January 17, 2014
December 23, 2013
December 18, 2013
President Obama yesterday sent a powerful message to President Putin and the Russian people about their violence and brutality directed toward LGBT Russian citizens. Obama in selecting the 'official delegation' to the Russian Olympics clearly made his feelings known about this issue.
Not only did the President make clear that neither the President or Vice President would not be attending Putin's party but he appointed two openly LGBT athletes to be part of the delegation. Billie Jean King and Brian Boitano will represent the United States and be very visible in Sochi. Can't wait to see what kind of actions the two of them will take in Sochi since they are protected by the United States government.
President Obama now joins a long list of heads of state who are refusing to attend the Olympics in protest of the Russian treatment its LGBT citizens. We can only hope the trend continues and the Russians have only 'D-List' guests to its big party.
Now if we can only convince NBC News and Sports to begin covering this story. Surely Matt Lauer and the Today Show will have King and Boitano on in the next week. Right?
Posted at 05:56 AM in Foreign Policy, International LGBT Rights, International Olympic Committee, International Relations, LGBT, LGBT Athletes, LGBT History, LGBT Russians, LGBT Sports, President Barack Obama, President Putin, Russia, Russian Gays, Russian Olympics, Sochi Olympic Games | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)
December 14, 2013
If you are offended by the beauty of the male nude body, don't watch this video.
Nudity is wonderful and liberating and these British jocks prove my point. Their calendar that they made to raise funds to fight homophobia is well known. Now they have released a video about the making of that calendar.
Let's hear it for the British Warwick rowers for their politics, their spirit and .....yea, their bodies!
December 11, 2013
Protests at 1968 Olympics
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) plans on getting tough on athletes who in any way protest at the Sochi Olympics the human rights violations in Russia. That includes protests related to Russia's persecution of its LGBT citizens.
The Associated Press is reporting:
The IOC is finalizing a letter to Olympic athletes reminding them to refrain from demonstrations or political gestures during the Winter Games in Sochi, including any protests against Russia’s law banning gay “propaganda.”
The International Olympic Committee executive board is expected to approve the
The memo will focus on Rule 50 in the Olympic Charter, which states: “No kind of demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda is permitted in any Olympic sites, venues or other areas.”
“We will give the background of the Rule 50, explaining the interpretation of the Rule 50 to make the athletes aware and to assure them that the athletes will be protected,” IOC President Thomas Bach said in an interview with The Associated Press.
“I know from my own experience, this is key,” added Bach, a former Olympic fencer who won a team gold medal for West Germany in 1976. “As an athlete you do not want to be confronted in the Olympic Village or the Olympic Stadium with any kind of political controversies.”
The IOC letter comes amid continuing Western criticism of Russia’s human rights record and the recently enacted law which bans promotion of “nontraditional sexual relations” to minors. The issue has raised questions over what would happen to athletes who wear a pin or patch or carry a rainbow flag to show their support for gay rights.
The charter says the IOC can take action against — even expel — athletes who violate Rule 50, but the committee has said the rule would be “interpreted and applied sensibly and proportionately.”
“This is about the principles,” Bach said. “The principle is to protect the Olympic athletes to be drawn into political controversies. Then, you always have to decide on a case-by-case basis.”
"If IOC President Thomas Bach truly cares about principles, he should speak out against the discriminatory Russian laws that clearly violate Principle 6 of the IOC's Charter," said Andre Banks, Executive Director of All Out. "These laws not only stigmatize the gay community, they have also ignited a wave of anti-gay violence around the country. It's time to change the Olympic bidding process to ensure that the honor of hosting the Games only goes to countries that respect basic human rights."
"The 34 Olympians who have joined our campaign feel it is their duty to uphold the Olympic Charter and act in the face of any form of discrimination. Equality is not about politics, it's about principles," said Hudson Taylor, Executive Director of Athlete Ally. "The Principle 6 Campaign uses the language of the IOC's founding document to give athletes, fans and global supporters a way to celebrate the Olympic values of non-discrimination and show solidarity with LGBT Russians. How could the IOC object to that?"
