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Billie Jean King Arrives In Sochi, Talks Gay Rights

King

Billie Jean King arrived in Sochi, Russia this weekend as a member of the presidential delegation to today's closing ceremony of the Winter Olympics. She came to the country with a message to the LGBT community.

The McClatchy Foreign Staff reports on her thoughts on holding the games in Russia:

“Having the Winter Olympics here, the situation here in Russia, has opened up dialogue,” King said Saturday. “I’m always big on love over hate, and I think it’s important that everyone’s treated equally and good to each other. Hopefully, the LGBT community here in Russia knows that they’re not alone and we’ll learn from them.”

The also told the BBC she believes the International Olympic Committee should take into account a country's position on gay rights when considering it for the games.

"In the [bid] process it would be helpful. I would like to see it but I also understand it's not that easy." "If you can it would cut down the number of [eligible] countries. Sometimes it's good to go to a country where things aren't as good and help change things."I'm sure they'll [IOC] be looking at things differently the next time.

King had planned to attend the opening ceremony of the Olympics but canceled due to her mother's failing health. Her mother passed away on February 7.

Watch a short ESPN interview with King in which she talks about Russia, the Olympics and Vladimir Putin, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Billie Jean King Arrives In Sochi, Talks Gay Rights" »


Bob Costas: Russian Government 'Is Hostile To Gay Rights'

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Bob Costas took a moment during NBC's coverage last night to comment on the state of human rights in Russia, one the first times during the Sochi Olympics wherein the network has acknowledged the issue on air.

Said the newscaster:

The Sochi games have gone much better than many feared and predicted. So far security has held fast, venues have been praised, athletes and spectators have almost unanimously cited the warmth and hospitality of their hosts. All of which is truly wonderful but should not serve to obscure a larger and more lasting truth.

While in many significant ways, Russian citizens have better lives than Soviet citizens of a generation ago, there’s is still a government which imprisons dissidents, is hostile to gay rights, sponsors and supports a vicious regime in Syria - and that’s just a partial list.

The Sochi games are Vladimir Putin's games, from their inception to their conclusion, and all points in between. And if they are successful on their own terms, as appears to be the case, then at least in some corners it will help to burnish the image of a regime with which much of the world takes significant issue. No amount of Olympic glory can mask those realities any more than a biathlon gold medal, though hard-earned and deeply satisfying as it is, can put out the fires in Kiev.

 Watch the full clip here.


Russian Gay Activist Disrupts Scott Lively’s Speech at Anti-LGBT Event in D.C. – VIDEO

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At a ‘pro-family’ press conference in D.C. on Friday, evangelist Scott Lively was caught on camera being heckled by Viacheslav Revin, a Russian gay activist and refugee in the U.S.

Queer Russia reports:

Revin disrupted Scott Lively’s presentation and made a statement with a help of Ellen Sturtz translating his speech into English:

"Homophobia is a first step toward dictatorship! Putin is a dictator who condemned to death thousands of orphaned children by banning foreign adoptions. Putin is a corrupted thief who invents scapegoats and deflects attention from his crimes. His latest invention is the anti-gay law, so gays in modern Russia feel like jews back in the USSR. Declaring support for Putin means denying the democracy and demanding racial segregation. This is what Putin doing in Russia now in regards to gays and migrant workers from Central Asia."

Lively-protest1Lively's speech was intended to announce the creation of the Coalition for Family Values, which includes Peter LaBarbera, Linda Harvey, and others dedicated to “confronting LGBT agenda” and supporting the Russian government’s anti-gay efforts.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Earlier this week, HRC released a video denouncing Lively and other prominent U.S. anti-gay activists for their work in helping Russia pass its gay propaganda law. 

Continue reading "Russian Gay Activist Disrupts Scott Lively’s Speech at Anti-LGBT Event in D.C. – VIDEO" »


Formula One's Bernie Ecclestone 'Completely Agrees' with Russia's Anti-Gay Laws: VIDEO

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Bernie Ecclestone, the President and CEO of Formula One Management, often referred to as 'F1 Supremo' by tabloids, tells CNN that he support Russian President Vladimir Putin and his anti-gay law.

EcclestoneSaid Ecclestone:

"He [Putin] hasn't said he doesn't agree [with homosexuality], just that he doesn't want these things publicised to an audience under the age of 18. I completely agree with those sentiments and if you took a world census you'd find 90% of the world agree with it as well. I've great admiration for him and his courage to say what he says. It may upset a few people but that's how the world is. It's how he sees the world and I think he's completely right."

Ecclestone's remarks come in advance of the first Russian Grand Prix, set to take place on the streets of Sochi in October.

Listen to his remarks in a CNN report, AFTER THE JUMP...

LotusIn February, Formula One team Lotus was forced to apologize after publishing a tweet that featured two men kissing with the message: "Ahead of the opening ceremony, we would like to wish all athletes a successful 2014 Olympic Winter Games #Sochi2014"

According to the BBC, "The Lotus F1 tweet upset top management and shareholders of the team, who are owned by the investment group Genii Capital, because it was causing problems for their business."

Formula One has a bit of a poor reputation in this area. It was involved in a lawsuit in 2009 in which it was accused of homophobia and racism by an employee who said he was fired for being gay.

Continue reading "Formula One's Bernie Ecclestone 'Completely Agrees' with Russia's Anti-Gay Laws: VIDEO" »


Mo Sochi Mo Problems: VIDEO

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A must-watch mash-up of Sochi ills from DJ Steve Porter.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Mo Sochi Mo Problems: VIDEO" »


Here's Video of Bisexual Gold Medalist Speedskater Ireen Wüst 'Cuddling' Vladimir Putin: WATCH

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Yesterday, activist group Queer Nation came down hard on Dutch gold medalist speedskater Ireen Wüst after she gave an interview to Dutch media and expressed excitement about "cuddling" with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Said Wüst:

"I got a cuddle from him. He congratulated me and asked if everything was OK in Russia and I congratulated him on (Russian speedskater) Olga Graf, of course, for her third place (in the 3,000 meters). He was happy to see me, but then he had to leave again. But I cuddled him."

Wrote Queer Nation's Duncan Osborne in a press release:

“The Olympic athletes have said that they will not make political statements during the Games yet that is exactly what Ireen Wust did. By embracing Vladimir Putin, a man who has trampled on the human rights of LGBT Russians, political dissidents, artists, undocumented immigrants, and others in Russia, Wust has endorsed his fascist agenda....LGBT Russians and political dissidents are showing us what courage and commitment look like. Embracing Vladimir Putin is a betrayal of that courage and commitment. Wust should be ashamed of herself. Every athlete in Sochi should understand that the whole world is watching. We cannot make the athletes show the sort of courage that LGBT Russians display, but we will not be silent and we will not forget if the athletes embrace Putin.”

Now, video has emerged of Wüst's 'cuddle' with the Russian leader.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Here's Video of Bisexual Gold Medalist Speedskater Ireen Wüst 'Cuddling' Vladimir Putin: WATCH" »


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