As Olympics begin, LGBT advocates arrested in St Petersburg

On the Opening Day of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games, four LGBT activists including a pregnant woman got arrested in St Petersburg. The activists held a banner which said: "Discrimination is incompatible with the Olympic Movement. Principle 6. Olympic Charter." The gathering included Anastasia Smirnova, coordinator and spokeswoman for a coalition of six which leads Russian LGBT advocacy organizations. An LGBT activist who witnessed the arrest said that the four individuals stopped to take pictures on their way to Vasilyevskiy Ostrov neighborhood when they were surrounded by police cars.

The activists stood up against the Principle 6 in the Olympic Charter which includes:

"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."

But although the Olympic charter strictly prohibits discrimination based on criteria such as race or religion, sexual orientation and gender identity are not explicityly present in the description of the principle. Campaigns like the Principle 6 campaign have called for the International Olympic Committee to enforce the non-discrimination clause, including on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. 

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Throughout the 2014 Winter Olympics, GLAAD will continue working with international LGBT organizations, athletes and LGBT Russians to secure media coverage for the stories of LGBT Russians, their families and the harms facing them in Russia. GLAAD has also released GLAAD Global Voices: 2014 Sochi Olympics Playbook, a resource guide for journalists covering the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia. For more information, visit