Renewed calls for Olympic boycott as gay arrests continue in Russia

An action to demonstrate the danger of  the new anti-LGBT laws

By Cathy Kristofferson, July 2, 2013


Photo courtesy lanka_red

Amidst current graphic protests, there is a renewed call for the boycott of the Sochi Olympics, as gay arrests continue in Russia following President Putin’s signing into law the nationwide so-called “anti-propaganda bill,” banning the so called ‘promotion’ in the presence of minors of “non-traditional sexual relations.

As we reported on OBLOGDEE, at least 40 pro-gay activists were arrested Saturday and detained at a sanctioned St. Petersburg gay pride rally when they were violently attacked by at least 200 anti-gay Nationalists.


Photo courtesy lanka_red

Today four activists were arrested in central Moscow protesting the new law. In a great piece of performance activism, three of the four laid in a pool of blood at the entrance to the Presidential Administration building with posters of recent victims of homophobia taped to their backs. A fourth activist stood by them holding a campaign poster decrying the legislation. As they were being led away the activists explained:

“This action aims to demonstrate the danger of new anti-LGBT laws, because of which every individual, regardless of orientation, it may be in a pool of blood.”


Photo courtesy lanka_red

The recent arrests together with Sunday’s signing of the bill into law have renewed international calls for a boycott of the Sochi, Russia Olympics. We reported on the original call by NYC’s Rusa LGBT here on OBLOGDEE. With the so-called “promotion”  ban now in effect nationwide in Russia, all athletes and attendees – gay or straight – are at greater risk of arrest, detention and deportation.

Activists warn that even pro-gay attire, as simple as a rainbow pin, or any speech or action deemed positive support for LGBT people or their rights, can lead to deportation following what could be up to 15 days in detention.

Activists are also calling on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to speak up against the Russian law and its violation of the Olympic charter’s statement of non-discrimination.  Before the law was signed, international human rights watchdog, Human Rights Watch, issued a letter demanding action from the IOC due to the worsening state of homophobia in Russia and clear risk to athletes and attendees. Nary a peep has been heard in response as the homophobia level continues to ratchet upwards adding more and more risk to the Games.

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9 Comments on “Renewed calls for Olympic boycott as gay arrests continue in Russia”

  1. jerbearinsantafe July 2, 2013 at 7:23 PM #

    Reblogged this on JerBear's Queer News, Views & Memories and commented:
    I understand the calls for a boycott, but, it is unlikely to succeed. Perhaps a call for participating athletes to show their support for LGBT/Queer Russians would have more success?

    • Cathy Kristofferson July 2, 2013 at 7:54 PM #

      The boycott is perhaps unlikely. The participating athletes would have to show their support PRIOR to going to the Olympics since once in Russia they will be open for arrest just like everyone else. Or perhaps we will witness bold action and a dare to be arrested on some athlete(s) part! Or perhaps everyone can walk in to the Opening Ceremonies waving rainbow flags : )

      Hopefully the repeated calls for a boycott will get the attention of the International Olympic Committee because allowing a country that violates the IOC’s charter is something they need to stop doing!

    • Melanie Nathan July 2, 2013 at 7:58 PM #

      FEAR of failure of the marketed outcome should not stand in the way of the publicity to the issue that the mere call for boycott provides.

  2. paulakey245562841 July 3, 2013 at 8:55 AM #

    I agree with Cathy regarding the carrying of rainbow flags, but even the news of boycotts will send a message. South African teams were banned for apartheid.
    Perhaps, the head of the Olympic Committee could include a comments on our behalf.
    paula on


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