Via commentor LAMH36:
The White House delivered a strong message of opposition to Russia’s anti-gay laws Tuesday with the announcement of its delegation to the opening ceremony of the Sochi Olympics.
The White House delegation will include an openly gay athlete: tennis great Billie Jean King.
It will not include the president, first lady or the vice president, all who headed the previous four Olympic delegations, or a cabinet secretary, only a former one. This marks the first Olympics since the 2000 Sydney Summer Games that a U.S. president, vice president, first lady or former president has not been a member of the delegation for the opening ceremony, which will be Feb. 7 in Sochi…
The Washington Post ran two articles on the upcoming Sochi Olympics last weekend, an editorial:
… Mr. Putin’s actions place him blatantly at odds with Principle 6 of the Olympic Charter, which bans “any form of discrimination” by a host country. But the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which overlooked China’s crackdown on free expression and political dissent prior to the 2008 Summer Games, has declined to take notice — much less to put pressure on Moscow. Instead, IOC officials are pointing to statements by Mr. Putin that gay athletes and spectators will not be discriminated against during the Games.
That assurance is looking increasingly dubious. Mr. Putin’s rhetoric and the anti-gay law he supported have opened the floodgates for gay-bashing in Russia. State television programs regularly broadcast vile propaganda denouncing the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) movement. As Minky Worden of Human Rights Watch recently reported on the opposite page, state television channel Rossiya 1, whose parent is an Olympic broadcasting franchise holder, recently used a secretly made recording of a meeting she had with Russian gay activists to support the claim that “Western, European sodomites are trying to infiltrate Russia and organize a protest movement here, among our Russian perverts.”…
… and a multi-page travel guide to the city, including the following:
“… We’re not used to a man kissing another man,” said [tour guide] Andrei. “Sooner or later, we’ll all follow your footsteps, but it’s not going to be this year or next.”
Sochi is home to two gay clubs, including the Lighthouse, which holds nightly drag shows. Owner Andrei Tanichev, who opened the establishment eight years ago, said that he has planned a special performance for the Olympics, assembling the country’s best “actors” (translation: drag queens). He is also preparing something smashing for the Group of Eight summit in June 2014.
“We are more tolerant than people in other cities,” he said from the comfort of a dimly lit booth at his club. “After some time, Russian people will be more tolerant.”…