Image via Change.org
After Ikea inexplicably removed a lesbian couple from their Russia catalog, over 40,000 people signed a petition demanding that the furniture giant republish their in-store magazine. The magazine included a feature story about a British lesbian couple, but was only removed from their Russian stores, a despicable move that more than 40,000 people felt went against the socially liberal Swedish brand. The photo and feature in Ikea’s magazine featured a lesbian couple, Clara and Kirsty, and discussed how the couple and their baby became closer while redecorating their small living space. The move also sparked at-store protests in addition to the petition. “We’re bringing the voices of 40,000 signers, and countless people around the globe who want corporate giants like IKEA to stand up against Russia’s brutal assault on LGBT people,” said Larry Poltavtsev, President of the Spectrum Human Rights. “For IKEA to erase LGBT people from their Russian publications only caters to the extreme brand of hatred and discrimination being promoted by Russian lawmakers.”
You can still sign the petition by visiting Change.org.
Categories: petition, Russia, Sochi, Sweden anti-gay companies, change.org, corporations, gay, gay Russia, Ikea, Olympics, protest, russia, Sochi, spectrum, sweden
Image by Dereje
Citing Russia’s anti-gay laws and human rights abuses, German President Joachim Gauck will boycott the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. Gauck is the first world leader to condemn the persecution of gay people in Russia by calling for a boycott of the Olympics. According to The Guardian:
The German president has become the first major political figure to boycott the Sochi Winter Olympics in February. According to German weekly Der Spiegel, Joachim Gauck last week informed the Kremlin of his decision, which is understood to be a response to the Russian government’s violations of human rights and harassment of the opposition.
The boycott is the first of the Games by a major political figure. So far, it has mainly been artists and activists such as Stephen Fry, Harvey Fierstein and Lady Gaga who have called for a boycott of the Sochi Games in reaction to a new Russian law that criminalises gay “propaganda”.
Find out more at The Guardian.
Categories: Gay Rights, Gay Travel, Germany, Russia, Sochi, Sports 2014 Winter Olympics, anti-gay laws, gay Russia, German President, Joachim Gauck, lady gaga, putin, Sochi, Sochi Boycott
Image via Facebook.
New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli and other New York City officials sent a strongly worded letter to the sponsors of the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia writing that if they continue their sponsorships they will put their companies in jeopardy by facing “reputational risk.” So why should companies listen to DiNapoli, the city comptroller serves as the sole trustee to a $161 billion public pension fund. In the past he has used his power to persuade companies to de-invest in situations that threaten human rights. According to Times Union: “DiNapoli has in the past used the state Common Retirement Fund’s leverage to press for changes in corporate policy—ranging from divestment from companies that do business with dictatorships to pressing Chevron to do right by plaintiffs in a massive environmental lawsuit in Ecuador. In each case, the Comptroller has argued that doing so is about protecting shareholder value, not promoting a progressive agenda.”
In the letter addressed to AtoS, Coca-Cola, Dow Chemical, General Electric, Omega (Swatch), McDonalds, Panasonic, Proctor & Gamble, Samsung, and Visa, DiNapoli, NYC Comptroller John Liu, and a coalition of investors “with at total of $327 billion of assets under management” made three major points in their letter:
- Ensure their nondiscrimination policies are strong, inclusive and enforced globally, especially in regard to employees stationed or on location in Russia;
- Call on the leaders of the Russian Federation to rescind the laws that deprive members of Russia’s LGBT community of freedom of speech and freedom of assembly, and declare their commitment to equality irrespective of sexual orientation or gender identity; and
- Call on the International Olympic Committee to obtain firm and express commitments from the Russian government that ensure the safety and human rights of all athletes and attendees of the Winter Games and visitors to the Games’ venues.
Categories: New York, Olympics, Russia, Sochi, Sports Anti-gay Russian Laws, Boycott Sochi, gay rights, gay Russia, john liu, new york, new york city, new york state, Olympic Games, propaganda, russia, Sochi, sponsorships, tony dinapoli, winter games
Belle Brockhoff. Image via principle6.org.
