Tag Archives: Sochi

IOC Defends Arrest of Italian Trans Ex-Parliment Member At Sochi For Breaking Gay Propaganda Law

Italian MP

The International Olympic Committee has come defending the Russian authorities’ decision to “remove ” Vladimir Luxuria  a transgender Italian ex-Parliament member and LGBT rights activist from the Olympic Village last week and contends she was “peacefully” escorted from the site and not detained, the AP reports.

Luxuria, who is also the first openly transgender member of any European parliament, was strolling through the Olympic village in a rainbow dress, scarf, and headpiece when she was reportedly removed by Russian plainclothes police officers. She says she was taken to a local police station by four men — who did not show her an official badge

“I was kept to take information, for a couple of hours, and then at last, a person talking English came, saying that I shouldn’t show Russian writings about LGBT rights,” Luxuria told Russia’s Kremlin-backed news outlet RuptlyTV.

Russian Police, and now the IOC however, deny the claims.

IOC spokesman Mark Adams told the AP that Luxuria had set out to demonstrate at the stadium and that, “We would ask anyone to make their case somewhere else,” because the games are not the proper venue for demonstrations. Additionally, Adams denies Luxuria was detained, saying, “I know her stated aim to demonstrate in the venue and I believe after a couple of hours when she finally got to the venue I think she was escorted from there peacefully, and not detained.

 

UPDATE: Via John Becker of The Bilerico Project

Vladimir Luxuria — a trans woman and former member of the Italian Parliament who was detained and released yesterday for protesting Russia’s anti-LGBT laws at the Sochi Olympics — was detained again today in Sochi and will be kicked out of the country tomorrow, according to multiple reports.

From the Associated Press:

An Italian activist shouting “It’s OK to be gay” and dressed in a rainbow-colored outfit and large headdress was detained Monday as she entered an arena to watch an Olympic hockey game.

Vladimir Luxuria, a former Communist lawmaker in the Italian parliament who has become a prominent transgender rights crusader and television personality, was stopped by four men and then driven away by police in a car with Olympic markings.
Luxuria later told The Associated Press she was kept in the car for about 10 minutes, then released in the countryside after the men had taken away her Olympic spectator pass. She eventually made it back to her hotel and said she was leaving Russia on Tuesday morning.

“They don’t say anything. They just were people who had to do this and they did it,” Luxuria said.

 

Former Italian Trans Prime Minister Arrested In Sochi For “Gay Is OK” Banner

Italian MP

Vladimir Luxuria, the former Italian MP and the first transgender person to hold that office, has been arrested in Sochi after displaying a banner reading ‘Gay is OK’, according to Italian media reports.

Luxuria was taken into custody, according to Italian LGBT activist Irma Battaglia of the ‘Gay Project’, and the attitude of the agents has been “brutal and aggressive”.

Luxuria tweeted a photo earlier in the day as she held a rainbow fan. She wrote: “I’m in Sochi! Greetings with the colors of the rainbow, in the face of Putin!

Vladimir Luxuria shows us the bravery and integrity that our athletes and representatives are too cowardly show.

#CheersToVladimirLuxuria

LGBT Activist John Becker Appears On CNN To Discuss The Un-Fabulously Gay Johnny Weir – Video

Johnny Queer

 

Back2Stonewall.com’s close friend, LGBT activist and editor-in -chief of the Bilerico Project,  John M. Becker appeared on CNN yesterday to discuss Johnny Weir and why he remains silent on Russia’s anti-LGBT human rights abuses while in Sochi, and how in doing so he’s actually enabling Putin’s “gay propaganda” ban

Becker appeared  along with panelists Nicholas Benton (whoever the hell he is)  and Don Lemon (who becomes less attractive the more he opens his mouth) with Benton disagreeing claiming that his tacky outfits were in itself a strong statement against Putin and Lemon calling Wier “fabulous” and talking about the pressure that this subject puts Weir and Olympic athletes under while simultaneously slamming Wier by saying that no one likes a “gay minstrel show” 

 

NBC Edits Out IOC Anti-Discrimination Mention From Televised Sochi Olympics Opening Ceremony

NBC edit IOC

Last night at the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, opening ceremony IOC president Thomas Bach made a strong statement against “any form of discrimination” and in favor of tolerance. Viewers worldwide heard the statement; but NBC viewers in the U.S. did not, because the network edited it out.

Here’s a transcript of Bach’s speech from British TV. NBC edited out the bolded portion.

