Thomas Bach, the president of the International Olympic Committee, this week called on the organization to add sexual orientation to the section of the Olympic Charter that outlines the organization’s non-discrimination policy. The current non-discrimination policy, Principle 6 of the Olympic Charter, states that “Any form of discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race, religion, politics, gender or otherwise is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic Movement,” and calls to add sexual orientation intensified around the Sochi Olympics in 2014 after host Russia passed new anti-LGBT laws in the run-up to the Games.
Bach’s call to add sexual orientation comes as part of Olympic Agenda 2020, aset of 39 proposals for the IOC to consider at upcoming meetings in Monaco. Recommendation 14 states plainly: “The IOC to include non-discrimination on sexual orientation in the 6th Fundamental Principle of Olympism.”
The Associated Press reported that the new clause would read: “The enjoyment of the rights and freedoms set forth in the Olympic Charter shall be secured without discrimination of any kind, such as race, color, sex, sexual orientation, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.”
The controversy in Sochi stretched across the international community, with political leaders, athletes, Olympic sponsors, and advocacy organizations calling on the IOC to do more to protect LGBT fans and athletes and promote equality in its host nations. Bach was critical of world leaders, who he saw as politicizing the Olympics.
But the recommendation to add sexual orientation to Principle 6 could be a major post-Sochi step forward on LGBT equality, especially as the IOCannounced in September that it was adding the non-discrimination clause to its bidding process, forcing potential host cities to pledge to adhere to the policy. Of course, given its actions in Sochi, there are plenty of reasons to be skeptical about whether the IOC will actually force host nations to comply with the Principle.
“No athlete or fan should face fear of discrimination because of who they love. The International Olympic Committee must seize this opportunity to protect Olympic attendees and affirm its commitment to equality across the globe,” GLAAD president and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said.
Other political leaders who pushed the IOC to act during Sochi praised the decision.
The IOC will vote on the proposal during its meeting in Monaco on December 8 and 9
Being Transgender or Gay is not a choice, being Transphobic or Homophobic is, so don't be a Twonk