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Gay Athletes and the 2014 Winter Olympics

YYW
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7/31/2013 6:55:42 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Gay Athletes Could Be Prosecuted at 2014 Winter Olympics, Russian Lawmaker Suggests
The International Olympic Committee is Cautiously Optimistic.

By KIRIT RADIA
MOSCOW July 31, 2013 "

In Russia it is now illegal to even speak about homosexuality around minors, much less openly display gay pride. Technically the ban is against "propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations" around minors, but the implication for openly gay individuals is clear. Public displays of affection by gays, including holding hands or displaying symbols like a rainbow flag, are now banned. Violators face steep fines and jail time; foreigners face similar penalties plus deportation.

So what will happen to openly gay athletes and fans, as well as any vocal supporters or protestors, when Russia hosts the Winter Olympics next year in Sochi?

This week, comments by a lawmaker from St. Petersburg set off a firestorm online when he said that fans and athletes would not be immune from prosecution during the games.

Vitaly Milonov, who sponsored legislation in St. Petersburg last year that became the basis for a national law signed by President Vladimir Putin in June, was quoted telling the Interfax news agency that the law will remain in place during the Olympics and will be applied to foreigners.

"If a law has been approved by the federal legislature and signed by the president, then the government has no right to suspend it. It doesn't have the authority," he reportedly said, stressing that he has not heard anything different from Russian officials.

It is worth noting, however, that Milonov is only a regional lawmaker and is not a member of the federal government or the national legislature. But he has been on the forefront of Russia's war against homosexuality. Last summer he threatened to fine pop star Madonna for violating the law after she spoke out against it from the stage during a concert in St. Petersburg.

The International Olympic Committee appears only cautiously optimistic that the games will be safe for gay athletes and fans, noting that it has sought assurances from Russian authorities.

"This legislation has just been passed into law and it remains to be seen whether and how it will be implemented, particularly as regards the Games in Sochi," the IOC said in an emailed statement to ABC News.

"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 statement continued.

The IOC said it continues to urge that the games "take place without discrimination against athletes, officials, spectators and the media."

The U.S. Olympic committee recently sent a letter to American athletes warning them about the law, but stressing, "We do not know how and to what extent they will be enforced during the Olympic and Paralympic Games."

The USOC says they are doing what they can to ensure the safety of all Americans at the Games.

"We are aware of these laws and are engaged in active discussions with the International Olympic Committee and the US State Department about how we can ensure that every American in Sochi, especially our athletes, are safe and secure," the letter continues.

At least one athlete, openly gay New Zealand speed skater Blake Skjellerup, has already pledged to wear a rainbow pin during the games.

Anti-gay sentiment runs high in Russia, where homosexuality was illegal during the Soviet Union and only decriminalized in 1993. A law that sent homosexuals to psychiatric wards wasn't annulled until 1999. Petitions for gay pride parades in Moscow have been rejected and unsanctioned rallies are often met by egg-throwing Russian Orthodox believers as well as physical violence. Police are often seen ignoring the attacks, and they often detain the gay rights activists.

In recent months, a new trend of attacks has gained popularity on Russian social media. Groups lure gay men online into meeting them in person, then humiliate and attack them on camera. They post the images and videos online under a hashtag that translates as "Occupy Pedophilia."

The U.S. has not yet issued any specific warning to gay Americans traveling to Russia. The State Department's informational page about Russia, however, notes the law and the dangers faced by those who are openly gay in Russia.

"Discrimination based on sexual orientation is widespread in Russia. Harassment, threats, and acts of violence targeting LGBT individuals have occurred," the page notes. "Public actions (including dissemination of information, statements, displays, or perceived conspicuous behavior) contradicting or appearing to contradict such laws may lead to arrest, prosecution, and the imposition of a fine."
http://abcnews.go.com...

The concern about discrimination against foreigners attending the Olympics comes amid a renewed effort abroad to pressure Russia about the new anti-gay law, including calls for boycott of the games as well as of Russian products.