Good evening, dear Athletes. Mr president of the Russian Federation, Mr Secretary General of the United Nations, Good evening Olympic friends and fans around the world! Welcome to the 22nd Olympic Winter Games! Tonight, we are writing a new page in Olympic history. What has been achieved in seven years is a remarkable achievement. I would like it thank, in again, the president of the Russian Federation and his Government. The Sochi organizing committee. The Russian Olympic committee. And the IOC members in Russia. Thank you to all the workers for your great contribution under sometimes difficult circumstances. Thank you to all the people of Sochi and the Krasnodar region. Thank you for your patience, thank you for your understanding during these years of transformation.

Now you are living in an Olympic Region. I am sure you will enjoy the benefits for many, many years to come. Thousands of volunteers have welcomed us with the well-known warm Russian hospitality. Many thanks to all the wonderful volunteers. Bolshoi spasiba, valantyoram! Thank you very much to everyone. Russia and the Russians have set the stage for you, the best winter athletes on our planet. From this moment on you are not only the best athletes, you are Olympic Athletes. You will inspire us with your outstanding sports performances. You have come here for sports. You have come here with your Olympic dream. The International Olympic Committee wants your Olympic Dream to come true. This is why we are investing almost all of our revenues in the development of sports. The universal Olympic rules apply to each and every athlete- no matter where you come from or what your background is. You are living together in the Olympic Village. You will celebrate victory with dignity and accept defeat with dignity. You are bringing the Olympic Values to life. In this way, the Olympic Games, wherever they take place, set an example for a peaceful society. Olympic Sport unites people. This is the Olympic Message the athletes spread to the host country and to the whole world. Yes, it is possible to strive even for the greatest victory with respect for the dignity of your competitors. Yes, Yes, it is possible – even as competitors – to live together under one roof in harmony, with tolerance and without any form of discrimination for whatever reason. Yes, it is possible – even as competitors – to listen, to understand and to give an example for a peaceful society.

Olympic Games are always about building bridges to bring people together. Olympic Games are never about erecting walls to keep people apart. Olympic Games are a sports festival embracing human diversity in great unity. Therefore, I say to the political leaders of the world – thank you for supporting your athletes. They are the best ambassadors of your country. Please respect their Olympic Message of goodwill, of tolerance, of excellence and of peace. Have the courage to address your disagreements in a peaceful, direct political dialogue and not on the backs of the athletes. APPLAUSE To all sports officials and sports fans I say – join and support our fight for fair play, the athletes deserve it. To you – my fellow Olympic Athletes – I say, respect the rules, play fair, be clean, respect your fellow athletes in and out of competition. We all wish you joy in your Olympic effort and a wonderful Olympic experience. APPLAUSE To all of you – Athletes, Officials, Fans and Spectators around our globe – I say, enjoy the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games! And now I have the honour of inviting the president of the Russian Federation, Mister Vladimir Putin, to declare open the 22nd Olympic Winter Games.

We should have boycotted, plain and simple. But no.  We let the lily-livered powers that be in the LGBT community cop-out once again.  We even some in the gay community trot out the old chestnut, “but what about the athletes?” as if it’s an athletes right to be subsidized by the government and/or corporation in some bullshit sport and that outweighs the cost of another human beings life.

Last night was a televised validation of Putin and a celebration of his corruption and evil sponsored by Visa and Coca Cola and the spinelessness of NBC and America for not taking a stand.

Human Rights Watch Releases Disturbing Video Of LGBT Russians Beaten By Anti-Gay Vigilantes

WARNING

Human Rights Watch has released a disturbing video detailing many of the violent criminal exploits of Russian citizens and anti-gay vigilante groups who’s hate has become empowered by Russia’s recent passage of anti-gay laws.

As the host to the 2014 Winter Olympic Games, which begin on February 7, 2014, in Sochi, Russia should act in accordance with the principle of nondiscrimination, a core provision of the Olympic Charter. As a member of the Council of Europe, and party to multiple human rights treaties, it should meet its obligations to provide equal respect and protection for LGBT people.

The Russian authorities have the power to protect the rights of LGBT people, but instead they are ignoring their responsibility to do so,” said Tanya Cooper, Russia researcher at Human Rights Watch. “By turning a blind eye to hateful homophobic rhetoric and violence, Russian authorities are sending a dangerous message as the world is about to arrive on its doorstep for the Olympics that there is nothing wrong with attacks on gay people.”

