Jonathan Higbee's picture

Olympic Committee Confirms It Will Punish Athletes Who Support LGBT Rights In Russia

The International Olympic Committee has confirmed a fear that has overcome the LGBT and sports communities this month: a provision in the IOC charter that calls for the punishment of athletes who make political or religious displays will be enforced during the 2014 Winter Olympics.

When asked if the IOC planned to create a "safe space" of sorts for LGBT and allied athletes, journalists, contractors and other foreigners visiting Russia for the Olympics, officials told Gay Star News, "Regarding your suggestions, the IOC has a clear rule laid out in the Olympic Charter (Rule 50) which states that the venues of the Olympic Games are not a place for proactive political or religious demonstration."

While we're on the subject of rule 50 in the Olympic Charter (which states "no kind of demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda is permitted in any Olympic sites, venues or other areas"), the IOC has confirmed that it will indeed enforce it against displays of support for the LGBT community at the games in Sochi.

"This rule has been in place for many years and applied when necessary," the IOC told GSN. "In any case, the IOC would treat each case individually and take a sensible approach depending on what was said or done."

Gay Olympic speed skater Blake Skjellerup has already pledged, along with other athletes, to show Pride during the Opening Ceremonies by wearing a rainbow pin, a display that now may have him in trouble with Russian authorities and the Olympic Committee. 


 You mean post-war propaganda made by liberals? he didn't exactly parade for equality either, he was seen as a subhuman back in the US of A, while Hitler and Germans applauded him.

Thank you. I didn't know that until your comment forced me to research more about Jesse Owens. It's so true. Jesse Owens faced discrimination in the USA, not Nazi Germany. In his own words, "Hitler didn't snub me – it was FDR who snubbed me."

You're a moron.  I won't give you any more of a dignified response.  That is all you deserve. 

Let's get some things straight... This is not a new Holocaust, yet. However, people have a reason to draw a comparison between pre-Holocaust Germany and current Russia. There are new laws single out one group for simply being. People connected to the government are making statement about preventing the LGBTQ community from being blood and sperm donors, and burying or burning their hearts after death because they are viable for giving life (Google it, you don't believe me). Also, I hate to break it to so many of you, but it wasn't just six million Jews (some of whom I was related to), but about another 6 million people beside who died in the Holocaust. Those people were homosexuals, gypsies, twins, people with physical and mental abnormalities, anyone Hitler and the Nazis deemed uncleaned and/or worth experimenting on.My point is Hitler started with the Jews, Putin may be starting with the LGBTQ community. Need more proof? Replace every instance of gay in the article with Jew and see how you would feel:

This isn't about forces my politics on you, or asking your church to perform a ceremony that goes against it's teachings. This is about basic human rights and dignity. Legal marriages should not be part of the church. If your country does not have a separation of church and state, fine. However, that doesn't mean you should make laws condoning the ostracizing and harming of people just for being who they are. If Russia wants to host the Olympic games, or any country does for that matter, it should keep in mind Rule 2 of the IOC charter "The goal of Olympism is to place sport at the service of the harmonious development of humankind, with a view to promoting a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity.​"

Seriously though, the problems in Russia go beyond hosting the Olympics there, and how well athletes and others may be treated. We are in an age where the world is becoming more and more connected. We can no longer say, We don't know what's going in in that far away place over there. Even with the information many governments had on Hitler, it was ignored because it was Germany's problem. But look what happened. Even if, Putin doesn't have world conquering plans, the people of the world need to let him and his government know that he doesn't have a right to do this, even to his own people.

Sorry - but Hitler didn't start with the Jews! When he was elected in 1933 and the Nazi opened their first 'camp' they arrested people who opposed them AND gay men! Latter he started to send Jews to camps and latter during the war he started to operate the famous gas chambers --- he did from 1933 created laws that ban Jews from any social activity and work places. They couldn't visit public parks schools of non-Jews etc. but he didn't send them first to camps! The main reason he didn't start with the Jews was that he wanted to 'sooth' people into his bigot state and international community. By sending communists to camps he didn't cause a panic as everyone was afraid of Stalin and his wish to spread the communist system. After all Russia had tried to invade Poland in the 1920s and it was only thanks to the Polish army resistance that they pulled back. By arresting gay men he didn't case a problem either as in most countries gays were send to jails anyway! But to explain why he had to arrest Jews just for being Jews was a different matter, also the American Jews had staged a boycot of German goods after Hitler started to introduce his anti-Jews laws. But with the war he could 'blame the Jews' as according to his 'politics' Jews were responsible for the war as they wanted to destroy Germany --- so he pretended they were traitors and it was his duty to remove them from society to protect the German people ---- SO THIS ATTACK ON GAYS in Russia should not be seen as a possible start to something even worse - its it the same way it started in Nazi Germany!!!!

