PHOTOS: Activists Protest Inclusion Of Anti-Gay Nations In London Olympics

Last weekend, human-rights activist Peter Tatchell led activists in a demonstration encouraging the International Olympic Committee to ban nations from the London Games that practice discrimination based on gender (and gender presentation), ethnicity, religion (or lack thereof) and sexual orientation.

The group held placards outside the Hilton Park Lane Hotel, which is hosting the IOC for the lenghth of the games.

“The government of Saudi Arabia restricts women’s participation in sport and requires women athletes to be accompanied by male guardians. Iran has gender segregation in sport and forces women athletes to entirely cover their bodies, even if they do not wish to do so,” said Tatchell, Director of the Peter Tatchell Foundation. “In 150-plus countries, gay athletes have to hide their sexuality to get selected for the Olympics and are at risk of imprisonment and even execution. The Olympic Charter outlaws discrimination in sport but it is not being enforced by the IOC.”

Tatchell also sent an open letter to Sebastian Coe, a former Olympian and London’s ambassador to the Games, and IOC President Jacques Rogge. In it he set out a pair of demands:

  1. All competing nations should be required to sign a pledge that they do not discriminate in sport on the grounds of gender, ethnicity, religion/belief, sexual orientation or gender identity. If they refuse to sign, they should be denied participation in the games.
  2. Jacque Rogge and Lord Coe should make a public statement that lesbian, gay, bisexual and trangender (LGBT) athletes are welcome at London 2012 and that participating nations must not discriminate on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity.

What do you think Queerty readers? Should athletes from nations that discriminate be banned or is that punishing them for the actions of their leaders? Would we miss out on a Jessie Owens moment of our own?

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  • Ian Bower

    Progression does not happen by appeasing dictators. They need to be held to account. If that means some athletes can’t compete, so be it.

  • On the other hand

    Some might also argue that change isn’t effected by an iron fist. Forcing countries to capitulate doesn’t make your stand stronger. Leading by example and encouragement might go further. You’re not fighting policy; you’re fighting culture. And good damn luck winning that battle any time soon.


    Is the “OLYMPIC” the only violation of human right by the bloody Moslem?. Look at the bloody USA with all the satanic Christian.


    @On the other hand: change isn’t effected by an iron fist?. ONLY! iron fist with Moslem and NUC will help!. Islam, like Christianity is not a religion its a cult. No other cult like Christianity have murder more in the name of god!!.

  • MJ (different from the other one)

    @On the other hand: Take the Middle Eastern Countries for example

  • Mr. Enemabag Jones

    They won’t get anywhere. The Olympic committee sued the Gay Olympics to stop using the word “Olympics” because it pissed off anti-gay nations to have the word associated with gays.

  • Andrew Rahn

    Personally I think this is all a bit ethnocentric. How many of these people have actually spoken to gay people from the countries that they want uninvited? Gay be instead of applying western standards to a situation that is foreign to them, they should listen to what gay people have to say on the ground, what actually matters to them.

  • Rich

    @Andrew Rahn: Try it is Iran and let the secret police follow you so they can kill every gay you talk to. You are both a bigot and a moron. Homosexuality is a completely biological normal state for from 4 to 10% of the population. There are many pseudo-heterosexuals who adapt their behavior so as not to be killed in many countries, particularly in the middle east, Russia, North Korea, and even America. Just how many Gays have you talked to lately?

  • RainaWeather

    1. No. Don’t crush the dreams of all those athletes who have the misfortune of being born in a country that doesn’t recognize the rights of all people (and in some cases the rights of the athletes themselves).

    2. If they wanna ban countries that discriminate on the basis of sex, orientation, race, or religion they should be trying to ban almost every single country. Although it looks like they are.

  • Alex

    I was taught in school that no matter our differences of religion and ideas even if they were wrong the olympics were a time to put everything aside and compete in a friendly game of sport. Yes they are completely homophobic but the game embodies the very idea of putting this aside for just a tiny bit to come together under the banner of athletics. This game stopped wars even while people wanted to kill each other for believing in another god they didn’t while the games were on. Let it be that a time to actually be neutral. Like how I hate what the WBC has to say but must respect their right to freedom of speech to say it.

  • John

    Well the Olympics really isn’t about the Athlete any more its about the Nations the represent. So if this is the wording of the Charter then they had best stick to it. ‘They begin to look
    like Christians who obey some rules and ignore others. You built the charter now stick to it. Put your big boy pants on.

  • BanditQueen

    The Athletes are not the ones that are being anti whatever: they may not agree with the actions of their leaders and should be allowed to take part in the Olympics. Politics should be kept out of sport. We have had useless withdrawing by counties over stupid things in the past and this has caused problems in the games. African nations were threatened with death if they took part over South Africa some time ago and so on. No, we should protest against the leaders of those countries all of the time, but not punish the athletes that they send. We did not refuse to go to Germany in 1936. America took black athletes and Jessie Owens refused to withdraw in protest at the anti black stance of America and the Jewish persecution of Germany. He showed up the government of Hitler with several gold medals and was praised by fellow German athletes for his efforts. There are more things wrong in many nations than just Saudi Arabia and other nations that have laws against gays and women; and you could make a case for at least 40% of the nations taking part being banned, but that is not our place. When are we going to stop being the moral police of the rest of the world and punishing innocent people who have nothing to do with the policies of their leaders?

    These protests have no place in sport which is about putting political ideologies aside in a spirit of friendship and co-operation. That is the true meaning of the Olympics and not this moralising and we know better than anyone else attitude.

  • BanditQueen

    @KARUADAM: Christians are not Satanic! We have the same rights as any one else and you are a complete moron and offensive. Christians are about toleration, peace, mercy and forgiveness and love. Where is your love?

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