Absolutely horrible.

WARNING:  The video below contains graphic images and may be upsetting.  It should also be seen by every American Olympic athlete who is going to Sochi thinking that their medals and competing in the Olympics is more important than human lives.

 

Dutch Brass Band To Play ‘Y.M.C.A.’ at Sochi Olympics In Protest – Hey, Hey Hey, Hey, Hey!

Brass Band

The popular Dutch band, Kleintje Pils, says that it will include the popular 1970’s gay disco anthem, “Y.M.C.A.” as part of its musical repertoire this year at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics in protest of Russia’s inhuman anti-gay laws. The band that always performs at Olympic speed skating ovals will perform the iconic song as a sign of support for [LGBT] rights.

Band leader Ruud Bakker told The Associated Press on Tuesday that Kleintje Pils will mix the Village People’s “Y.M.C.A.” in its sing-along repertoire as “a signal.”

Indirect moves by athletes to show support for gays have already caused controversy in Russia. At last August’s world athletics championships in Moscow, Swedish high jumper Emma Green Tregaro sported rainbow colors on her nails. In the final, however, Green Tregaro went with red nails after track officials said her earlier gesture might violate the meet’s code of conduct.

For many, the Sochi Olympics have become a cause célèbre, highlighting the hostility, and in many cases indifference, that Russians have shown toward the plight of the LGBT community since Russian President Vladimir Putin enacted several legislative measures aimed at stopping the spread of what he calls LGBT ‘propaganda’ directed at children. As a result, violence toward that community has increased.

For others, the Sochi Olympics are a slap in the face of human rights and a symbol of an impotent steering committee that has overlooked not only the attacks on the LGBT community but other Russian groups (including the Caucasians) that have fallen victim to the heavy hand of Putin’s government.

I may not be a major protest but at least it is a protest which is more than the Human Rights Campaign has done or has planned.

HRC Slams Putin On ABC Interview, Still Does Not Call For Boycott of Sochi Olympics

Blah blah blah

The Human Rights Campaign has responded with a strongly worded press release to the comments made by Vladimir Putin on yesterday’s broadcast of ABC’s This Week.

I am sure Vladimir Putin is quaking in fear.

“Today on ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos, Russian President Vladimir Putin defended Russia’s anti-LGBT law, saying gays and lesbians are not discriminated against in Russia and the law is aimed at protecting children.  Despite Putin’s claim the law does not discriminate, just yesterday a protester was detained for unfurling a rainbow flag during the Olympic Torch relay.  Violence against LGBT Russians has also been on the rise since the anti-gay law was passed last June.

“President Putin’s public interpretation of the country’s anti-LGBT law is beyond comprehension,” said HRC President Chad Griffin.  “This law was designed to do nothing less than secure second class status for LGBT Russians and visitors.  It does nothing to protect children, but goes great lengths to harm families.”  

Putin told Stephanopoulos athletes who protest or wear a rainbow pin will not be prosecuted under the law, noting there is a small difference between protesting the law and violating it.  His statements today contradict those of government officials who last year said visitors are not exempt from.  Under the law foreigners can not only be fined, but also face arrest and up to 15 days in jail, followed by eventual deportation. 

Putin also compared the country’s anti-LGBT law with those of some U.S. states, saying laws are still on the books criminalizing homosexuality.  Stephanopoulos promptly corrected the Russian President, explaining to him the Supreme Court struck down those laws. 

“Americans, and the citizens of the world are against archaic and dangerous laws that single out a group of people,” Griffin added.  “The blatant lie that gays and lesbians are not discriminated at all in Russia only serves to undermine Putin’s credibility around the globe.”

Last year, the law banning “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations” was passed by Russia’s Federal Assembly and signed into law by President Vladimir Putin.  Under the guise of protecting children from “homosexual propaganda,” the law imposes fines or jail time on citizens who disseminate information that may cause a “distorted understanding” that LGBT and heterosexual relationships are “socially equivalent.” The fines are significantly higher if such information is distributed through the media or Internet.

To this date the Human Rights Campaign has refused to call for or join in a boycott for the Sochi Olympics, any of its sponsors, or NBC which will be airing the 2014 Olympics.

