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Documentary 'To Russia With Love' Looks at LGBT Rights In Russia In The Lead Up To Sochi Olympics: VIDEO

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To Russia With Love, a new documentary from EPIX narrated by Jane Lynch, takes a closer look at what life is like for LGBT people in Russia and at the convergence of sports, human rights and activism that took place during the Sochi Olympics earlier this year. As the film's synopsis notes, "LGBT athletes and activists [had to] choose whether to risk their own safety by speaking out against Russia's anti-gay laws." The doc follows out figure skater and commentator Johnny Weir and official US Olympic delegate Billie Jean King as they come to Sochi and meet a 17-year-old gay Russian named Vlad who details the tragic truths of the hardships faced by LGBT people in one of the world's most virulently anti-gay nations. The film also features Jason Collins, Stephen Fry, Greg Louganis, Blake Skjellerup and Mark Tewksbury.

Watch young Vlad talk about his experience of Russia's hatred for the LGBT community, along with his meeting Weir and King along with a trailer for the documentary, AFTER THE JUMP...

The documentary will debut on EPIX on October 29 at 8 PM. 

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Olympic Diving Champ Greg Louganis Judges Jimmy Kimmel Bellyflop Contest: VIDEO

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Jimmy Kimmel pulled confused pedestrians off the street to compete in his annual Belly Flop Competition and had one of history's greatest divers, Olympic champion Greg Louganis, on hand to do some of the judging.

See who made the biggest splash, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Olympic Champion Greg Louganis Calls for Protest of Russia's Anti-gay Laws

At a Capitol Hill briefing today, Olympic champion diver Greg Louganis again expressed anger at Russia's anti-gay regime, calling on Olympians to protest the heinous law by dedicating their performances at the Sochi Games to their LGBT friends and relatives. USA Today reports:

Greg LouganisLouganis said as he understands the law, Olympic athletes in Sochi could potentially be in trouble for wearing rainbow pins in support of the LGBT movement. That, he said, is why he thinks athletes should publicly thank gay friends and relatives who have supported them in their road to the Olympics

"I don't see how the IOC can say anything about that, because it's personal, not political," Louganis said. "If you have a supportive aunt, uncle, cousin, friend who is gay, you don't win a gold medal by yourself. There is a team of people behind you. And to recognize those people is a way athletes can show their support of the LGBT community and what's going on in Russia."

Louganis, however, remains opposed to a boycott of the Games themselves, saying that it would hurt the wrong people - the athletes. He says he has received harsh criticism from fans for that position.

"I got hate mail," he said. "I was told, 'How can I call myself a gay man?' Or that I was a horrible homosexual. I had one really graphic and hateful one and actually reached out to him and we became friends. I was able to express why. I come from the perspective of an athlete."

"I commended the guy who was critical of me. All I'm trying to do is incite action. That's all he's trying to do. We're all on the same side. If you say boycott, that's how you address the issue. I am saying no boycott, but maybe there is another way."


American Apparel's New 'Principle 6' Protest Merchandise Targets Sochi Games, Russia's Anti-gay Laws

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LGBT organizations All Out and Athlete Ally have partnered with American Apparel in the creation of Principle 6, a new line of merchandise that aims to use the Olympic committee's very own charter language as a way for consumers to stand in solidarity with gay Russians, athletes, and visitors during the upcoming Sochi Games. The New York Times reports:

RoddickThe proponents of the Principle 6 campaign say it can be effective because it will avoid the Olympic commtitee's strictures against political statements or demonstrations by using the committee's own language as a rallying cry for nondiscrimination. The line of Principle 6 branded merchandise will bear a rewritten version of the principle's declaration: "Sport does not discriminate on the grounds of race, religion, politics, gender or otherwise." (The paraphrase also serves to avoid another sticky issue: The Olympic committee is zealous in its policing of the use of the words "Olympic" or "Olympics" by anyone other than its members and official sponsors.)

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Andre Banks, executive director of All Out, said the merchandise "allows us to deliver the Principle 6 message on a scale that would make the campaign incredibly powerful."

American Apparel is to sell the merchandise online, beginning early Monday morning, and in stores around the world, beginning on Jan. 1. The line will include T-shirts, hoodies, hats, bags and underwear. The proceeds from the sales of the merchandise, minus the costs, "will go to benefit Russian LGBT groups in St. Petersburg and Moscow," Mr. Banks said.

At least four dozen athletes have already committed to working with the campaign including out speed skater Blake Skjellerup, U.S. runner and ally Nick Symmonds, out former Olympic diver Greg Louganis, and tennis player Andy Roddick (above).


Greg Louganis And Johnny Chaillot Marry

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The two were married in Malbu last night.

"It was amazing because I have so many people from all facets of my life here tonight and they are all here and celebrating it is all wonderful," Louganis told People immediately following the sunset ceremony. "I already feel different. The ceremony was so reflective and representative of who we are." 

Congrats, guys!


International Olympic Committee to Receive 300,000 Signatures Urging It to Condemn Russia's Anti-Gay Laws

The International Olympic Committee is set to receive a large delivery tomorrow, according to a press release from the LGBT sports group Athlete Ally:

SochiOn Wednesday at 2:00 PM local time, All Out will deliver more than 300,000 signatures from All Out members, a letter from British actor Stephen Fry, as well as thousands of signatures from Athlete Ally members and former Olympians including Greg Louganis, a four-time Olympic Gold medalist, to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) headquarters.

This global call is urging the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to condemn Russia's anti-gay laws before the Olympics Games, denounce the laws and urge Russia to ensure the security of all visitors, athletes and Russian people, before, during, and after the Games.

"We hope the International Olympic Committee responds to All Out's members and the millions of people worldwide who want Russia to treat all of their citizens with dignity under the law," said Anastasia Smirnova, from the Russian LGBT Network in St Petersburg. "Unless the anti-gay laws are repealed now, after Sochi Russians will be left with a government ready to punish people simply because of who they are or who they love. We continue our call for world leaders, including the IOC, to speak out now before it is too late."

Olympians and athletes from around the world shared statements of solidarity with All Out and Athlete Ally ahead of the petition delivery including four-time Olympic Gold medalist Greg Louganis, Super Bowl Champion Brendon Ayabadejo, Oakland Raider Chris Kluwe, ATP tennis players Mardy Fish and James Blake, Australian Women’s Cricket player Alex Blackwell, and Israeli Basketball Super League's Dan Grunfeld.

"We believe that when people know better, they do better," said Hudson Taylor, Executive Director of Athlete Ally. "We see the opportunity for a globally transformative experience to rise out of the ignorance and bigotry in Russia."

Greg Louganis four-time Olympic Gold medalist and Athlete Ally Ambassador said: "I urge the International Olympic Committee to listen to the more than 300,000 people who have signed Athlete Ally and All Out petitions urging world leaders to speak out against Russia's anti-gay laws. The IOC should urge Russia to repeal their anti-gay laws ahead of the 2014 Olympic Games rather than simply suspending the laws during the games. No one should be satisfied until these dangerous laws are repealed and all Russians are treated with dignity under the law."

Read the statements HERE.


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