American Apparel, famous for their LGBT political activism, has launched a new line of political-activism merchandise targeting Russia’s anti-gay laws. The protest merchandise, called Principle 6, will be marketed by Olympic athletes who will be competing at the Winter Olympics in Sochi. Of them, Belle Brockhoff, an openly lesbian Australian snowboarder, will be one of the first to display the red T-shirt. Principle 6 is in refrence to the principle in the International Olympic Committee’s charter that prohibits discrimination on the grounds of “race, religion, politics, gender or otherwise.” According to the NYT: “The line of Principle 6 branded merchandise will bear a rewritten version of the principle’s declaration: ‘Sport does not discriminate on grounds of race, religion, politics, gender or otherwise.’ (The paraphrase also serves to avoid another sticky issue: The Olympic committee is zealous in its policing of the use of the words ‘Olympic’ or ‘Olympics’ by anyone other than its members and official sponsors.)” The apparel went on sale yesterday online and will be available in stores beginning Jan. 1.
Categories: advertising, Gay Rights, Russia, Sports American Apparel, anti-gay laws, apparel, clothes, gay Russia, merchandise, olympic charter, principle 6, russia, Sochi, sochi olympics, Winter Olympics
Image via Passport
In spite of bomb threats and intimidation, the Side by Side LGBT International Film Festival is being presented in Russia this week. Neo Nazi groups and right wing nationalists tried to prevent the film festival from taking place by calling in bomb threats, but the festival continues in spite of these groups and their assaults on gay people and gay rights in Russia. According to Cleve Jones: “Director Gus Van Sant, screenwriter Dustin Lance Black and producer Bruce Cohen will be showing “MILK” with Russian subtitles in St. Petersburg and Moscow.”
It is difficult to stand up for your rights when you face these sort of threats and intimidation, but the gay people of Russia continue to demand the equal rights they deserve in spite of the threats. Thank you Gus Van Sant, Dustin Lance Black, and Bruce Cohen for supporting the gay people of Russia.
Read more about what is happening at Side by Side LGBT International Film Festival and over at The Moscow Times.
Categories: Film, Gay Rights, Gay Travel, Russia Bruce Cohen, dustin lance black, gay film festivals, gay Russia, Gus Van Sant, Moscow Times, Side by Side, Side by Side International Film Festival
German Olympic Uniforms. Image via GLReview.
A rainbow seems to have rained down on the uniforms to be worn by German athletes in the upcoming Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Fashion critics say the design is rather hideous, but that’s a relatively minor point in the international debate that has since erupted, trying to figure out whether the rainbow-inspired threads are a subversive statement on Russia’s anti-gay “propaganda” policy in the international games.
The German Olympic Sports Confederation says the uniforms are simply “a bold fashion choice” as reported by BuzzFeed. The official statement explains, “The colors of the Sochi-outfits reflect the exotic landscape of Sochi: turquoise blue of the Black Sea, hot yellow of the sun and sand, lush green of the palms topped by the cool white of the Caucasus Mountains.” The statement even shamelessly implies that it’s a way to draw more attention to German athletes in a sea of competitors, with bright neon colors that will stand out against darks and neutrals. Nevertheless, they’ve included the clause “Everybody may read into it want he wants” into the statement.
Others maintain that it must—simply must—be a subtle jab at the highly criticized anti-gay policy instated by Russia which has been decried by LGBT activists ever since the new anti-propaganda law passed over the summer.
Categories: Germany, Olympics, Russia fashion, gay athletes, gay germany, gay Russia, germany, Olympics, russia, Sochi, Winter Olympics
A transgender Russian lawyer named Masha Bash has stripped down to call attention to gay and trans rights for LGBT people in Russia. Bash, who is also the chair of the Association of Russian Lawyers for Human Rights posed naked in a photo in order to expose Russian President Vladirmir Putin’s oppressive anti-trans laws. ‘Transgender people mostly keep silent in Russia and those who don’t keep silent are the target of this persecution. We are considered enemies and terrorists because we are transgender,” Bash said to the Gay Star News.
