All Out and Athlete Ally Respond to The International Olympic Committee

Athlete Ally and All Out have issued a response today to The International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) announcement that they are finalizing a letter to athletes participating in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, warning them to not participate in political demonstrations during the Winter Games, including any protests against Russia’s law banning gay “propaganda.”

The two groups recently launched the global Principle 6 Campaign. Principle 6 of the Olympic Charter states that discrimination of any kind is incompatible with the Olympic movement. The IOC confirmed that sexual orientation is a part of Principle 6 but refuses to speak out against legislation passed by the Russian government banning propaganda of “nontraditional” sexual relations. 

The statements from the two organizations are as follows:

“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?”

Athlete Ally is an organization working to end homophobia and transphobia in sports by educating allies in the athletic community and empowering them to take a stand. With thousands of athletes, coaches and fans supporting, Athlete Ally promotes inclusion at all levels of competition. All Out is an organization mobilizing millions of people and their social networks to build a powerful global movement for love and equality. Their 1.9 million members live in every country in the world.