 

 

Putin Defends Russia’s Anti-Gay Laws In ABC Interview, ABC Leaves Out Outrageous Remarks

Poopoohead Putin

During a rather soft interview with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday’s This Week, ABC News host George Stephanopoulos asked Putin about the country’s anti-gay laws. Not about the countless arrests and hassasment that has happned in Russia.  Stephanopoulos asked Putin whether gay people will be prosecuted under the propaganda law if they wear a rainbow pin at Sochi.

Said Putin:

Acts of protest and acts of propaganda are somewhat different things. They are close, but if we were to look at them from the legal perspective, then protesting a law does not amount to propaganda of sexuality or sexual abuse of children. That’s one. Two is that I’d like to ask our colleagues, my colleagues and friends, that as they try to criticize us, they would do well to set their own house in order first. I did say, after all, and this is public knowledge, that in some of the states in the U.S., homosexuality remains a felony.

Stephanopolous replied that “the Supreme Court has struck those laws down.”

Added Putin:

How are they in a position to criticize us for what is a much softer, liberal approach to these issues than in their own country? I know that this isn’t something that can be easily done. This is so because there are a lot of folks in the U.S. who share the view that the legislation in their state or in their nation is appropriate, well grounded, and is in sync with the sentiment of the vast majority of the population…The Russian people have their own cultural code, their own traditions. We don’t interfere. Don’t stick our noses in their life. And we ask that our traditions and culture are treated with the same respect.  Russia does not criminally prosecute people for being gay, unlike in over one-third of the world’s nations. Seventy of the world’s nations consider homosexual behavior a crime. Seven out of the 70 use capital punishment for homosexuality. What does it mean? Does it mean we need to cancel any major international sports events in those countries? Probably not.

But according to a source to Back2Stonewall.com from a source that has read the Russian transcripts from this press conference there’s a lot more propaganda from Putin than ABC was willing to talk about including the fact that even after being corrected about about homosexuality being criminalized in “several US states — Texas, for example,” Putin kept repeating this over and over.

Putin also doesn’t recognize the usual designation of the law as “Mizulina’s law” and claims that it’s a law “against propaganda of pedophilia and homosexualism.”Pedophilia is NOT MENTIONED in the law. And “homosexualism” was only deleted in order to make out that the law is not anti-gay. Instead it’s against “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations.”

Another outrageous claim from Putin in the Russian transcripts is that he claims that in several countries in Europe there is a valid movement WITHIN THE GOVERNMENTS to legalize pedophilia. He repeats this again and again too, and it’s a major feature of Russian anti-European propaganda adding that also in Germany 38,000 children were taken away from straight parents and given to gay couples.

This is only the tip of Putin’s propaganda iceberg.

Sochi Olympics Staff Tackle and Detain Gay Protester For The “Crime” Of Holding A Rainbow Flag

Gay protestor Sochi

A gay Russian protester was tackled to the ground and detained by Olympic security on Saturday for unfurling a rainbow flag during the Olympic torch relay as it passed through his hometown of Voronezh, 560 miles north of Sochi, where the games will begin Feb. 7.

Photos uploaded by his friends show Pavel Lebedev pulling out the flag and then being detained by Olympic security personnel, who wrestle him to the snow as they wait for police to arrive. Lebedev, reached by The Associated Press on the phone, said he was still in the police station and undergoing questioning.

The Olympics being held in Russia as America and the world standing by while the Russians dehumanize the gay members of their society is disgusting, and completely against everything we are supposed to stand for.  I feel nothing but disgust and shame for those who participate in the Olympics and are turning a blind eye to Russia’s human rights abuses.

 

President Obama Will Not Attend Sochi Olympics Sends Two Openly Gay Athletes Instead

Sochi Russia gay

For the first time since 2000 the United States will not send a president, former president, first lady or vice president to the Olympic Games.

It must be stressed however that the White House DID NOT explicitly say that President Obama is not attending due to Russia’s horrible treatment of its LGBT citizens and its newly enacted draconian laws as the leaders of both France and Germany have done with The White House only stating that Obama’s schedule will not permit him to attend the Sochi Olympic Games.

The White House will be sending two openly gay athletes to take part in the United States delegation.  Iconic tennis player and 39-time Grand Slam winner Billie Jean King  and hockey player Caitlin Cahow who will join former Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul, figure skater Brian Boitano and presidential adviser Rob Nabors. (Sounds like more than two LGBT delegates to me)

White House spokesman Shin Inouye said the delegation “represents the diversity that is the United States” and that Obama “knows they will showcase to the world the best of America – diversity, determination and teamwork.”