All Out has released a beautiful short film exploring what the experience would be for an LGBT Olympic winner in Russia and the internet is falling in love with it. BuzzFeed, The Huffington Post, Jezebel, PinkNews, and LGBT Weekly are among those covering the story.
The video, entitled Love Always Wins, is both moving and a call to action. In it, we see a figure skater win the gold medal and imagine celebrating with one person—her girlfriend—only to realize it would be dangerous for them to make any contact, because of Russia's oppressive anti-LGBT "propaganda" law and the resulting anti-LGBT violence that has ensued. A narration plays of Jacques Rogge, former president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), speaking to "the Olympic values of excellence, friendship, and respect" throughout the video.
All Out is an LGBT advocacy organization dedicated to mobilizing an international following to build a global movement for love and equality. In the past, All Out has worked to repeal Sweden's law forcing transgender citizens to undergo sterilization and petitioned against Uganda's "Kill the Gays" bill. Continuing its efforts to engage the world in LGBT equality, the organization has been focusing much of its attention towards the human rights violations in Russia. Love Always Wins is one piece of All Out's extensive campaign.
Love Always Wins calls on the IOC to condemn Russia's anti-LGBT law, demanding it be repealed before the 2014 Sochi Games begin. In addition to the awareness raising film, the organization collected and delivered over 300,000 signatures to the IOC, urging reform. All Out has also been encouraging Coca-Cola, one of the Olympics' most significant sponsors, to speak against the law and call for its appeal. Earlier this fall, GLAAD and All Out partnered up to sponsor the Global Speak Out for Russia to demonstrate solidarity with LGBT people in Russia. To continue making voices on the ground heard by those at the top, All Out is asking the LGBT community and its allies to share this work, including the video, with the hashtag #LoveAlwaysWins.
Andre Banks, All Out's Executive Direct and Co-Founder spoke on the importance of the work relating to Russia, saying, “Russia’s law makes it unclear whether public displays of affection, coming out on television by mentioning an athlete’s loved one, or even hugging your partner after winning the gold medal could result in fines or deportation. Putin would like us to think gays and lesbians are welcome during the Olympics, but no one will feel safe and welcome while this law is in place.”
“It’s not too late,” Banks added. “China made serious concessions ahead of Beijing to ensure the 2008 Olympic Games were consistent with international standards and Russia should not be exempt from doing the same. Russia must overturn the law before the Winter Olympics.”
GLAAD is working with RUSA, an organization of Russian and Russian-speaking LGBT advocates, as well as the Russian LGBT Network, to amplify their voices in the western and global media. You can read more about the messages that advocates like Oleg Jelezniakov, RUSA LGBT co-presidents Yelena Goltsman and Nina Long, and Nancy Goldstein have been delivering to the world. Securing places for people who are LGBT and Russian to tell their own stories and express themselves openly and honestly is an important way to stand against the federal "propaganda law" that serves to silence the LGBT community from speaking for itself. It is up to those outside of the Russian LGBT community to hear what they have to say and help make their voices heard.
Watch the powerful Love Always Wins here: