A team of Russian athletes competing at the World Outgames in Antwerp, Belgium have released a NOH8 photo in an attempt to bring attention to Russia’s recently passed anti-gay legislation. The legislation, championed by Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, bans the distribution of "propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations."
The legislation imposes hefty fines for providing information about the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community to minors or holding gay pride rallies. Those breaking the law will be fined up to 5,000 rubles ($156) for an individual and up to 1 million rubles ($31,000) for a company, including media organizations.
Since the announcement of the new law there has been considerable debate on whether the 2014 Winter Olympic Games should still take place in Sochi, and if so, what could potentially happen to visiting LGBT athletes taking part in the games.
Putin has said that Russia will comply with the Olympic Charter's provision against discrimination of any kind, but has also stated that the new anti-gay law would be enforced the games.
According to their Facebook page, the World Outgames “bring(s) together lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) athletes from around the world in unprecedented numbers for a celebration of sport, culture and human rights. In the spirit of true inclusiveness, the World OutGames are open to all, regardless of sexual orientation.”
The author is solely responsible for the content.