U.S. Runner Defies Russia’s Anti-LGBT Law, Dedicates Medal to LGBT Community
August 14, 2013 by Maureen McCarty, HRC Associate Director of Digital Media
After finishing second in the men’s 800-meter race at the World Track and Field Championships yesterday in Moscow, U.S. middle distance runner Nick Symmonds dedicated his medal to his LGBT friends back home.
The 29-year-old is the first athlete to openly criticize Russia’s heinous anti-LGBT propaganda law, which criminalizes the most modest signs of support for LGBT individuals.
“As much as I can speak out about it, I believe that all humans deserve equality as however God made them," Symmonds told R-Sport after the race. “Whether you're gay, straight, black, white, we all deserve the same rights. If there's anything I can do to champion the cause and further it, I will, shy of getting arrested."
Athletes and leaders like Symmonds are showing what real courage looks like. As he returns home, let's give him a high five and thank him for standing up for what is right.
Despite contrary statements from some Russian government officials, the International Olympic Committee claims that Russia’s anti-LGBT law won’t affect the Olympic athletes and visitors.
HRC’s members and supporters refuse to sit quietly as the Russian government charts a path that puts LGBT Russians in harm’s way. We're calling on the IOC not to accept verbal promises, and to receive explicit, written guarantee from Russian President Vladimir Putin that visitors will be safe during the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games. Take action now.