In 2008, Obama adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski compares Putin to Hitler​ for its attack on Georgia (link to article).  Now he passes anti-LGBT law.  This is pretty bad

The holocaust started gradually, with a slow but steady stripping away of human rights. That ultimately led to the murder of six million people, which is an extremity I hope is never repeated. It's the stripping away of people's rights which also takes away their humanity in the eyes of their persecutors, which makes it easy to victimize, torture, and kill them. Some of this is already happening in Russia to gay people.

This is why any time you see a group of people having their rights taken away you should shout about it, even if you don't like the group, to prevent anything like that happening ever again. 

Oy vey, you're right! This is like a whole 'nodder Shoah!

Russia is a nice country where they are fighting hard for equality and peace.


Fucking branch off and float away from Europe. Worthless fcking country with sketchy people and corrupt goverment spreading lies and hating on minorities for no reason. I do NOT understand how other peoples SEXUAL PREFERENCES are any of YOUR BUSINESS. There are NO arguments that can be put down on paper to JUSTIFY why you are allowed to hate a specific group of people that exist NATURALLY.

Just, grow up already.

Well, you're surprisingly bigoted for such progressive views on homosexuality and human rights.

Russian laws are not written by 'the Russian people' as a whole, and there's no reason to blame us for the government's incompetence and backwardness, let alone discriminate against us just because we happened to be born in that 'worthless' country. Yes, we're not as progressive as the West wants us to be, but many people try to catch up and calling us 'sketchy' won't speed the process up.

I agree that our laws are corrupt and ridiculous, sometimes brutal and discriminative. But boycotting the Olympics would NOT make anything better, only worse – it will give our government yet another opportunity to point out how the West is unjust to us and wants Russia to fail completely. And it will provoke Putin to come up with a few more similar laws and double his effort in cracking down on minorities. The Olympics could (or could not) change some things for better (and not only in Russia), so please give them a go… 

You are very prejudiced and simply rude. I am Russian, and I support gay rights. My Russian friends and family are all good decent people, well educated and very liberal. And we all are very concern about everything that is happening in Russia right now, especially about those awful anti-gay laws. I am openly bisexual and have many friends in the gay community. There is no denying that there are many homophobes in Russia, and people are simply not educated well enough on this subject. But it is just one of many problems in Russia.

Russia is ruled by terrible people and it is very hard to change anything. It is easy for you to judge, if you live in a nice democratic first world country. But Russian reality is very different. And still, if you stop judging the book by its cover and make an honest attempt to look at Russia outside your TV or computer screen, you'll see that people there are exactly the same as everywhere else. Some of them are good, some of them are bad. There are criminals, corrupt politicians, oppressors, homophobes. But there are also many brilliant people, friendly and hospitable, with modern values and a hope for better future. So don't you dare saying that Russia is worthless!

Russia isn't worthless - but I feel more Russian should stand up and say they can't accept this kind of brutal behaviour - many over here feel that too many Russian don't speak out against it and that is I believe doing the damage that people start to see Russia as a 'bad country' - you should try to make clear that you don't stand for this! It would help a lot of people in your country and it would help a lot those who are now the victim of should bigot behaviour!

I cannot vouch for other people. I can only vouch for myself. I guess I can only ask international community to be more open minded and less prejudiced. Things are not that simple. Russia has a more traditional culture, and people's opinion on a sensitive subject, such as this one, are often based not on fear and hatred, but simply are a reflection of their background and of how they were brought up. For example, the so called "anti-gay law" is really a law, that prohibits gay propaganda to minors. Even though it sounds awful and gives room to misuse, the motivation behind this law is understandable. Many Russian parents are concerned that their children are too exposed to sexual content and other adult themes. They feel that the subject of homosexuality is somewhat indecent. So this law was just a way for Putin to throw them a bone.