Posted at 05:26 AM in Civil Rights, Human Rights, International Olympic Committee, International Relations, LGBT Appointments, LGBT Russians, LGBT Sports, Olympics, President Putin, Principles and Values, Russia, Russian Gays, Russian Olympics, Sochi Olympic Games | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
December 03, 2013
" Sport Does Not Discriminate On Grounds Of Race, Religion, Politics, Gender Or Otherwise"
-Principle Six of the International Olympic Charter
AllOut.org and Athlete Ally has created a brilliant campaign to take to Sochi in February. The genius of it all is that the LGBT community is not putting any Athletes at risk while slowly and steadily feeding the International Olympic Committee their own words.
There is no question that by the time of the Olympics the Principle Six Campaign will stand not only for human rights but clearly for the freedom from the tyranny directed against the Russian LGBT community. The more athletes, media personalities, entertainers and others who wear Principle Six somewhere on their person the more powerful the message.
The two organizations announced this week that some Olympians have endorsed this effort. However it should not be limited to just Olympians but all athletes and supporters of human rights. American athletes should put a brilliant red '6' on their uniforms to show solidarity. That includes high school and college athletes.
Now is the time in your communities, school, universities and institutions to ask people to wear the bright red six to show resistance to the Putin's Punks.
American Apparel has partnered with the groups and will help finance the bold statement to take to Sochi. You will be able to get your "6" merchandise after January 1. Hope they have a small classy pin to put on your suit or formal wear.
This should be a campaign that everyone should be able to rally behind including NBC Sports, sponsors, athletes and activists
Posted at 06:00 AM in Civil Rights, Human Rights, International LGBT Rights, LGBT, LGBT Athletes, LGBT Discrimination, LGBT Organizatons, LGBT Russians, LGBT Sports, Olympics, President Putin, Principles and Values, Russia, Russian Gays, Russian Olympics, Sochi Olympic Games, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
October 10, 2013
Everyone has had an idea how to approach the Russian Winter Olympic Games from boycott, to moving them or making the USA uniforms the colors of the rainbow flag. It is exactly that energy that has enabled AllOut.org and Athlete Ally to come up with an effective and wise approach to taking on the Russians record on LGBT rights.
Now the LGBT rights organizations Athlete Ally and All Out are promoting an alternative that may well steer clear of the flaws and dangers of other ideas. It involves appropriating the I.O.C.’s own words and stated values and turning them into a coded affirmation of LGBT equality, an epigrammatic protest of Russia’s laws that doesn’t include the word “gay” or any of the conventional symbols of the gay rights movement. Russians wouldn’t easily be able to classify it as so-called gay propaganda, which the country deems illegal. And I.O.C. officials could hardly take offense and muster any opposition.
The Olympic charter includes something called Principle 6, which decries discrimination of any kind and makes clear that the games are committed to equality and human rights. So Athlete Ally, working with a company called the Idea Brand and the professional football player Brendon Ayanbadejo, came up with and developed the notion of using the very name of that clause, along with a logo or logos that allude to it, as a rebuke of Russia’s laws and a method for athletes and fans to express their convictions. The symbol and the syllables P6, perhaps worn as a sticker, perhaps woven into clothing, could evolve into something along the lines of a Livestrong bracelet: a ubiquitous motif that doesn’t spell out a whole philosophy but has an unmistakable meaning and message.
“From the moment that the Russian laws became a big story, folks have been trying to think of ways to use the Olympics to shine a light on them and decry them,” noted Brian Ellner, a member of Athlete Ally’s board of directors.
Some advocates of LGBT equality called for a boycott of the Winter Games, but many others, myself included, thought that a boycott went too far and would turn the constructive, important attention being paid to Russia’s unacceptable laws into a less constructive lament and debate about what the American athletes who’d trained for this moment had lost and what the sports fans who relish the Olympics had been denied.
Some advocates urged that the Winter Games be moved, which was highly unlikely to happen and indeed isn’t happening.
