Gay rights campaigners and organizations around the world called for 2014 Winter Olympics to be moved from Russia over the country’s draconian anti-LGBT laws.
An online petition addressed to Jacques Rogge demanding International Olympic Committee (IOC) to relocate the 2014 Winter Games to Vancouver was posted and reached 100,000 signatures on August 8.
Star trek’s Hikaru Sulu, George Takei, a vocal proponent of LGBT rights backed the petition and said, ‘The only solution to ensure the safety of the athletes who may be gay or lesbian and their supporters who will be following them to the Winter Olympics, is to pull it out of Russia.’
British broadcaster and author Stephen Fry wrote and open letter to Mr. Rogge and various other people including David Cameron, urging them to ban the 2014 Winter Olympics due to take place in Sochi because of Russia’s discrimination of LGBT people.
Fry wrote, “Every time in Russia (and it is constantly) a gay teenager is forced into suicide, a lesbian “correctively” raped, gay men and women beaten to death by neo-Nazi thugs while the Russian police stand idly by, the world is diminished and I for one, weep anew at seeing history repeat itself.”
“An absolute ban on the Russian Winter Olympics of 2014 on Sochi is simply essential. Stage them elsewhere in Utah, Lillyhammer, anywhere you like. At all costs Putin cannot be seen to have the approval of the civilized world.”
The letter went viral and more people joined the protest against Russia hosting the Winter Olympics next year. Also, news circulated this week citing possible support from the IOC of Russia’s anti-gay laws.
But the rumors and speculations were put to rest when Russian media finally reported that gay athletes competing in next year's winter Olympics will not face discrimination despite a controversial new law on gay propaganda.
Related: Why Do Russians Hate Gays?
But there are still ‘uncertainties’ despite written assurances received from Sochi organizer Dmitry Kozak, according to Jacques Rogge.