Russian gay activists call for Sochi Winter Olympics boycott
Russia has increasingly become a bastion of homophobic sentiment and laws, and gay rights activists are warning athletes about the approaching Sochi Winter Olympics.
On June 11, a bill banning "gay propaganda" passed in Russia's lower house of parliament 436 to zero.
When this bill becomes law, it will become a crime to: hold Pride events, defend gay rights, or express equality between heterosexuals and homosexuals. Foreigners of any sexual orientation who break the law will be deported, fined, or detained for about 15 days.
Meanwhile, the country is on its way to passing a bill that will ban foreign same-sex couples from adopting Russian children (as well as single people of any sexual orientation). The bill passed with a second-reading vote of 443 to zero in Russia's lower house of parliament on June 18.
Both bills must go to the upper house, where they already have strong support, and then be signed by President Vladimir Putin.
RUSA LGBT, a Russian-speaking queer American organization based in New York City, is calling for a boycott of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
They're warning LGBT athletes that they are unsafe in the country. However, they are also hoping that straight athletes will also participate in the boycott.
“LGBT people in Russia are scared, they live in fear, and we want people to be aware of the issue. If they feel strongly about human rights they should boycott the Olympics in Sochi,” RUSA LGBT president Nina Long told RIA Novosti.
RUSA LGBT will hand out flyers about the Olympic boycott at New York City's LGBT Pride March on June 30, which will be the first time the parade will have a Russian float.