But those dead ends didn’t mean the death of an intense and widespread desire to turn these Olympics into a teachable moment.
“I don’t want to see a boycott,” said Nick Symmonds, an American middle-distance runner who was on our country’s Olympic teams in 2008 and 2012, participating in the Summer Games in Beijing and then London. “But I do expect to see the I.O.C. uphold the charter. If you read what it says there, it says that any form of discrimination will not be tolerated. And clearly they’re allowing a form of discrimination to be tolerated.”
“The Olympics have to be about equality,” Symmonds added. “And Russia is very clearly not about equality.”
He recently returned from Russia, where he competed in the 2013 world championships, winning a silver in the 800 meters, and where he made it a point, on Russian soil, to denounce Russia’s laws, telling a Russian news agency: “I believe that all humans deserve equality no matter how God made them.” He told me that he doubted he’d be arrested or have his medal taken away—neither of which happened—and was willing in any case to take the chance.
In addition to his comments in Russia, Symmonds is among a growing number of former and imminent Olympians who have put their names on a petition, as part of the P6 movement, to implore the I.O.C. to state more clearly than it has thus far that its anti-discrimination philosophy embraces gay people and rights; that Russia’s laws aren’t consistent with the I.O.C. charter and the Olympic spirit; and that Russia, as the host country, needs to be cognizant of that.
The list of prominent athletes who have joined Symmonds in speaking up for equality and drawing attention to Principle 6 includes the tennis star Andy Roddick and the National Basketball Association player Steve Nash, both veterans of the Olympics.
Andre Banks, the executive director of All Out, said that it’s clear to him, from his outreach and conversations over recent months, that “a lot of people are looking for a way to speak out.”
“I’ve heard from many people in many different sports,” Banks told me. He added that when it comes to athletes who are bound for Sochi, “They feel it’s irresponsible to be asked to choose between the sport that they love and the principles that they believe in.”
That’s where the Principle 6 movement comes in. It’s an attempt to take full advantage of the world’s attention to the Winter Games without putting athletes at risk of censure. Maybe they hold up six fingers. Maybe their outfits include something with a P6 logo, several designs for which are being considered.
“I think you’re likely to see merchandise, hats, gloves, shirts,” said Banks.
All Out, Athlete Ally and their supporters realize that none of this will work if they don’t quickly educate the public, through social media and other avenues, about what P6 stands for. They’re now embarking on that mission, which is helped hugely by the involvement of athletes like Symmonds, Roddick, Nash and the diver Greg Louganis, an openly gay former Olympian who has been vocal about the Russian laws.
They want to make P6 the rainbow flag that’s not a rainbow flag, the shout-out for equality that sidesteps the syllable gay, which is so ridiculously risky in the context of these particular Winter Games.
For an athlete to wear a P6 symbol would be “like a Supreme Court justice tattooing the First Amendment on his or her arm,” Ellner said. “Is that political? No. It’s the Constitution.”
September 11, 2013
Getting Republicans and Democrats to agree on almost anything these days is next to impossible. However California State Senator Mark Leno managed to bring both parties together to sharply condemn the Russian campaign against its LGBT citizens.
Senate Resolution 18 is tough and has a bite to it. Leno's office describes the resolution which passed the State Senate with am astounding bipartisan vote of 29 to 1!
SR 18 was introduced in response to Russia’s new laws that discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. In addition to asking the state’s two largest pension funds to stop making direct future investments in Russia, the resolution calls on the International Olympic Committee to withdraw its position that expressing support for LGBT people and their rights is a violation of its rules and to seek a written guarantee from the Russian government that athletes and other visitors to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi will not be prosecuted under the anti-gay laws. SR 18 also urges other organizations holding large internationally televised events in Russia, including the Miss Universe Organization and its owner Donald Trump, to move their events to countries without such virulently anti-gay laws.
September 05, 2013
Remember when it was considered very brave when one or two active players in the National Football League would support LGBT rights? The very courage of any player making positive statements about full equality for LGBT Americans was enough to make the front page of every sports section.
