During the lead-up to the 2014 Winter Olympics, protests and campaigns arose surrounding the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people in Russia.

Concerns for LGBT athletes and supporters during the Games began as early as March 2012, when a Russian judge blocked the establishment of a Pride House in Sochi, ruling that "propaganda of non-traditional sexual relationships" would "undermine the security of Russian society", and that it conflicted with public morality and the country's policies "in the area of family motherhood and childhood protection."[1] The majority of protests, however, centred on the passing of a law in June 2013, which banned the distribution of "propaganda of non-traditional sexual relationships" among minors. The propaganda law had been characterized by the Western media and other critics as a ban on "gay propaganda", arguing that it was broad enough to ban any public display of LGBT symbols and suppress LGBT culture. The law itself was also considered to have caused an increase in homophobic violence, and an increase in the arrest of pro-LGBT protesters.[2][3][4][5][6]

The implications of the law on the then-upcoming Winter Olympics were a major concern among athletes and the Western media, as the Olympic Charter contains language explicitly denouncing all forms of discrimination. Early international pressure was leveraged to compel the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to move the Olympics to another country, as well as pressure on Olympic sponsors to take a stand for LGBT equality. In tandem, calls to boycott and protest the Olympics before, during, and after the games also went out from various organizations and groups, and a number of Olympic athletes came out as a symbolic protest of the law. Prior to the Games, similar pressure was placed on major Olympic sponsors, and several non-sponsors also made public statements in support of LGBT rights. Several national politicians declined to attend the Games, which some Western media outlets attributed as connected to the legislation, while others stated that few leaders normally attend the Winter Games as it is not a "must attend" event.

Timeline of protests and related events

2013

2014 (pre-Games)

2014 (during the Games)

See also

Footnotes

  1. ^ Three protest parks were designated in Beijing during the 2008 Summer Olympics, at the suggestion of the IOC. All 77 applications to protest there had been withdrawn or denied, and no protests took place. Four persons who applied to protest were arrested or sentenced to reeducation.(Elderly Chinese Women Sentenced to Labor Re-education, The Washington Post, August 20, 2008; Peter Foster, The IOC plays appeaser in Beijing, Telegraph Blogs, August 20, 2008.)

References

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