Obviously I think that homophobia in Russia and the disregard for gay rights are a serious issue. But I feel that the conflict we got today has been somewhat blown out of proportion. The subject is so sensitive and controversial, that many people just succumb to hysteria​. The Internet is full of groundless rumors, poor translations and quotes taken out of contects. It is important to keep a cool head and try too see all aspects of this subject clearly.

You should also remember that there is a huge language and cultural barrier between Russia and western countries. Russian press is heavily censored and full of Putin's propaganda. So things you read in your newspapers are not the same to what Russians know or how they see it. Also, very few Russians speak English and can get engaged in a serious conversation with international community. Which I guess makes it look like Russians just don't care.

It is also important to mention, that it is very hard to be politically active in Russia and stand up for something. People are constantly being persecuted for political reasons in Russia, even for something they wrote in their blog. Still, many Russians are active online and not afraid to speak their mind, but the most loud and influential activists get shut down fairly quickly.

You just cannot judge the whole nation because the government is rotten. Hate doesn't help. But I have to agree with some of you, the situation in Russia is really worrying, and we can't close our eyes of it. Hell do I know, but I live in Finland and I am a bit worried about what stupid they might do. There has happened a lot in Soviet Union and later Russia in let's say - fifty years, but I DO NOT DEFEND THEM BELIEVE ME, because this is as you all say, a human right matter. But this whole olympics thing really pisses me off. Olympics should be an honorful, merry, big sport event to unite people, and this is what they do of it.

Fundamental Principles of Olympism #6, verbatim from the IOC olympic charter:
"Any form of discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race, 
religion, politics, gender or otherwise is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic 

Unless large amounts of money are involved, in which case the IOC doesn't really care about discrimination or fair treatment of even it's athletes.

I am sorry to anyone who doesn't like it but I wouldn't like it if other countries were coming into my country and spewing protests because they don't like our laws which are a reflection of our beliefs. Russia deserves to have the olympics because they won the bid just like many countries have before and many countries will in the future. I don't support Russia's anti-homosexual laws but the rest of the world shouldn't be going into their country and telling them what to do. We are making the olympics into a political issue when it isn't. The IOC is getting it right. They aren't in favour of homosexal discrimination but they realize that it isn't the job of foreigners to dictate the laws in Russia. If you don't want to be somewhere because of what the people believe in, don't go. It isn't your job to make the Russians change. The world is moving forward - we might take a couple of steps back along the way as Russia is doing but it will change. Maybe not in our lifetime, but it will. By starting protests the only thing that will result will be further dislike toward homosexuals by Russians because people can't respect their beliefs. The laws of a country are like the laws of a religion. The people believe in them and the people are not going to change if you start protesting against them. We didn't protest when the olympics were in China - they are a communist state that suppresses people's rights in a manner that is similar to the suppression of gay rights in Russia. We did the right thing in that situation by going to that country and respecting their laws while we were there even if we don't agree with them. The same should be done in Russia

Hosting the Olympics is not a right, anymore than participating is a right. It is a privilege, you must qualify.

Fundamental Principles of Olympism #6, verbatim from the IOC olympic charter:
"Any form of discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race, 
religion, politics, gender or otherwise is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic 
Movement." - See more at:

Russia doesn't qualify.

If you don't like a country's cuisine, language, daily cultural aspects and such things (i.e. the "local flavor"), then it's perfectly alright to just stay clear of the place without trying to tell them to change more towards what you'd prefer. It's the polite thing to do: accept some places aren't to your liking and just live and let others live as they please.

However, when a country tramples on essential human rights, that's not just a matter of differing tastes. Russia will probably just do as they like on the matter this time around but if no one ever steps up to the plate to say that they are acting in a fascist manner, then the world is just giving them a free ticket to kick the next poor group or minority around in the future. I believe change does happen over time... but I don't believe it's automatic and that it shouldn't be kept actively moving in the right direction with protesting and speaking our mind.

You say that "We are making the Olympics into a political issue when it isn't."... But it is! Countries bid to host it fundamentally for political reasons, to display themselves to the rest of the world and to obtain international acceptance. It has to be made clear, that that acceptance comes with obligation  to live up to the trust they've been granted. 

You would do well to read Stephen Fry's letter to David Cameron. It's not about telling a country how to believe. It's about preventing another Hitler! Same ingredients just a different dictator and group to discriminate! Don't pass this off as light hearted or just an innocent country and it's beliefs! I'm sure Jews are grateful of the worlds intervention! Let's not repeat history by ignoring this hey?