Categories: Gay Rights, Russia, Transgender Bjork, Duma, gay, gay propaganda, gay Russia, iceland, kiss, lesbian, madonna, Masha Bash, moscow, Paul McCartney, punk, RT, St. Petersberg, transgender, Vladamir Putin
Image via Passport
The IOC issued a statement today that they will move the 2014 Winter Olympics to Vancouver Canada. Sighting Russia’s anti-gay laws as the reason for the move the Olympic committee stated: “After careful deliberation we has decided it would be in the best interest of the Olympic athletes and international visitors to move the Olympics from Sochi to Vancouver.” Sources confirm that amid a growing international outcry to move the games out of Russia, and concern from corporate sponsors for the safety of the athletes, the IOC determined it was in the best interest of everyone involved to move the Olympics to Canada. The IOC harshly condemned Russia’s anti-gay laws, emphasizing the importance of “upholding the Olympic charter to ensure that no individual or group is targeted for discrimination.” They went on to say that “gay rights are human rights and we will not tolerate the violation of these rights in Russia or any where else in the world.”
If you believe that the IOC needs to issue a statement like this, then contact them today and demand that they move the 2014 Winter Olympics away from Sochi.
Tell the IOC to do the right thing and move the Olympics out of Russia.
Categories: Gay Rights, Gay Travel, Russia, Sochi, Sports Anti-gay Russian Laws, Boycott Sochi, gay athletes, Gay Propaganda laws, gay rights, gay Russia, human rights, ioc, lesbian athletes, putin, Sochi, Sochi 2014, Winter Olympics
Screen Shot via YouTube.
The LGBT-rights group AllOut, who has been leading the charge against Russia’s discriminatory laws, has released a short film highlighting the International Olympic Committee’s contradictory position (or lack of position) concerning gay rights during the Sochi Olympic Games. The film, which stars actresses Silvia Baltodano and Kate Hollowood, is directed by Mike Buonaiuto and hopes to highlight the injustice facing LGBT athletes during the 2014 Olympic Games. “Russia’s law makes it unclear whether public displays of affection, coming out on television by mentioning an athlete’s loved one, or even hugging your partner after winning the gold medal could result in fines or deportation. Putin would like us to think gays and lesbians are welcome during the Olympics, but no one will feel safe and welcome while this law is in place. It’s not too late. China made serious concessions ahead of Beijing to ensure the 2008 Olympic Games were consistent with international standards and Russia should not be exempt from doing the same. Russia must overturn the law before the Winter Olympics.”
Check it out after the jump…
Categories: Gay Rights, Russia, Sochi, Sports 2014 Winter Olympic Sochi, activism, all out, allout.org, Blake Skjellerup, gay athletes, gay Russia, homosexual propaganda, Lady Gaga Madonna, movie, Russian Parliament, same-sex couples, video
Image via Allout
All Out has been asking supporters to speak out against Russia’s anti-gay laws by addressing letters to Coca-Cola, a major sponsor of the Olympics. All Out representatives hope that the American multinational corporation, in keeping with its peaceful and friendly brand identity, will make a statement against the injustice in Russia against LGBT persons, and other major sponsors like McDonald’s and Samsung will follow suit, ultimately encouraging the Russian government to repeal the laws before the Olympics. The group expects that such letters from citizens worldwide will put pressure on the company to make a statement against Russia’s discriminatory practices. Coca-Cola is expected to make their decision sometime next week.
All Out has been very active and rather successful in their campaign so far. Their international protests and petition, which received over 400,000 signatures, prompted the UK Prime Minster to confront President Putin face-to-face on the issue. Members sent nearly 79,500 letters to the Olympic Committee, garnering a reply in which the committee agreed that LGBT individuals were indeed protected under the anti-discrimination Olympic Principle 6, according to a statement published by All Out representatives.
Support gay people in Russia and send an email to Coca-Cola by clicking here.
Categories: Gay Rights, human rights, Olympics, Russia, Sochi, Sports all out, Boycott Coca-Cola, Boycott Sochi, Coca-cola, gay Russia, gay russians, global equality, LGBT activism, Olympics, russia, Russian anti-gay laws