Influential gay activist Dan Savage last week called on supporters to stop buying Stolichnaya and Russian Standard, two major Russian vodka labels, and to urge bars and restaurants to do the same, coining the hashtag #DumpStoli.

Leading Russian gay activist Nikolai Alexeyev, however, said he did not think the vodka ban will be effective since Stolichnaya consumed overseas is both bottled and based outside Russia.

"To be honest, I don't see the point in boycotting the Russian vodka," he said, according to Gay Star News.

"It will impact anyone except the companies involved a little bit. The effect will die out very fast, it will not last forever," Alexeyev said.

Stolichnaya is produced by a Russian company for domestic consumption and by Luxembourg-based SPI Group for sale in more than 100 countries abroad. The overseas product is made from Russian ingredients, but bottled in Latvia.

In response, the company's website has highlighted its longstanding support for gay rights, including a banner image on its Facebook page stating "Stolichnaya Premium Vodka stands strong & proud with the global LGBT community against the attitude & actions of the Russian government."

Calls for a full boycott of the games have been few thus far, but some activists, including the group Human Rights Campaign, are urging NBC, which will air the games in the United States, to include stories about the anti-gay law in its coverage.

Mark Lazarus, the head of NBC Sports, has promised that if the law impacts any part of the Winter Games, "we will make sure we are acknowledging it and recognizing it," according to the Guardian.

Copyright " 2013 ABC News Internet Ventures

---------------------------------

Disgusting.
Tsar of DDO
AnDoctuir
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7/31/2013 8:26:06 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Hey, I wonder is this a case of people becoming what's made of them, like an offshoot of all those "in soviet Russia" jokes maybe. Nervous laughter messing the world up bad maybe? Hmm.
DetectableNinja
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7/31/2013 8:31:33 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
What is this I don't even

Looks like Russia's jumping the shark yet again.
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AnDoctuir
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7/31/2013 8:39:34 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Seriously though, this is definitely in response to America's legalizing gay marriage recently. Don't be so self-righteous as to consider you guys haven't had a hand in this.
Mirza
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7/31/2013 8:50:42 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Also, there is NO need to be surprised at this. Russians always do what they want, and don't care about outside opinion. As long as their national unity is stable, their needs are met.
YYW
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7/31/2013 8:56:30 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 7/31/2013 8:38:18 PM, tulle wrote:
I think a boycott of the games is the best way to go about this.

I agree.
Tsar of DDO
AnDoctuir
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7/31/2013 9:02:01 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Hard to imagine they'll care one bit about being boycotted to be honest. It'll probably just drive them on.
YYW
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7/31/2013 9:10:55 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 7/31/2013 9:02:01 PM, AnDoctuir wrote:
Hard to imagine they'll care one bit about being boycotted to be honest. It'll probably just drive them on.

Russia is a bizarre country. Because it developed historically about 50-100 years behind the rest of Europe, it's always had "something to prove" in a cultural sense -but paradoxically its people are among the most conservative in the world. It's like a geopolitical/cultural inferiority complex in tandem with a forceful belief that "their way" is best. There are some things that Russians do very well: caviar, vodka, weapons, oil and steel. There are other things that Russia fails wholly at: economic legitimacy, cultural development, not being xenophobic, investing in human capital, etc. So, that to say this, you're probably right that Russians will -at least publicly- be ok with being boycotted. But privately, they will resent it bitterly. Russia is in many ways the South Carolina of Europe: very convinced of it's own importance, but very bitter that others don't agree.
Tsar of DDO
AnDoctuir
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7/31/2013 9:16:34 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
I do agree with you that privately they'll resent it, but then that's no good to anyone, just something to fester in their souls and probably make things worse.
tulle
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8/1/2013 12:16:53 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 7/31/2013 9:02:01 PM, AnDoctuir wrote:
Hard to imagine they'll care one bit about being boycotted to be honest. It'll probably just drive them on.

