sport and human rights groups is appealing to them to recall the Olympic Charter’s commitment to human rights in their choice of the host of the 2020 Summer Olympics. Pride House International has published resources for use by IOC voters as they consider the finalist bidders Istanbul, Madrid, and Tokyo, and is calling on the IOC to support the creation of an advisory committee for future bids to evaluate the human rights impact of hosting coming Olympic Games.
At its 125th session in Buenos Aires, the IOC will elect the host city for 2020 this Saturday, September 7. Three cities are in the final running for the honor of hosting the games: Istanbul, Madrid and Tokyo. On its website, Pride House International has compiled a range of human rights information for IOC voters to use in making their decision, with materials from the United Nations, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, the U.S. State Department and the European branch of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association.
The IOC does not consider a country's human rights record in selecting which city should host upcoming Olympic games. That policy has faced criticsm in the past--particularly in the case of China's 2008 Beijing games--and the present, with LGBT groups criticizing the Russian town of Sochi as the site for the 2014 Olympics in light of Russia's draconian 'anti-LGBT propaganda' law.
Last month, as we reported here on Towleroad, Pride House International proposed a campaign called the Same Sex Hand Holding Initiative, or SSHHI:
The group is proposing the Same Sex Hand Holding Initiative, which encourages all Olympic participants: athletes, coaches, spectators, staff, media, regardless of their orientation or background, to hold hands with as many members of the same sex as possible as often as possible. That's it.
In addition to its virtual campaigns, Pride House International will be producing posters, shirts and pins to raise awareness of LGBT issues in sports during the Sochi games. Those materials will be available on the group's website next month.