"political, religious or racial propaganda"

Being gay is not any of those things, and those stating that it is are trying to make it political.  It's just your sexual identity - we wouldn't need to complain about it at any other games.


"straight people do not flaunt being straight"...Seriously? what world are YOU living in?

@DUDE Straight people DO flaunt it. We need to get away from this prehistoric thinking... You see it more regularly so its normal. PAY ATTENTION next time you go out and tell me that straight people don't flaunt it. Facebook photos, statuses, PDA just to name a few. Also Straight people don't have to fight daily for something that is natural. Given freely. Yes Russia has a right to have what ever laws they want. However, the Olympics have been a common meeting ground of all nationalities to remove all barriers and compete on a level playing field. To showcase individual and national talent. This has nothing to do with showcasing talents but infringes on the basic rights we have as humans. The decisions of Russia disturbs me and the recent decision of the IOC doesn't make me feel any better. Take a giant step back in evolution. Shame. :( 

Dude,straight people aren't hung from trees either but gays are what safe white man world are you living in?

Seriously?  When's the last time a gay person was lynched?  SERIOUSLY!?

Seriously if you want to know when the last gay person was lynched - check Iran for one and I'm sure you may find a few African countries too who do the same! And gay persons often fall victim to brutal attacks on most countries I'm afraid By the way I'm not a gay person but I do hate people being hurt just because someone isn't thinking normal and can't deal with people being different!!!!

You mean Gaybashed? Weekly? 

Actually a young gay lad was killed in Russia just over a week ago and numerous stories of torture have surfaced recently. Haven't seen any stories of young straight lads getting tortured for being straight recently!

Been to Russia lately?

Lynched? No. But there have been multiple examples of gay people being severely hurt or killed because of their sexual orientation. There are examples in every newspaper of every major city. Look it up and get educated.

A Straight Gay Rights Supporter

July 21.

And that's only if you count gruesome murders by a mob as lynching.  If you count any time that a group of people physically harm someone for being gay or being suspected of being gay, then the last time would statistically be when you started reading this comment.

Matthew Sheppard comes to mind.  Beatings of people on the streets of any major city as well

This is absolutely appalling - LGBT rights are not an issue of politics, but one of basic fundamental human rights - something which the IOC charter claims to support. The IOC saying that the Olympics is not the place to have such protests would be fair enough if they had actually upheld the charter and ensured that host countries weren't giving people a need to protest.

Olympic Charter (Rule 50) which states that the venues of the Olympic Games are not a place for proactive political or religious demonstration."

My perspective is that this rule was designed to train people to shut up and eat their bribes. Since athletes are role models for children this Rule 50 is a powerful strategy to teach people not to practice righteous indignation if you want your "prize" in society.

Consider this: Russia and the IOC planned this whole scenario a long time ago because having athletes swallow their pride is a great propaganda lesson in substituting human dignity for obedience. Do you really think Russian politicians suddenly care about spending their budget money on policing gays? No this is all theatrics.

Athletes I say FUCK the IOC, FUCK this Olympic Rule and FUCK this inhumane law! Turn up at the Olympics, win Gold, show your pride on the podium and then let them take their piss colored prize off you. Such beautiful displays of human dignity are way more valuable than a golden prize from a bunch of fascists ass kissers! ;-)

I just don't get some of the comments on this site, saying homosexuals shouldn't put their issues out in the open all the time. "If I was homosexual, i would be embarrassed about it..."...really now? You know, the first thing that came to my mind when I read the first article about whats happening to LGBT ppl in russia was "This is kind of a new holocaust". Should Jews be embarrassed about what happened to them back in the day? Should they just shut up about it? Everything was perfectly fine back then right...right?! No. No, thats not true. And I just don't get how people fail to see that...not only narrow minded idiots, but also educated humans in political positions. Why do they fail to see whats happening in Russia? Why do they choose to close their eyes and look away instead of actually trying to help? I am really embarrassed...for everyone who just isn't ready to see these crimes against humans as what they actually are.

"This is kind of a new holocaust" homos and lesbians were treated as severe mental cases everywhere in the world, including the USA, until very very recently. Especially in communist countries where they'd sent them directly in jail. What's funny about your idiotic statement is that nazis actually promoted homosexuality, but only amongst the conquered Poles, not themselves.

