Are homosexuals banned from the Sochi Olympics?

Sochi

Les Jeux Olympiques de Sotchi viennent de commencer mais des polémiques avaient déjà éclaté en juin 2013, en particulier à propos de la cause homosexuelle. En effet, le gouvernement russe a récemment adopté une nouvelle loi interdisant la propagande homosexuelle en direction des mineurs, ce qui a provoqué de vives réactions en Grande-Bretagne. Mais que s’est-il réellement passé ?

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Boycotting the Sochi Olympic games?

Even before the Sochi Olympics started, several associations called for a boycott of the sporting event because of the vote in June by the lower House of the Russian parliament of a law punishing any act of homosexual ‘propaganda’ to minors.

Gay British comedian Stephen Fry has become one of the spokesmen of the movement denouncing the discriminatory text. In an open letter to the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the artist asks international organizations to act against any form of discrimination affectig the Olympic movement. “The Summer Olympics of 2012 were one of the most glorious moments of my life and the life of my country. For there to be a Russian Winter Olympics would stain the movement forever and wipe away any of that glory. The Five Rings would finally be forever smeared, besmirched and ruined in the eyes of the civilised world.” According to him, Vladimir Putin transformed the gays in scapegoats, as Hitler did with the Jews.

fry

On his Twitter account, followed by more than six million Internet users, Stephen Fry has been calling for the organization of Winter Games in other cities such as Vancouver, where they were held in 2010, or even in Montreal Quebec.

Mobilization on social networks has spread on Facebook. In fact, a page was especially created. It is entitled “Boycott 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Russia” and has over 64,000 subscribers.

What was the response of the IOC?

In late July, the IOC wanted to be reassuring. In a statement, the court said that it had received confirmation from Moscow that the new legislation would not affect the Games participants. But recent statements by several Russian officials escalated the situation and concerned associations.

In fact, Russian Sports Minister, Vitaly Mutko, said that gay athletes were welcomed to Sochi but they must “respect” the new legislation. If they violate this law, foreigners will face a fine of 2,300 euros and up to 15 days of detention and could be expelled out of Russia.

What was the reaction of the British government?

tweet

British Prime Minister David Cameron said in August that Britain could “better combat prejudice participating rather than boycotting the Olympic Winter Games of Sochi”, in response to calls for a boycott to protest a law Russian on homosexual “propaganda”. He responded directly on Twitter to the British actor Stephen Fry.

What about today?

While the BBC has broadcast the festivities of the opening ceremony, the British public service broadcaster Channel 4 has decided to release a video to “show [its] support for gay athletes and tourists “.

A man sways his hips on the video, and revisits the fundamentals of skiing on a track called Gay Mountain, facing a first puzzled then unleashed public. A male couple is kissing in front of a false Vladimir Putin.

To show how committed it was, Channel 4 also changed its logo and the façade of its London offices  to display the colours of the gay flag.

London defied Putin by sending “Mrs same-sex marriage” to Sochi Olympics. In fact, finally, it was Sports Minister Maria Miller who represented Great Britain at the opening of the Sochi Olympics on Friday February 7, the same minister who, in Spring 2013, brought the law legalizing gay marriage in Britain. Is this to be interpreted as subliminal message from Britain to Putin?

Mélina FRIZON & Emilie REMOND

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