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04/19/2007


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

Screen Shot 2013-12-02 at 1.17.15 PM

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.)

...

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

Greglou

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.


First Inductees of the National Gay and Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame Honored in Chicago

21 individuals, three organizations, one sports team, and one corporation were among those honored Friday night in Chicago as the first inductees to the National Gay and Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame. The events, according to CBS News, included "a dinner Friday night to honor the inductees at a ceremony at the Center on Halsted and an event on Saturday at Wrigley Field called 'Out at Wrigley,' which organizers says is the largest "Gay Day' at a major league sporting event."

PalloneAmong those inducted was Dave Pallone, who umpired the first night game at Wrigley Field.

Said Pallone, via the AP:

"It is a tremendous honor and ... I hope it gives young people and adults alike who happen to be LGBT and want to be in professional sports another example of why they should continue to strive for their dreams," Pallone said.

Pallone also spoke out about the situation in Russia: "The Olympic Games are for the athletes, not for political or religious figures. Athletes come in all shapes and sizes, colors and orientations," said David Pallone, a former umpire in Major League Baseball. "I truly believe that the IOC should really start thinking about the athletes before they select the host cities."

The complete list of the organization's first inductees:

Gay Games, Outsports.com, Chicago Cubs, International Gay Rodeo Association (IGRA), Anheuser Busch, Chris Kluwe, Brendon Ayanbadejo, Ben Cohen, Dave Pallone, Justin Fashanu, LZ Granderson, Christina Kahrl, Dr. Tom Waddell, Chuck Dima, Jerry Pritikin, Dave Kopay, Glenn Burke, Renee Richards, Billie, Jean King, Martina Navratilova, Greg Louganis, Patty Sheehan, Andrew Goldstein, Jason Collins, Orlando Cruz and Johnny Weir.


Olympic Champion Greg Louganis: Russia's Anti-Gay Law 'Both Heartbreaking and Heinous'

Olympic champion diver Greg Louganis spoke with USA Today about the controversy over gay athletes and the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics as he prepared to be inducted into the new National Gay & Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame in Chicago on Friday.

LouganisSaid Louganis:

"I can't begin to imagine what it must be like for a gay athlete in Russia. It was hard enough to compete closeted representing the United States, a country that is considerably evolved on LGBT rights. It is unfathomable to consider what it's like for the Russian athlete - knowing that if you were to come out you could lose everything you've worked your entire life to achieve and then on top of that to be considered a criminal. It is both heartbreaking and heinous."

Louganis also said he hopes Putin and Russia will treat the gay community with "the dignity and respect the deserve."

Read the full interview here.

Louganis' statement come as Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Murko warned that athletes and visitors to Russia during the Sochi Games will not be given any special exemptions from the nation's anti-gay propaganda laws, despite assurances from the International Olympic Committee that this isn't the case.


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