week the International Olympic Committee (IOC) voted to include sexual
orientation in Principle Six of the Olympic Charter, the nondiscrimination
clause. And thanks to another IOC vote earlier this year, host countries will
also be required to comply with Principle Six.
the 2014 Sochi Olympics, Russia’s anti-gay “propaganda” law brought global
attention to the discrimination experienced by LGBT people. Russia’s repressive
law has spurred continued homophobia, including violent crimes. During the
Olympic games, the Russian government rounded up hundreds of activists,
including many LGBT activists protesting the law.
the games, Human Rights First and other groups have pressed the IOC to include
sexual orientation and gender identity in their nondiscrimination clause.
Future host countries should not be allowed to get away with the blatant
homophobia and discrimination exhibited in Russia.
thanks to last week’s decision, 2022 winter games host contenders China and
Kazakhstan will have to take note. China received harsh criticism on its human
rights record during the 2008 Olympics. Kazakhstan has plans to introduce a
Russia-inspired propaganda bill banning public expression related to
homosexuality and to bar known LGBT people from holding public office or
serving in the military. Both countries now know that their record on LGBT
issues will factor into the IOC’s decision on their suitability as hosts.
the revised IOC nondiscrimination clause is great news for gay, lesbian, and
bisexual athletes, spectators, and host country residents, it fails to
explicitly protect transgender individuals from discrimination. By not
including gender identity in Principle Six, the IOC leaves the door open for host
countries to continue to discriminate against transgender athletes, residents,
Human Rights First