|Stephen Barris, ILGA Programmes Officer|
|Stephen Barris, ILGA Programmes Officer|
More than 300,000 people from around the world have signed All Out?s petition urging Russia to repeal anti-gay laws in advance of 2014 Sochi Olympics Several Olympic medalists and Athlete Ally ambassadors have joined the call
Lausanne, Switzerland - On Wednesday, August 7, 2013, All Out staff and members will deliver a petition with more than 300,000 signatures to the International Olympic Committee, whose leaders have agreed to receive the petition.
In addition to delivering the petition, the All Out team will also provide a letter from British actor Stephen Fry and thousands of signatures from Athlete Ally supporters, including Four Time Olympic Gold Medalist and Athlete Ally Ambassador Greg Louganis and other former Olympians to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) headquarters.
This global call is urging the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to condemn Russia's anti-gay law before the Olympic Games, denounce the laws and urge Russia to ensure the security of all visitors, athletes and Russian people, before, during, and after the Games.
"The International Olympic Committee is being forced by Russia to tell athletes to shut up, but instead they are speaking out," said Andre Banks, Executive Director and Co-Founder of All Out "Ironically, the global outcry is transforming Sochi into an amazing platform for Russians and athletes to defy the law and speak out. The IOC needs to get ready."
"We hope the International Olympic Committee responds to All Out and Athlete Ally's members and the millions of people worldwide who want Russia to treat all of their citizens with dignity under the law. Unless the Sochi Games set an example of the rights and freedoms being exercised without prejudice, the discriminatory anti-LGBT law will serve to punish people simply for being open about who they are and who they love. We continue our call for world leaders, including the IOC, to speak out now before it is too late," said Anastasia Smirnova, from the Russian LGBT Network in St Petersburg.
Olympians and athletes from around the world shared statements of solidarity with All Out and Athlete Ally ahead of the petition delivery, including four time Olympic Gold medalist Greg Louganis, NFL linebacker Brendon Ayabadejo, Championship Tennis player Mardy Fish, Australian Women?s Cricket player Alex Blackwell, and Israeli Basketball Super League Dan Grunfeld.
"We believe that when people know better, they do better, " said Hudson Taylor, Executive Director of Athlete Ally. "We see the opportunity for a globally transformative experience to rise out of the ignorance and bigotry in Russia."
Greg Louganis, four time Olympic Gold medalist and Athlete Ally Ambassador said: "I urge the International Olympic Committee to listen to the more than 300,000 people who have signed Athlete Ally and All Out petitions urging world leaders to speak out against Russia's anti-gay laws. The IOC should urge Russia to repeal their anti-gay laws ahead of the 2014 Olympic Games rather than simply suspending the laws during the games. No one should be satisfied until these dangerous laws are repealed and all Russians are treated with dignity under the law."
Actor Stephen Fry shared an open letter with All Out urging the IOC to speak out now about Russia?s anti-gay laws. In it he wrote, ?It is simply not enough to say that gay Olympians may or may not be safe in their village. The IOC absolutely must take a firm stance on behalf of the shared humanity it is supposed to represent.?
To see the live signature totals from All Out?s petition visit: http://www.allout.org/olympics
About All Out:
In 76 countries it is a crime to be gay; in 10 it can cost you your life. All Out is mobilizing millions of people and their social networks to build a powerful global movement for love and equality. Our mission is to build a world where no person will have to sacrifice their family or freedom, safety or dignity, because of who they are or who they love.
The current anti-gay law in Russia includes a provision that allows the government to detain foreigners for 14 days before possible expulsion. The following activities could be construed as a violation of the new national law for participants in the Sochi Olympics:
A journalist covering the impact of the laws on gay communities in Russia could be fined or their media outlet could be fined
A global citizen living outside of Russia posting a global petition urging the end of the anti-gay crackdown
Two sisters holding hands in the street of Sochi, or any other cities of Russia could be stopped and questioned by police and possibly fined. Any event that would talk positively about being LGBT in Russia, from prides to conferences, or even film festivals and book fairs could be banned