Protesters picketed the Sochi Park winter Olympic exhibition in Kensington Park, London last week to urge Russia to lift its ban on the inclusion of an LGBT Pride House at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.
“London 2012 has a LGBT Pride House but Russia won’t allow one at Sochi. This ban is part of a wider crackdown on LGBT communities and visibility in Russia. It is an attack on freedom of expression and association, and coincides with new laws in several parts of Russia that ban so-called homosexual propaganda.”
London 2012 has been the first Summer Olympics to include a Pride House, which brings together the worldwide LGBT community to view live screenings of the Olympics and discuss relevant LGBT and sports-related topics, with exhibits, photos, and videos celebrating LGBT sport.
Despite its success in London, in March of this year, a Krasnodar judge ruled that Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics and Paralympics would not have a Pride House, saying,“[it’s] propaganda of non-traditional sexual orientation which can undermine the security of Russian society and the state, [and] provoke social-religious hatred, which is the feature of the extremist character of the activity”.
Supporters of repealing the ban include: Pride Sports, The European Gay & Lesbian Sport Federation, The Federation of Gay Games, The Gay and Lesbian International Sport Association, Peter Tatchell Foundation and Outrage!
Peter Tatchell, Director of The Peter Tatchell Foundation and coordinator of the protest, said:
The Sochi.Park Exhibition is described as being a “high-tech, digital winter wonderland” and ironically as being “where Russia greets the world”.