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Pride House Applauds First IOC Mention of Sexual Orientation

Pride House International Applauds First Mention By IOC President of "Sexual Orientation"

Coalition of LGBT sport and human rights groups call on International Olympic Committee to enshrine this principle of inclusion in the Olympic Charter.

Manchester 11 August 2013
Following the recent statement made by International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge, Pride House International, a coalition of sporting and human rights organizations, is restating its recommendation to the IOC that it include sexual orientation and gender identity in its Charter.

"The Olympic charter is clear. A sport is a human right and it should be available to all, regardless of race, sex or sexual orientation," Rogge said at the IOC Executive Committee's August 9 meeting in Moscow.

"We were encouraged by IOC President Jacques Rogge's comments," said David McFarland, director of United for Equality in Sport and Entertainment. "Unfortunately, the Olympic Charter does not say this. Principle 6 of the Charter includes a variety of criteria for which discrimination is prohibited in the Olympic Movement, but sexual orientation and gender identity are not yet among them."

Shawn Sheridan of OutSport Toronto, one of the co-chairing organizations of PrideHouseTO in 2015, pointed out the significance of this: "Dr Rogge's statement, while welcome, highlights an ongoing challenge for the IOC. As long as those at the head of the Olympic Movement fail to clearly reject discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, they will continue to let down athletes. The IOC should be leading the defense of the universal values of fair play and inclusion. And while the IOC President is claiming the Committee will protect gay people in Sochi, he is undermined by the IOC's own Charter which does not yet include them."

Pride House International repeats its proposal for long-term change for inclusion in the Olympic Movement, starting with a needed change to the Charter:

1) Update the Olympic Charter

Fundamental Principle 6 of the Olympic Charter currently states:

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.

The criteria of "sexual orientation and gender identity" should be included alongside race, religion, politics, and gender in the Olympic Charter.

2) Choice of hosts

Countries that discriminate against persons on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, or any other criteria, should not be qualified to bid for or host Olympic Games.

3) Promotion of dialogue

The IOC should require the presence of a community-based Pride House at all Olympic Games to foster the above goals and encourage dialogue and exchange on issues of discrimination and visibility for LGBT athletes and the LGBT sport movement.

The IOC has reported that it received "e-mail assurances" from "the highest level" in Russia that Olympic participants would be excluded from Russia's anti-gay law, but the very next day the Russian Sports Minister said that they would apply the law. More recently, Mr. Rogge said that all that remained was clarification as to the translation of sections of the law relative to prohibited behaviour.

In light of these assurances, Pride House International members repeat their demand that the IOC demonstrate its faith in these assurances by hosting a Pride House in Sochi.

Current signatories to this statement (more to follow at pridehouseinternational.wordpress.com):

Lou Englefield
Pride Sports UK, Pride House London 2012

Stephen Frost
former director of diversity and inclusion, LOCOG

Les Johnson and Marc Naimark Federation of Gay Games

David McFarland
United for Equality in Sports and Entertainment

Dean Nelson
founder of the 2010 Vancouver/Whistler Olympic & Paralympic Pride House

Keph Senett
Football v Homophobia

Shawn Sheridan and Darlene Homonko
OutSport Toronto 

About Pride House International

Pride House International is a coalition of LGBT sport and human rights groups, including participants in past and future Pride Houses, united to promote the cause of equality in and by sport and the creation of Pride Houses at international sporting events.

What is a Pride House?

A Pride House is a venue welcoming LGBT athletes, fans, and others and their allies during international sporting events. Akin to the various national houses at such events, they are welcoming places to view the competitions, to enjoy the event, to learn about LGBT sport and homophobia in sport, and to build relations with mainstream sport. The first Pride House was organized for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in Vancouver/Whistler, with others following in Warsaw (2012 UEFA Euro football cup) and London (2012 Summer Olympics). Pride Houses are planned for the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, the 2015 Pan-American Games in Toronto, and the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio.

ENDS

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