Russian gay activists are steeling for a fight to overturn the ban on a gay ‘Pride House’ during the 2014 winter Olympic Games in the Russian city of Sochi.
On Monday, the founders of the ‘Pride House in Sochi’ NGO filed a formal complaint against Russia in the European Court of Human Rights over the authorities’ refusal to register the organisation.
The Russian Ministry of Justice has refused to allow activists to register the NGO, which aims to combat homophobia in sport and promote tolerance for the LGBT community during the Winter Olympics.
In March, a court backed the ban. The judge ruled that the NGO contradicted public morality and could undermine the security of the state. An appeals court refused to reconsider the ruling.
One of the founders of Pride House in Sochi, and a founder of Moscow Pride, Nikolai Alekseev, said that the authorities had left the activists no option but to take the matter to the European Court.
“Now it’s referred to the European Court for it to decide how legitimate the Russian authorities’ problems with the organisation are. I am confident of a victory in this case, but we hope that the verdict will be issued in time for the Olympic Games in Sochi in February 2014,” said Alekseev.
Speaking to Gay Star News, Alekseev revealed that he is also considering outing closeted gay politicians in Russia if a solution is not found.
“We know very well the gay politicians and who are members of the Russian Olympics committee. They are gay but at the same time are not doing anything to support gay rights or helping in any way to organise,” he said.
Alekseev added: “It’s important we continue the tradition of Pride House which was started in Vancouver last time and London this summer, which I am sure will continue in Rio at the next summer Olympics.”
The recent London Pride House received the backing of that city’s Olympic officials. It was a space for LGBT visitors, athletes and coaches to relax, watch events and meet friends.