Post submitted by David McCabe, HRC Digital Media Intern
Now that Russia’s anti-LGBT “propaganda” bill has been signed into law by President Vladimir Putin, it has tourists who have been considering travel to the country — and some of the athletes who are heading to next year’s winter Olympics in Sochi — worried.
Many are concerned that the bill makes any action or materials perceived to be pro-LGBT illegal, and punishable by fines and possibly prison time. Some LGBT writers have expressed concerns that this could make it illegal for two same-sex partners to hold hands or show affection in public.
As for the Olympics, some athletes have expressed concern about their safety should they qualify to compete on the world’s biggest winter sports stage — while others are saying that won’t change who they are or how they act because of the new law.
“If that gets me in trouble, then I guess so be it,” openly gay speedskater Blake Skjellerup told the news website Vocativ.
A pride house, which acted as a community space for LGBT athletes and fans at the last two Olympic games, is not being permitted by officials in Sochi. LGBT activists have also been subjected to violance at protests agains the bill, raising additional concerns for LGBT athletes and tourists considering coming to the games.
HRC is asking its supports to take action and tell the International Olympic Committee that Russia’s legislative homophobia is unacceptable.