Putin passed a law in June against “gay propaganda” to purportedly protect youth from being exposed to “nontraditional sexual relations,” and it has left many wondering how this will affect gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender Olympians when they visit Sochi for the 2014 Winter Olympics. Gay pride parades have been banned in the country and saying anything that is pro-gay rights is an arrestable offense, resulting in fines or even beatings for violating the law. The law has been called a step back for human rights, and it is murky what constitutes “gay propaganda.” This is why many do not know if Russia will persecute athletes that proclaim a non-heterosexual identity. The sports minister of Russia has insisted that visitors abroad and athletes will have to respect Russia’s law, but they will be safe because the Russian constitution guarantees freedom to privacy. There have been calls for a boycott of the Olympics and to move them to Canada as a result of this law.
Contributed by: Christiana Sevits