On Dec. 8, the International Olympic Committee unanimously approved a wide-ranging package of 40 recommendations, the Olympic Agenda 2020, that includes a rewording of its anti-discrimination Principle 6 clause to include a reference to “sexual orientation” as a protected category.
The Principle 6 clause of the Olympic Charter will be amended to state that “any form of discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race, religion, politics, gender, sexual orientation, or otherwise is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic Movement.”
Hosting the games “requires compliance with the Olympic Charter and recognition by the IOC,” which seeks to ban future host countries from enacting laws such as 2014 Winter Olympics host Russia which has a law restricting homosexual propaganda and proselytizing.
The Russian law prohibits promoting homosexuality to children, but gay rights activists claimed the law banned homosexuals from being public about their sexuality. Prior to the games in Sochi, Vladimir Putin assured Olympic authorities that homosexual athletes and spectators would not be jailed.
LifeSiteNews reported, “at a press conference following the approval of the Olympic Agenda 2020, IOC President Thomas Bach touched on the contentious homosexuality issue without actually naming it.” Bach said, “some of the recommendations were not easy for certain members to swallow,” going so far as to say, “some may have hoped for no recommendation or a different recommendation on a specific issue.”
Anja Paerson, an openly lesbian skier from Sweden, told CNN that the IOC is still not doing enough on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender issues, and complained that the IOC is toothless to do anything about future hosts’ policies against homosexuals.
Bach said that the amendment to the Charter is “a very important first step” on LGBT issues, but did not indicate what else the IOC would do in the future.
Meanwhile, the Canadian Olympic Committee announced it would partner with gay rights groups such as EGALE (Equality for Gays and Lesbians Everywhere) and You Can Play (which promotes “out” students to play varsity sports), to promote LGBT rights. The three groups will train straight and homosexual Olympians to talk with youth about LGBT issues, with the goal of reaching one million students in 25 different school boards by 2016.
The Canadian Olympic Committee will also train its entire staff on LGBT issues and amend COC policies to have LGBT-inclusive language.
OutSports.com called COC’s initiatives the “deepest, most comprehensive project of its kind developed by a national Olympic Committee.”