OUTSPORTS.com is reporting that there are now sixty-two national football league players who have made supportive statements about LGBT Americans and equality. This is an astounding number and a historical moment. The site has a complete list of the players and their statements but here is a sample.
Carson Palmer (Arizona Cardinals):
"In our locker room I think he would be accepted very easily," Palmer said. "I've been around the league a long time and you play with a lot of guys from a lot of different backgrounds, and that's just the world we live in. I don't think there would be any issues in this locker room. I think guys would accept him. All the locker rooms I've been in, in fact, since I've been in the NFL, I think he would be accepted very easily."
Stepfan Taylor (Arizona Cardinals):
"It wouldn't be a problem," he said about having a gay teammate. "That's his business. We're all out there playing football, and if he's out there to win games, everyone's out there together. People respect other people's values and decisions. It's a respect thing. You don't have to agree with anything or disagree with things, you just respect that you're here to play football."
Terrell Suggs (Baltimore Ravens):
Asked if he would have a problem with a gay teammate, Suggs answered, "Absolutely not." Suggs then added that the rest of the team would welcome a gay teammate as well. We wouldn’t have a problem with it," Suggs said. "We don’t care. Our biggest thing in the locker room is to just have fun and stay loose. We don’t really care too much about that. We’re a football team. I said it yesterday; everybody deserves a certain amount of privacy. Who cares? Whatever a person’s choice is, it’s their choice."
"On this team, with so many different personalities, we just accept people for who they are and we don’t really care too much about a player’s sexuality," Suggs said. "To each their own. You know who you are, and we accept you for it."
T.J. Graham (Buffalo Bills):
The receiver sees gay rights as a civil rights issue. "You can’t discriminate. It’s just like black, white, same thing. You wouldn’t discriminate against my race, just like I wouldn’t discriminate against your sexuality."
Martellus Bennett (Chicago Bears tight end, via Twitter):
"There's def at least one or 2 gay guys on every team. Who cares?! If someone can play ball let em play."
Giovanni Bernard (Cincinnati Bengals):
"That's good for America, that's good for our society to kind of get that out there," Bernard said about Jason Collins coming out. "Nowadays, people have a certain stigma of their sexuality, but I think they shouldn't be considered different at all."
Andrew Luck (Indianapolis Colts):
"It's the 21st century and I know I would have absolutely no problem with it. I hope no one would treat them any differently than any straight player, no special treatment -- he's just another guy. It's none of our business, sexual preference of people. I hope that if someone is thinking about it and they do come out as gay as a professional football player and it makes them happy and it makes their life easier, than I think they should do it. When it does come, I'd be disappointed if there was a negative reaction among players."
T.Y. Hilton (Indianapolis Colts):
"I would have that person's back and I would always be there for them."
Pat McAfee (Indianapolis Colts):
"I think it's a generational thing. Our locker room, a younger generation, is very much more accepting because we've been around more gay people. In the recent years, gay folks have been much more open. A lot of us have gay friends and we kind of understand that they're just like us, they're just interested in different things."
Matt Overton (Indianapolis Colts):
"Respect Jason Collins for stepping out. Live your life man! Hope people will respect him as a teammate & as a pro athlete."
September 02, 2013
Out soccer player Robby Rogers will be making his first appearance on the East Coast since signing with the Los Angeles Galaxy. The game will be against DC United in RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. on September 14.
The Federal Triangle Soccer Club (FTSC) and Team DC will be hosting the fourth annual United Night Out! It is expected that a large number of fans on the East Coast will make their way to RFK Stadium to see Rogers play for the first time on this coast.
DC United is working with the local clubs to sponsor the evening. The professional sports team will donate part of each ticket that night to "You Can Play Project' which works to create an atmosphere for LGBT players to come out in sports.
The game starts at 1PM on September 14 enabling New Yorkers and others to make a day trip to Washington, D.C. to see new hero in action. The Washington Blade has more details on the day and activities.