Homophobic laws in Russia may cause tension at the Sochi Olympics


Currently, the LGBT community is facing prejudice to the extent of violence in Russia. No human being is deserving of this treatment, especially not for an aspect that they cannot change and is not harming others.

In June 2013, a law was passed in Moscow, Russia that banned the propaganda of “non-traditional sexual relationships” to minors. The federal anti-LGBT law signed by President Vladimir Putin offers vague definitions of propaganda, such as “distribution of information that is aimed at the formation among minors of nontraditional sexual attitudes, attractiveness of non- traditional sexual relations, misperceptions of the social equivalence of traditional and non-traditional sexual relations…”

Essentially what this law is saying is “It’s wrong to show off a homosexual relationship in public, and it’s wrong to show minors that it’s okay to be part of a gender/sexual minority.”

It’s very obvious that this is a result of prejudice and lack of education in Russia about the LGBT community. They are viewed as “non-traditional” relationships, and somehow being “non-traditional” is wrong.

Sochi, where the February 2014 Winter Olympics are being held, is one of the regions where anti-LGBT laws are in place. People are being beaten in the streets for displaying homosexuality (including transgender people or other gender/sexual minorities), often while the police either contribute to the violence or stand by and watch. Putin has stated that “gays are welcome” at the Olympics, as long as they “leave the children alone.” This is a very shallow method of covering up Russia’s discrimination, and does not offer a warm welcome to the LGBT attendees of the Olympics.

The hate crimes committed against the LGBT community are atrocious. I can’t imagine how it must feel to be afraid of going outside because people, including police, could beat you or kill you just for expressing your identity. While homophobia is still a severe problem in North America, it is far worse in Russia and this violence and intolerance should be condemned. It is my hope that the Russian people will look back at this issue as the United States looks back at its history with racism: with shame and regret.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the Parkway School District.