Toronto Diary
2 min

Olympic committee claims athletes and fans will be exempt from Russia’s anti-gay laws

The backlash against Russia over their anti-gay legislation is slowly mounting, as more and more Russian-made products are being boycotted and international scorn is being placed on the country’s government.

One of the big issues brought up recently is whether or not gay Olympians would be attending the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Considering how draconian the laws are, it was pretty incertain whether or not it would be safe for LGBT athletes or allies to show up.

Well, the good(ish) news is that according to LGBTQNation, the Olympics committee has announce that athletes and fans attending the Sochi Olympics will be exempt from Russia’s anti-gay laws.

“As a sporting organization, what we can do is to continue to work to ensure that the Games can take place without discrimination against athletes, officials, spectators and the media,” the IOC said, in a statement. “To that end, the IOC has received assurances from the highest level of government in Russia that the legislation will not affect those attending or taking part in the Games.”

The committee said that the Olympic games should be “should be available to all regardless of race, sex or sexual orientation,” and that applies to spectators, officials, media and athletes.

“We would oppose in the strongest terms any move that would jeopardize this principle,” the committee said.

So the good news is that gay atheletes and allies can attend without having to worry about legal repurcussion. It’s a nice start, although that doesn’t necessarily guarantee safety considering what certain citizens are doing.

At this point, I’m guessing Putin isn’t going to respond to an appeal to reason, but consider this: The guy believes that “gay propaganda” is seriously damaging his country, but is willing to backtrack for the sake of The Olympics. Which is to say that on some level, he probably knows his law is bullshit and he knows that he allowed his own personal prejudices to drag an entire country down.

If all it takes for a country to exempt one of its laws is something like The Olympic committee stepping in, then chances are it was probably a bullshit law to begin with. Although The Olympic games do have a history of leaving their host cities in massive debt, so . . . Who knows? Maybe karma will step in here.

[Image via LGBTQNation]