International Olympic Committee and all National Olympic Organizers: Russia must guarantee freedom of expression at the 2014 Winter Olympics
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"As host of the 2014 Olympics in Sochi this coming February, Russia will open its arms to visitors from around the world -- so long as they’re not gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. At least, that’s what gay rights activists fear after the government passed one of the most draconian anti-gay laws on the planet this week." (Mark Johanson, International Business Times, July 4, 2013)
“It is now literally illegal in Russia to say that you are gay. It is illegal to kiss your partner in public -- say, after you win a gold medal. It is illegal for a gay athlete to wear the rainbow flag. Or even to acknowledge during an interview that they are gay -- or for the foreign press to acknowledge it -- unless they mention that gay sexual orientation in a negative way.” (eTN Global Travel Industry News, July 2, 2013)
Russia has made it clear to all lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender athletes, guests, and journalists, that they are not welcome at the Sochi games if they do not remain silent about who they are and what their most significant relationships mean to them. They call this propaganda. Interestingly however, everyone is free to discuss these issues so long as they paint them in a negative light, and yet that is not considered propaganda.
As host nation, Russia has an obligation to welcome all athletes, guests, and journalists equally, and not to place onerous conditions on their participation in the games. We, the signers of this petition, call on the International Olympic Committee and all National Olympic Organizations of the world to demand that Russia guarantee the freedom of expression to all attendees and participants in the Sochi games.
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