The International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced on Nov. 18, 2014 that any future Olympic hosts must protect the human rights of all participants. The defining statement that was added to the contract language with regard to human rights excludes discrimination on several areas, with sexual orientation being a key addition.
The enjoyment of the rights and freedoms set forth in the Olympic Charter shall be secured without discrimination of any kind, such as race, color, sex, sexual orientation, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.
Russia passed anti-LBGT laws prior to the 2014 Winter Olympics. These laws applied to Russian athletes, and any foreign athletes or visitors to the 2014 Winter Olympics held in Sochi. There was considerable political pressure for Russia to relax its restrictions on visitors. Some members of the Russian women’s team openly displayed sexual affection on the medals podium.
IOC president Thomas Bach made 40 recommendations to be discussed at the next IOC meeting in Monaco in Dec. 2014. The 14th recommendation of President Bach will specifically add language to the contract signed by host cities.
The IOC to include non-discrimination on sexual orientation in the 6th Fundamental Principle of Olympism.
Principle 6 currently reads as follows:
Any form of discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race, religion, politics, gender or otherwise is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic Movement.
GLADD was one of several LBGT organizations that lobbied the IOC to specifically ban discrimination based upon sexual orientation in the Olympic host contracts. GLADD, Athlete Ally and AllOut helped publicize the issue prior to the start of the Sochi games, with additional support from Russian LGBT organizations.
More of the specifics of the current recommendations were published in an article by Ross Murray, the Director of News for GLADD, on Nov. 18, 2014. Human Rights Watch has provided pressure to get formal prohibitions against sexual discrimination included in the host city contracts, with specific mention of abuses of human rights in several areas for the Chinese summer games and the Russian winter games.
The anti-discrimination clause in the Olympic host contracts is one more step in protecting the rights of all people whatever their sexual orientation.