What athletes should know:
1) As explained by its authors, Russia’s “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations” law makes it illegal to transmit information about LGBT issues or speak of LGBT persons as equal citizens to a Russian minor.
Because minors have access to the internet, are out in public, read newspapers, watch television, etc. this law makes it impossible for LGBT persons to express themselves.
The law essentially seeks to make LGBT citizens invisible.
2) The authors of the law want to extend its jurisdiction into the private sphere. They have proposed to add homosexuality to a category with alcoholism, drug abuse and violence, as reasons for parents to lose custody of their children. This proposition will be voted in February, 2014, the month of the Olympic Games.
3) The law has made violence against LGBT citizens acceptable (with police doing nothing or little to protect them from violence). Russian antigay vigilante groups have surfaced in recent months, to torture, rape, attack and kill Russian LGBT citizens with impunity.
What does this mean for your fellow LGBT Olympians, fans, family or friends?
1) In Sochi you will not be considered an equal citizen under this law.
2) Holding hands or kissing your spouse may be interpreted as acts violating the “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations” law. The law stipulates that you could face fines, prison time and deportation (the law will carry a fine of up to 5,000 rubles ($156) for an individual and up to 1 million rubles ($31,000) for media organizations).
3) Even if the Russian government makes assurances that LGBT participants at the Olympics will not be treated as inhumanely and viciously as Russian LGBT citizens, the homophobic discriminatory law stands.