It's not really about whether they care or not, it's more about the principle. I'm sure Abercrombie and Fitch could not care less whether I wear their clothes or not, but I can still refuse to wear them on principle.
yang.
drhead
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8/1/2013 1:42:55 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 7/31/2013 9:10:55 PM, YYW wrote:
At 7/31/2013 9:02:01 PM, AnDoctuir wrote:
Hard to imagine they'll care one bit about being boycotted to be honest. It'll probably just drive them on.

Russia is a bizarre country. Because it developed historically about 50-100 years behind the rest of Europe, it's always had "something to prove" in a cultural sense -but paradoxically its people are among the most conservative in the world. It's like a geopolitical/cultural inferiority complex in tandem with a forceful belief that "their way" is best. There are some things that Russians do very well: caviar, vodka, weapons, oil and steel. There are other things that Russia fails wholly at: economic legitimacy, cultural development, not being xenophobic, investing in human capital, etc. So, that to say this, you're probably right that Russians will -at least publicly- be ok with being boycotted. But privately, they will resent it bitterly. Russia is in many ways the South Carolina of Europe: very convinced of it's own importance, but very bitter that others don't agree.

Hey, we're not that bad. Then again, I didn't choose to live here, either.

Also, you forgot "nuclear power" as one of the things they are bad at. "Containment building? Who needs one of those?" is not how you build a nuclear reactor.
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YYW
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8/1/2013 1:47:36 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/1/2013 1:42:55 AM, drhead wrote:
At 7/31/2013 9:10:55 PM, YYW wrote:
At 7/31/2013 9:02:01 PM, AnDoctuir wrote:
Hard to imagine they'll care one bit about being boycotted to be honest. It'll probably just drive them on.

Russia is a bizarre country. Because it developed historically about 50-100 years behind the rest of Europe, it's always had "something to prove" in a cultural sense -but paradoxically its people are among the most conservative in the world. It's like a geopolitical/cultural inferiority complex in tandem with a forceful belief that "their way" is best. There are some things that Russians do very well: caviar, vodka, weapons, oil and steel. There are other things that Russia fails wholly at: economic legitimacy, cultural development, not being xenophobic, investing in human capital, etc. So, that to say this, you're probably right that Russians will -at least publicly- be ok with being boycotted. But privately, they will resent it bitterly. Russia is in many ways the South Carolina of Europe: very convinced of it's own importance, but very bitter that others don't agree.

Hey, we're not that bad. Then again, I didn't choose to live here, either.

Also, you forgot "nuclear power" as one of the things they are bad at. "Containment building? Who needs one of those?" is not how you build a nuclear reactor.

There was a time when the USSR's nuclear program was first rate (relative to others in the world), but that is long a thing of the past now, indeed. The same applies to Soviet Space technological progression.
Tsar of DDO
AnDoctuir
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8/1/2013 7:50:53 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/1/2013 12:16:53 AM, tulle wrote:
At 7/31/2013 9:02:01 PM, AnDoctuir wrote:
Hard to imagine they'll care one bit about being boycotted to be honest. It'll probably just drive them on.

It's not really about whether they care or not, it's more about the principle. I'm sure Abercrombie and Fitch could not care less whether I wear their clothes or not, but I can still refuse to wear them on principle.

This is, of course, pretty stupid, though.
Maikuru
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8/1/2013 8:28:08 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 7/31/2013 8:56:30 PM, YYW wrote:
At 7/31/2013 8:38:18 PM, tulle wrote:
I think a boycott of the games is the best way to go about this.

I agree.
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Dragonfang
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8/3/2013 10:36:41 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
I don't see how any of the solutions presented will have any effect.

Perhaps you should try to internationally sue Russia based on "Hate crimes". It was already used on individuals, attempting to use it on a nation will be even more hilarious.
AlbinoBunny
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8/15/2013 3:42:59 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/1/2013 8:28:08 AM, Maikuru wrote:
At 7/31/2013 8:56:30 PM, YYW wrote:
At 7/31/2013 8:38:18 PM, tulle wrote:
I think a boycott of the games is the best way to go about this.