 "for everyone who just isn't ready to see these crimes against humans as what they actually are" still happening in the Middle East, I don't see Obama blocking off trade relations with those countries, or muslim immigrants. I don't see you bitching about millions of children being killed in abortion clinics either.

 How exactly is something not promoting something unnatural against humans? How exactly are your "gay rights" 100% correct and fair to society on a whole? How exactly is forcing churches to perform gay "marriages" OK, especially when the Bible(thus their religious beliefs) condemns it?(not to mention doing the same in foreign countries) I'd call you a socialist prick but even the socialists would send you to jail. Who are you to judge millions of years of evolution and say it's wrong? You're just sick in the head, case closed.

You douche! Most people disagree with you and you're a narrow-minded asshole. You compare killing LGBT to abortion clinics?  Wow!

You don't even qualify to speak to a small minority, barely yourself, since I don't even consider you mentally able jugding by your half-assed reply, and you're talking for "most people", yet I'm the douche? Yes, I'm comparing "killing" LGBT, which isn't happening, and which he/she/it bitches about, to the killing of millions of kids, every year, in America alone, which doesn't seem to bother any of your gay supremacists, of course, since besides having unnatural relations, you don't care about real problems, like the animalistic freaks you are. Wow, indeed.

Oof, the dude that put it in your ass must've been super-rude during pillow talk.

Seriously, how long did it take to get to the holocaust? Every argument about being treated inhumanly gets referred to the holocaust and its completely disrespectful and shows you don't truly understand what happened. You are not being exterminated, You are not witnessing unimaginable cruelty and you are not being used and human guinea pigs. You need to grow up.

If you take a look at the run up to Hitler doing all of those sick and twisted things you will see it is very similar to what Putin is doing now. Only this time people want to be proactive and prevent it going as far as that. Or we can choose to ignore it and make out nothing is happening just like they did in the 30's n 40's! If this is the type of world you want to live in that is!

@ "This is kind of a new holocaust"

Really, it is not. Discrimination is terrible, but exterminating SIX MILLION PEOPLE is indescribably worse. Please, your remarks do not do justice to the suffering of the victims of the holocaust and I hope you will realize this.

First off, more than 6 million were killed.  That is only the count for Jews.  Double it and you will be closer.  Gays, gypsies, people with mental and/or physical disabilities were also killed by Hitler and his goons, but you rarely hear that mentioned.

Second, anyone who is a real student of history knows that this is very close to how it started in Germany in the early 1930s.  Goons were allowed to destroy shops, beat up members of the Jewish communities, while the police looked on without taking action.  Or if they did, it was against the party being beaten and/or stolen from for everything from false claims to making a nuisance.

Putin is a student of history and knows the best way to start is to pick a group of individuals who, in his own country, won't have too many people coming to their aid.  Some because they don't like gays, some because they still have the old mindset that it is a chosen lifestyle that is a sin in their own religious or personal beliefs, some because they are justifiably afraid for their own lives and/or livelihood.

While I don't believe in the Olympics being used as a political forum, simply wearing a rainbow pin is not holding up their fists upon winning a medal.  Being gay isn't a political or religious point of view.  It is the same as if all blacks/asians/women were prevented from participating.

"Really, it is not. Discrimination is terrible, but exterminating SIX MILLION PEOPLE is indescribably worse. Please, your remarks do not do justice to the suffering of the victims of the holocaust and I hope you will realize this."

 Actually according to your holohaux myth, jews, gays and gypsies suffered the same. Of course in real life Hitler had both jews and gays, in the tens of thousands, in the state apparatus, including the army. But jews, like you, are so greedy that they won't even share the benefits produced by the lolocaust industries with the gays and gypsies. It might also suprise you that during World War 2 the S-I-X M-I-L-L-I-ON!!!111\o/ jews you're fabulating about were just a small % of all the casualties.

Perfectly said!

I support every word you say

Most of the borderline nazi comments here are insane. Gay people need to be as loud as possible as tgey are being raped murdered tortured and imprisoned for their private decisions if they stay quiet they remain prosecuted. Im sure as soon as being gay is not seen as much of an issue people will stop shouting it at the top of their lungs. Much like women's rights and black rights activists in the west, tge rhetoric changes.

 Your comment isn't even borderline retarded, it's full retarded. Do you morons ever read history? or just scream "nazi" because everybody can bash upon it?


Add new comment