Ensuring the International Olympic Committee Respects Equality
As Russia prepared to host the 2014 Winter Olympics, Human Rights First made sure the world knew about the country’s anti-gay propaganda law. The odious law threatened the fundamental rights of LGBT Russians and created an atmosphere of fear and hatred that sowed the seeds for many acts of violence and intimidation. We worked with Russian activists to spotlight the law, brought Olympic diving champion Greg Louganis to Washington to brief Congressional leaders, and traveled to Sochi with former Olympian David Pichler, who proved a powerful on-the-ground voice for equality.
After the games we pressed the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to include sexual orientation in its charter’s nondiscrimination clause, Principle 6. In June 2014, the IOC voted to adopt Principle 6 into their contract with host countries, and in December it unanimously approved explicitly adding in the term “sexual orientation.” The victory should help deter potential host countries from enacting anti-LGBT laws or otherwise persecuting LGBT people.