Olympic committee to Putin: What exactly does "gay propaganda" mean?

The IOC has asked Russia to clarify what its intentionally broad new law will mean for athletes and visitors

By Katie McDonough

Published August 9, 2013 5:31PM (EDT)


First, Russian officials promised that they weren't going to enforce their heinous ban on "gay propaganda" during the 2014 Sochi Olympics. Then, they changed their minds and said that, actually, they would absolutely be prosecuting athletes and visitors if they got a little too crazy with the "propagandizing."

On Friday, the International Olympic Committee asked what it is, exactly, that the exceedingly broad Russian law intends to target as "propaganda." (Good question! Probably a lot of things, like this and this.)

To get to the bottom of Russia's homophobic mystery wrapped in an anti-gay enigma, IOC President Jacques Rogge asked for a definitive English translation of the law. "We have received all reassurances emanating from Mr. Dmitry Kozak, who is in charge of the organization of the Games in Sochi. We asked for written confirmation of these reassurances," said Rogge.

"We received them yesterday, we have studied it this morning but there are still uncertainties and we have decided to ask for more clarification as of today. So we are waiting for this clarification before having final judgement on these reassurances."

Rogge says the clarification of the law is important because the Olympic charter is very clear about its inclusion of LGBT athletes: "It says sport is a human right and should be available to all regardless of race, sex or sexual orientation," he said.


Katie McDonough

Katie McDonough is Salon's politics writer, focusing on gender, sexuality and reproductive justice. Follow her on Twitter @kmcdonovgh or email her at kmcdonough@salon.com.

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2014 Sochi Olympics Gay Rights Lgbt Rights Olympics Putin Russia Sports