August 19, 2013

Earlier this week, it was circulated that the IOC intends to crack down on any expressions of solidarity or advocacy regarding LGBT rights in Russia. The committee claims that they are not aligning themselves with the Russian government. Rather, they say that any sort of "demonstration of political, religious or racial propaganda" runs contrary to the regulations and spirit of the Olympic Games. This decision is partially due to the fact that, currently, the Olympic Charter only forbids discrimination on the basis of race, religion, politics and gender

United for Equality in Sports & Entertainment (UESE), as well as their international partners at Pride House, want to change that, by urging the IOC and its president, Jacques Rogge, to update the Olympic Charter to add "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" to that list, effectively protecting LGBT athletes, coaches, officials, press, and spectators from the hostile environment they will be facing in Sochi this upcoming February.  David McFarland, Founder & CEO of UESE, had this to say in the group's press release:

"While today’s request to include sexual orientation and gender identity in the Olympic Charter remains vital to sport and the founding principals of the Olympic movement, the message of acceptance and diversity must be heard louder then ever from the IOC and leaders throughout the world for our athletes and Russian brothers and sisters."

Read more at Towleroad.