Legendary GLBT activist Peter Tatchell is urging those organising the 2012 Olympic Games in London to ban countries with anti-gay laws on their books.
With just two weeks to go before the opening ceremony, Tatchell is calling on participating countries with anti-GLBT laws to sign a pledge that supports equal rights or face disqualification from the event.
Tatchell says anti-GLBT laws are in contravention of the Olympic Charter, which states that discrimination of any kind is incompatible with the spirit of the Olympics.
He says, “Many nations discriminate against their sports people on the grounds of gender, race, religion and sexuality, in violation of the Olympic spirit of equality. This discrimination takes the form of a lack of equal access to sporting facilities, competitions and the Olympic selection process.
“It would be impossible for an openly gay athlete to be selected for the Olympic squad of most countries. They would face rejection because of their sexual orientation and, in many cases, imprisonment.”
Tatchell is appealing to Jacque Rogge and Lord Coe, Olympic chiefs, to make a statement that welcomes GLBT athletes to London. Tatchell wants Rogge and Coe to state that participating nations must not discriminate on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity.
Tatchell says, We need a signal from the top that homophobia and transphobia are contrary to the Olympic spirit and charter. The Olympics should be open to everyone, based solely on merit and without discrimination. Sport should have no boundaries or exclusions. There should be a level-playing field for all competitors, regardless of their background.”