Queer Nation and GetEqual Massachusetts disrupted the opening event of the US Olympic Committee’s Road to Sochi tour stop in Boston, demanding answers about the safety of LGBT Olympians, American spectators and also LGBT Russians.
Activist Sasha Kaufmann, of GetEqual Massachusetts, engaged former World Cup alpine skier Picabo Street, and got in a verbal altercation during the panel discussion that showed very little sensitivity or understanding by the former Olympian to the plight of LGBT Russians or the safety of gay and lesbian Americans attending the events in Russia.
Said Street when asked about safety concerns for LGBT Americans in Russia:
“We are Americans, we don’t live in Russia…I would take you under my arm, we will experience the Olympic games together and have a wonderful time.”
When inquiring about what will happen to Kaufmann’s Russian gay brothers and sisters after the games are complete, Street interrupted the panel’s uncomfortable silence with:
“I don’t know. Hopefully nothing.”
The disruption of the kick-off events concluded with activists unfurling a 40-foot rainbow banner reading “Boycott Homophobia” just feet away from the main event’s stage in Boston Common, chanting “USOC protect LGBTs” and “Don’t believe Putin’s lies” for roughly 15 minutes.
*Queer Nation is a direct action group dedicated to ending discrimination, violence and repression against the LGBT community. Find out more information by visiting their website: www.queernationny.org or on Twitter and Facebook @QueerNationNY – Facebook.com/qn.newyork.
**GetEQUAL Massachusetts is a state-based chapter of GetEQUAL,a group working to empower the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer community and allies by taking action to demand full legal and social equality, Website: www.getequalma.org; Twitter: @GetEqualMA; Facebook; http://bit.ly/GetEqualMass;