Athletes Can Be Gay At Russian Olympics, As Long As They Don’t “Make Propaganda” Or “Implicate Minors”

Blake SkjellerupYou can totally be gay at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, according to Russia’s Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko. You just better not do anything that can be construed as “propaganda” in the presence of minors or you shall be “brought to responsibility.” Which doesn’t sound ominous…at all.

Referring to homosexuality only as “a non-traditional orientation” — apparently there’s no word for “gay” in Russian, at least as far as the government is concerned — Mutko told the R-Sport news agency (via AFP) that athletes won’t run into any trouble as long as they keep their gayness to themselves.

“The law talks not about banning a non-traditional orientation but about other things, about propaganda and implicating minors,” Mutko said. “No one is banning a sportsman with a non-traditional sexual orientation from going to Sochi. But if he goes out onto the street and starts to make propaganda, then of course he will be brought to responsibility.”

“As a sportsman, he should respect the law of a country,” Mutko added. “Come (to Sochi), but don’t get young people involved, don’t make propaganda. This is what we are talking about.”

Mutko’s comments come days after lawmaker Vitaly Milonov contradicted the International Olympic Committee with the news that Olympic athletes and spectators would not be exempt from the country’s law against “gay propaganda,” or rather “non-traditional orientation propaganda.”

“If a law has been approved by the federal legislature and signed by the president, then the government has no right to suspend it,” Milonov said. “It doesn’t have the authority.”

The law stipulates that anyone found disseminating information about homosexuality to minors can be fined up to 5,000 rubles ($156) as well as face 14 days of administrative arrest and eventual deportation. Two weeks ago, four Dutch filmmakers became the first foreign tourists arrested under the anti-propaganda law after they were found interviewing a teenager for a documentary on the state of LGBT rights in Russia. They have since been banned from Russia for three years.

A proposed boycott of the Sochi Olympics has been met with opposition by the Russian LGBT Network, openly gay Olympian Johnny Weir, and activist Nikolai Alekssev — who has instead endorsed a petition that would blacklist the lawmakers behind the anti-gay propaganda law from receiving entrance visas to the United States.

Meanwhile, speed skating gay Blake Skjellerup says he will be wearing a rainbow pin in Sochi, though there’s no word if Milonov, Mutko, Putin et al will consider that “making propaganda.” We guess as long as he’s not within indoctrinating distance of any kids, he should be fine.

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  • ouragannyc

    So disappointed that they chose that hateful place to organize the games.

  • niles

    It is unbelievable that gay groups are not demanding a boycott of these games. What a shameful and weak response to a direct threat from the Russian sports minister.

  • Daniel-Reader

    Milonov thinks the rule of law still exists in Russia. It’s the only way he can sleep at night having harmed so many people. The country already died once and broke apart, and is repeating the same cycle.

  • Charli Girl

    ” I don’t mind straight people as long as they act gay in public!!!!

  • Ridpathos

    By the way, the IOC has been deleting comments on their Facebook page about boycotting the Winter Games, and comments bringing attention to the human rights violations in Russia.

  • robkevm

    I say force the Russian’s hand. Don’t boycott the games, be out and proud. If they start rounding up athletes en mass for wearing the rainbow flag, it will quickly turn into an international embarrassment for Putin and the Russian people. May not change their policy, but it will be a hell of along time before they ever host another Olympic games.

  • arj

    I think two things…..first, boycott Russia in its entirety. No games. No vodka. No Pootin. No wheat. Second thought is to send the athletes, encourage them to be out, loud, and proud. Let Russia create an international Pootin scandal. Force the propaganist IOC to stand up for what is right and demand change.

  • GayTampaCowboy

    I think the international press should continue asking questions and pressing for clarification from the Russians on the word “propaganda.”

    Russians traditionally ONLY respond to acts of STRENGTH and that’s why it’s critical that the pressure continues to increase – whether it’s from the press or the growing boycott of Russian goods.

    The Russian economy is teetering on the brink of failure, so if the boycott expands from just russian vodka to having major multi-national companies refusing to do business with Russia – THAT will get more action than just words.

    This issue isn’t going away!

  • PSPoolside

    If the US does not boycott we must at the very least have the USOC show a united front in support of gay athletes and the Russian LGBT community and they need to do it in Russia. Not holding my breath.

  • Ron Jackson

    I think the proper response would be to have the winter games and have as many athletes as will participate voice their disapproval of the Russian governments laws in whatever form they can during the games. What will the Russian government do? Arrest maybe 40% of the athletes?

    Keeping the issue front and center and in the Russian peoples face will do more in the long run than just not participating.

  • Deepdow

    They have a really ignorant and thuggish way of defining propaganda which is ironic considering that’s just what Brutal Russia is now using to destroy its gay citizens.

  • doug105

    @Fuego: I never sign up for things on the web where I have to register just to see what they’re about.

  • 2eo

    @Ridpathos: It actually is far worse than that Rid, Facebook have being actively collaborating with the governments of the US and Russia handing over names of potential dissidents.

    There has being an enormous spike in Facebook directly sending information to known Russian intelligence service addresses.

  • B Damion

    Well..no Brazilian Remy hair sew in for the russian women. Let that hair go lifeless. No gays? ok then, no hair and makeup.

  • B Damion

    No hair and makeup bitches..No malaysian remy sew in either bitch

  • Fitz

    Shame on the IOC– Russia’s human rights record is no secret.

  • andy_d

    I like Blake Skjellerup’s idea of wearing a rainbow flag pin. We need to distribute these to ALL the athletes from ALL the countries to wear as a show of solidarity.

  • Cam

    I dare Russia to arrest any of the gay athletes.

  • erasure25

    I can’t speak for other nations, but the USA team should definitely wear a rainbow pin or rainbow ribbon during the opening and closing ceremonies. Hitler also persecuted gays. Not sure why that parallel has not been made. It should just to remind people of how terrible this is becoming.

  • erasure25

    I created this White House petition (its not about boycotting the Olympics, but rather asking the White House to encourage the USOC to wear rainbow during the Opening and Closing ceremonies).


    The petition won’t be publicly visible until 150 signatures, so please feel free to share.


Comments are closed.