In Russia a law has recently passed banning all gay ‘propaganda’ meaning that is now illegal to be seen to be publicly promoting homosexuality, this could include gay people holding hands in public or through a parent openly supporting their child’s homosexuality. At a time when many countries are rapidly moving towards greater equality for LGBT people, it is astounding to think of the inequalities which now face LGBTs in Russia. Further to this, the horrifying brutality which gay rights activists have received from Russian officials since the passing the law is totally unacceptable and this vast disregard for the most basic human rights for gay people in Russia has sparked global outcry.
It is here that we set the scene for the start of one of the biggest sporting events to have ever existed in human history; the Winter Olympics. Over the next two weeks, the attention of millions across the globe will be turned towards the home of such discrimination and inequality. Many athletes and global identities, including Channel 4 and Google, have taken the opportunity to show their support for those LGBTs in Russia affected by the law and LGBT athletes who have been left feeling victimised and discriminated against.
The attitudes of those in Russia who are in support of the anti-gay law are strongly incompatible with the fundamental values of the Olympics, which encourage tolerance and equality for all. Here at the Union of UEA Students, we share those values. Throughout the games UUEAS sports teams will be paying tribute to all of those in Russia who have been affected by homophobia by displaying the gay pride rainbow on their kit for all training and competitions throughout the duration of the games.
If you are in a club at UEA, or would just like to show your support anyway, rainbow stickers have been made available for anyone to collect from the Hive reception for the duration of the games. In supporting the campaign, you are also up for a chance of winning £50 for your club with the prize going to the team that sends in the best photo of them wearing the stickers. All pictures can be uploaded to Instagram and tag ‘UnionUEA’ for a chance of winning. Alternatively, if you have any ideas of how you would your club to support LGBTs in the Winter Olympics, email firstname.lastname@example.org.