The Olympic Games Facebook page policy is amended after LGBT community speaks out

By GLAAD |
August 1, 2013

Today the International Olympic Committee (IOC) changed its social media moderation policy in response to advocates who pointed out concerning language contained in the "Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual" section that sanctioned the use of the phrase "that's so gay." The social media policy is linked from the official Facebook page of The Olympic Games, liked by 3.8 million Facebook users.

Earlier today the "Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual" section read as follows (emphasis added):

LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL
It is acceptable for a user to refer to his/her sexuality as gay, however we need to be careful with potentially defamatory posts accusing someone else of being gay -- these will be removed.
It is acceptable for users to use the word "gay" in a light-hearted "street talk" manner, e.g. "that's so gay" -- but if used to be discriminatory it will be removed.

This evening - and without any kind of announcement - the section was updated to say:

LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL
It is acceptable for a user to refer to his/her sexuality as gay, however we need to be careful with potentially defamatory posts accusing someone else of being gay -- these will be removed. It is of course acceptable for users to use the word "gay" in a general way -- but if used to be discriminatory it will be removed."

The Federation of Gay Games posted about the problematic IOC policy on their blog after advocate Julie Price posted about it on Twitter.

"The IOC has a responsibility to ensure its athletes and their fans are safe whether in the stands in Russia or following on Facebook from home," said GLAAD spokesperson Wilson Cruz. "This policy was outdated and wouldn't be acceptable in a high school, much less on a page where millions of users interact. The IOC needs to do more to support the LGBT people around the world and they should start by explicitly banning anti-LGBT speech on their social media channels."

GLAAD is reaching out to the IOC to discuss the policy as well as LGBT safety and inclusion in the Olympics. GLAAD will be meeting with advocates from Russia to discuss ways to elevate their voices in the media.

In recent weeks advocates including AllOut, Athlete Ally and others have called on the IOC, world leaders and various sponsors of the Olympic Games to speak out against Russia's anti-gay crackdown.

Olympian Megan Rapinoe discussed "that's gay" and other hurtful language in a video (via GLSEN ThinkB4YouSpeak):

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As a Major League Baseball umpire for the past 29 seasons, Dale Scott has worked three World Series, three All-Star Games, two no-hitters and numerous playoff games. He is also the first out active male official in the MLB, NBA, NHL, or NFL, and the first Major League Baseball umpire to publicly say he is gay while active.