LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM – On Sunday, LGBT rights activists plan to protest the policy of Olympics officials permitting nations that have anti-LGBT laws to compete in the London 2012 games. “The [International Olympic Committee] should disqualify from the Olympics countries that discriminate against athletes on the grounds of gender, ethnicity, religion/belief, sexual orientation, or gender identity,” said human rights advocate Peter Tatchell.
“The IOC and [London Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games] have a duty to uphold the Olympic Charter’s commitment to equality for all in sport. They are failing to do so,” he added. Tatchell is calling for Olympic officials to ensure that competing states “make a public statement that LGBT athletes are welcome at London 2012, and that participating nations must not discriminate on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity.”
He added that “in over 150 countries, [LGBT] athletes are forced to hide their sexuality in order to get selected and compete, otherwise they would be rejected and possibly face imprisonment. In the absence of laws against homophobic discrimination, victimization and bias against LGBT athletes is endemic in most competing nations.”
Tatchell says that such statesanctioned discrimination should not be rewarded by allowing participation in the 2012 games.