Olympic Committee May Add Protections for LGBT Athletes

Olympic Committee May Add Protections for LGBT Athletes

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IOC President Bach and Russia's President Putin
IOC President Bach and Russia’s President Putin

By Ross Murray, GLAAD Director of News

This morning, International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach announced 40 recommendations that “lay out the strategic roadmap for the future of the Olympic Movement.” Among the recommendations is the addition of “sexual orientation” to the IOC’s non-discrimination statement.

“No athlete or fan should face fear of discrimination because of who they love,” said GLAAD President & CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. “The International Olympic Committee must seize this opportunity to protect Olympic attendees and affirm its commitment to equality across the globe.”

Recommendation 14 reads: “The IOC to include non-discrimination on sexual orientation in the 6th Fundamental Principle of Olympism.”

These recommendations will go for a vote of the full IOC at its next meeting December 8-9 in Monaco.

The IOC and President Bach came under heavy criticism from LGBT advocates, as well as Olympic sponsors for holding the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, after Russia had passed anti-LGBT laws, particularly the law that banned propaganda of “non-traditional sexual relations.” Advocates called for explicit protections for LGBT people during the games, for the games to be moved, or for countries to not participate.

The explicit mention of sexual orientation in Principle 6 was also a main campaign during the Sochi Games, with GLAAD, Athlete Ally, All Out, and several Russian LGBT advocates calling for Principle 6 to include LGBT people.

Principle 6 currently reads:” 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.”

Earlier this year, the IOC announced that it had added a clause to host city contracts. Starting in 2022, host cities will pledge to adhere to Principle 6 of the Olympic charter.

In the run up and during the Olympic Games, GLAAD worked to educate the media on the realities of LGBT people in Russia. Just before the Olympic Games, GLAAD unveiled The GLAAD Global Voices: 2014 Winter Olympics Playbook, a resource guide for journalists covering the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, which equips reporters with critical information about the country’s draconian anti-LGBT laws. They also highlighted and profiled several Russian LGBT people from several walks of life, who were now the targets of the country’s anti-LGBT laws. See more of GLAAD’s work at www.glaad.org/russia.

International Olympic Committee may add LGBT protections into charter.

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