I agree.
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Dragonfang
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8/16/2013 12:01:46 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
I fail to see how a boycott will work as I do not believe the boycotters contribute to a significant percentage of the spectators. Furthermore, the US citizens are not the only nationality that watches the Winter Olympics.

Boycotts being successful does not necessarily mean loss of profit for the establishment being boycotted, a boycott can become successful by merely proving that the establishment generates significant negatives feedback for questionable decisions.

Your target is the Russian government as a whole, and the majority of the citizens support that decision. Your goal is to remove a national policy. So I predict that the effect this boycott will generate will be amusing for your target.
How exactly will you generate pressure enough? If you are going to boycott for symbolic reason that is fine, but predicting change without a reasonable theory of how that might happen is irrational.

Also, arguably the most important factor in boycotts is media attention. Will the homosexuality warriors force TV stations from multiple countries to not podcast the Winter Olympics? Will squares be filled with grassroots that demands cutting relations to Russia?

Seriously, it is a policy of a foreign nation people. It is decided and agreed by people and authorities under that juridically. All laws enforce a certain point of view, why all the intolerance?
Wallstreetatheist
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9/5/2013 2:01:03 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 7/31/2013 8:56:30 PM, YYW wrote:
At 7/31/2013 8:38:18 PM, tulle wrote:
I think a boycott of the games is the best way to go about this.

I agree.

I somewhat agree. Imagine how awful that must feel to train for an event your entire life, reach your peak athletic performance, and then be told that your country is boycotting the Olympics.
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Dragonfang
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9/5/2013 10:42:07 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 9/5/2013 2:01:03 AM, Wallstreetatheist wrote:
At 7/31/2013 8:56:30 PM, YYW wrote:
At 7/31/2013 8:38:18 PM, tulle wrote:
I think a boycott of the games is the best way to go about this.

I agree.

I somewhat agree. Imagine how awful that must feel to train for an event your entire life, reach your peak athletic performance, and then be told that your country is boycotting the Olympics.

This is seriously like Jimmy Carter 2.0. Only instead of condemning a Russian invasion he is gathering forces for a homosexuality invasions on Russia. Hilarious.

http://www.buzzfeed.com...

Simply amazing.
medic0506
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9/6/2013 9:41:15 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 7/31/2013 8:38:18 PM, tulle wrote:
I think a boycott of the games is the best way to go about this.

Wouldn't gay athletes winning Gold Medals be a much bigger burn?? Not only that but it wouldn't waste all the hard work and training that the athletes have put in.
DetectableNinja
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9/6/2013 10:44:13 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 9/6/2013 9:41:15 PM, medic0506 wrote:
At 7/31/2013 8:38:18 PM, tulle wrote:
I think a boycott of the games is the best way to go about this.

Wouldn't gay athletes winning Gold Medals be a much bigger burn?? Not only that but it wouldn't waste all the hard work and training that the athletes have put in.

The world must be ending, I agree with you, medic, haha.
Think'st thou heaven is such a glorious thing?
I tell thee, 'tis not half so fair as thou
Or any man that breathes on earth.

- Christopher Marlowe, Doctor Faustus
medic0506
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9/7/2013 6:28:13 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 9/6/2013 10:44:13 PM, DetectableNinja wrote:
At 9/6/2013 9:41:15 PM, medic0506 wrote:
At 7/31/2013 8:38:18 PM, tulle wrote:
I think a boycott of the games is the best way to go about this.

Wouldn't gay athletes winning Gold Medals be a much bigger burn?? Not only that but it wouldn't waste all the hard work and training that the athletes have put in.

The world must be ending, I agree with you, medic, haha.

Darn auto-correct...that was suppose to say that gay people shouldn't be allowed on the Olympic Team. :)