IOC: We’ll ban athletes spreading gay “propaganda” at Olympics

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) reiterated yesterday that it would ban any Olympic athlete guilty of spreading “propaganda” at the 2014 Winter Olympics to be held in Sochi, Russia next February.

Using the same unfortunate language that is in Russia’s draconian new anti-gay/anti-trans “propaganda” law, the IOC appeared to stand by the decision, reported earlier this week, to ban the LGBT Pride House at this year’s Olympics.

The IOC’s new statement, banning gay “propaganda,” was given to the Washington Blade yesterday.


IOC bans Pride House

Earlier this week, Gay Star News reported that it asked the IOC whether there would again be an LGBT Pride House at the Sochi Olympics, and got the following shocking response:

We also asked if the IOC would provide a safe space – or Pride House – for LGBT athletes, spectators, dignitaries and others during the games to celebrate gay sport and community.

But their spokeswoman told us: ‘Regarding your suggestions, the IOC has a clear rule laid out in the Olympic Charter (Rule 50) which states that the venues of the Olympic Games are not a place for proactive political or religious demonstration.

‘This rule has been in place for many years and applied when necessary.

Pride House was allowed at London and Vancouver games

Yet, in the previous two Olympics in London and Vancouver, a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender “Pride House” was created to give gay and trans athletes a place to relax, congregate, and hopefully build a greater sense of community.  How could Pride House be permitted under the Olympic Charter in London and Vancouver, but not in Moscow?

It’s seems rather clear that the IOC caved to Russian pressure.  The Russians banned Pride House last year, in violation of the Olympic Charter, claiming it would lead to the end of all civilization.  At the time, the IOC issued a wishy-washy statement, but that was all.  That has now changed.

Russia says Pride House threatens its “territorial integrity”

From our earlier coverage of the Russian ban on Pride House:

A Russian judge has sided with the Russian government, claiming that if the Olympics again have a Pride House for LGBT athletes, it could force Russia to literally split in two.

But judge Svetlana Mordovina ruled against them saying that Pride House would threaten the growth of the Russian population and therefore risk the country’s ‘territorial integrity’.

And the IOC now agrees.  “Pride House,” and gay pride generally, is now “political propaganda” unworthy of the Olympics.

IOC fails to define “gay propaganda”

But if the IOC thinks this is the latest statement it needs to answer about gays and the Olympics, it is sadly mistaken.  Thanks to the IOC’s bizarre statements this week, it is now unclear if gay Olympians can even appear in public with their legally-wed spouses, as, under Russian law, that’s “gay propaganda.”

You know what else is gay propaganda?

– A gay man holding his husband’s hand in public.

– Permitting NBC News into your home to interview you and your husband, “Up Close and Personal” – like the American media does for every other US athlete.

– A lesbian having her wife show up at her Olympic competition, where the media is bound to show a picture of her wife, and identity her, while the Olympian is competing.

– Hugging your gay spouse after they win, or lose, a competition.

– Wearing a Gay Pride pin.

– Wearing Freedom Rings.

– Wearing your wedding ring if you had a “gay” marriage.

The list of what constitutes “gay propaganda” is seemingly endless.

So what does the IOC ban and what does it not ban?  No one knows.

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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