Opinion: Fair Play

Speaking last week during a press conference in Sochi, Jean Claude-Killy; Coordination Commission Chairman of the IOC, said that he was "fully satisfied" that recent controversial Russian laws banning homosexual propaganda, does not violate the anti-discrimination ruling of the Olympic Charter.

Sochi 2014
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Sochi Winter Olympics

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The law is designed, as stated, to protect children by banning public displays of homosexuality, support of homosexual behaviours or promotions of a homosexual life style.

To this end, any action which advocates for LGBT rights and the LGBT community, campaigns for the equality of “non traditional” relationships in anyway, or openly partakes in homosexual behaviour, could result in large fines and jail sentences.

The Olympic charter, though it aims to promote equality and unification of individuals throughout society, it does not specifically mention Sexuality when defining these discriminations.

However, to look at the the ‘Fundamental Principles of Olympism’ which states, both;

Olympism is a philosophy of life, exalting and combining in a balanced whole the

qualities of body, will and mind. Blending sport with culture and education, Olympism

seeks to create a way of life based on the joy of effort, the educational value of good

example, social responsibility and respect for universal fundamental ethical principles


Any form of discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race,

religion, politics, gender or otherwise is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic


One struggles to see how, in the first instance the very absence of sexuality is, in itself, not a discrimination, but secondly how the Russian law isn’t deemed conflicting with the very principals upon which the Olympic games are built. Which are, in most basic terms; inclusion without judgement.

As the Russian government continues to argue that the law is not discriminatory, regardless of the fact that is is designed with the specifics of attacking a single group of people, the IOC seem also not to recognise the prejudice and discrimination of developing legislation which both targets and neglects a most basic right of the individual.

There is a responsibility here, not only to LGBT communities within Russia but to wider LGBT communities whose safety and, more basically the feeling that they are in face welcome, is threatened if they are seen to be openly promoting themselves as a member of this group.

It seems neglectful of the IOC to deny discrimination here but, furthermore, to expect homosexual athletes to feel safe enough to compete without the support of the their own governing body.

To not recognise such an obvious discrimination as such may, perhaps, be as equal to the crime of committing it in the first place

Media Provided by the www.GayWebSource.com – Gay Media and Press Network.
Written by Becky Graham at TheGayUK.com

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