We Are Straight Allies will be standing in solidarity with the six openly gay Olympians competing in the 2014 Sochi Winter Games, along with the openly gay members of the delegations attending this year’s games. It is our hope that Russia will remain respectful of the Olympic Charter that states, “The practice of sport is a human right. Every individual must have the possibility of practicing sport, without discrimination of any kind and in the Olympic spirit, which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play.”
All beings everywhere have the right to be happy and free and we are inextricably bound to aide in the happiness and freedom for others. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once wrote, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” We find the the level of intolerance, injustice, violence, hate, anger, and fear that the LGBT community faces around the world, as well as at home, inexcusable. The Olympics creates the opportunity to bring Russia’s anti-LGBT policies center stage so the world can see and, hopefully, demand change. While we are fighting for the fair treatment of LGBT people here at home, we have a greater responsibility to the global community to help stop the mistreatment of human beings everywhere.
Movements take time, some faster than others, but none happen in a vacuum. If we can help make lives better for our local communities, that creates momentum for change on a global scale. Please join us in this cause and help us affect change in the hearts and minds of people everywhere.
“Gay rights have taken center stage at Sochi, thanks to Russia’s own targeting of the LGBT community. In June 2013, the Russian government banned dissemination of pro-gay “propaganda” that could be accessible to children. The law’s vagueness, activists note, could prohibit almost any pro-gay expression, such as public statements, rallies, rainbow flags, rainbow nesting dolls, or same-sex hand-holding. Violators can be fined or jailed up to 14 days. Foreigners can be expelled.
Then in July 2013, Russia made it illegal for foreign gay and lesbian couples to adopt Russian children, and in October 2013, the government proposed legislation that would remove Russian children from their LGBT parents. The proposal is now withdrawn.
Over the last seven months, Russia has introduced or amended at least 13 laws restricting freedom of expression, association and assembly of non-governmental organizations, particularly those that receive foreign funding — a violation of international human rights law, says Amnesty International.” —Global Post, February 5, 2014