Government petition urging UK to boycott 2014 Winter Olympics due to Russian homophobia passes 8,000

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

A petition urging the UK Government to strongly advise the British Olympic Association to boycott the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi because of Russia’s increasingly homophobic stance has attracted more than 8,000 signatures.

If the petition reaches 10,000 signatures the Foreign and Commonwealth Office will have to issue a formal response.

A protest is due to take place outside the Russian Embassy in London on 10 August.

Over the past week members of the LGBT community in Britain and around the world have urged for a boycott of products from Russia – most notably vodka – in order to highlight the deteriorating legal and security situation of LGBT Russians.

The arrival of draconian homophobic censorship laws has been coupled with an increase in homophobic attacks and killings in the country.

President Vladimir Putin signed a federal law in June banning the promotion of “non-traditional relationships” for those under 18.

Calls in the US for a boycott of the 2014 Winter Olympics began last month – spearheaded by RUSA LGBT, an American group representing LGBT Russians living in the US.

However, other LGBT campaigners such as Russia’s Nikolai Alekseev, along with gay US former Olympic diver Greg Louganis say the boycott is counter-productive.

Last week the International Olympic Committee announced that the Russian Government had said it would ensure the safety of all athletes and spectators during the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, regardless of sexuality.

Earlier this month, speaking exclusively to PinkNews, UK Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg urged Russia to protect the rights of LGBT citizens.

A number of British and American gay bars have said that they will boycott Russian vodka. One of the most popular Russian sourced vodkas, Stoli, has criticised the homophobic policies of the Russian Government.

The link to the petition is here