Pride House International coalition of LGBT sport and human rights organizations react to IOC ?that?s so gay? guidelines Group concerned that document demonstrates lack of awareness of LGBT issues in Olympic Movement
Pride House International statement on the International Olympic Committee ‘that’s so gay’ guidelines
Pride House International Press Release . 3 August 2013, As members of the Pride House International coalition (http://pridehouseinternational.wordpress.com), we wish to express our grave concerns upon discovering an official internal document of the International Olympic Committee regarding the use of social media.
The document, entitled ‘MODERATION GUIDELINES FOR SOCIAL MEDIA’, until late on the night of 1 August 2013 Lausanne time, was available as a PDF on the olympic.org website. Like similar documents used by other corporations, such guidelines aim to avoid legal and PR issues for the IOC. In the section on ‘lesbian, gay and bisexual’ persons (no reference is made to trans persons), the document stated:
‘LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL
It is acceptable for a user to refer to his/her sexuality as gay, however we need to be careful with potentially defamatory posts accusing someone else of being gay ? these will be removed. It is acceptable for users to use the word ?gay? in a light-hearted ?street talk? manner, e.g. ?that?s so gay? ? but if used to be discriminatory it will be removed.’
This document was discovered by chance by a member of LEAP Sports, part of the Pride House International coalition. On our own blogs and social media accounts and those of our members, in particular the Federation of Gay Games, we shared this news and a video showing the access path to the document. We noted what we thought was obvious: that the use of the word ‘gay’ as a pejorative term is not acceptable, whether in ‘street talk’ or elsewhere.
Within less than an hour, the document was modified to state:
‘It is acceptable for a user to refer to his/her sexuality as gay, however we need to be careful with potentially defamatory posts accusing someone else of being gay ? these will be removed. It is of course acceptable for users to use the word ?gay? in a general way ? but if used to be discriminatory it will be removed.’
Whilst we applaud the IOC’s conscientiousness in modifying the document immediately, the guidance remains at best unclear. What does it mean to use the word ‘gay’ in a ‘general way’?
As a coalition, many of whose members are working with young people to challenge casual homophobia of the type permitted in the first set of guidelines, we have grave concerns about the seriousness of the IOC on this issue. We do not believe an unannounced change in wording represents a change in culture or leadership in relation to LGBT equality in sport. And in light of this document, we are even more concerned for the safety of LGBT participants and spectators at the Sochi Games.
We reiterate our offer to work with the IOC on matters relating to homophobia in the Olympic movement, and in sport in general. And we repeat our call for concrete action to avoid discrimination and arrests in Sochi.
VIEW THE ORIGINAL DOCUMENT AND VIDEO SCREENCAP HERE:
We must thank Julie Price for discovering the original document and Ms Price and Football v Homophobia for bringing it to our attention.
Current signatories to this statement (more to follow at pridehouseinternational.org or pridehouseinternational.wordpress.com):
Konstantin Yablotstkiy, Russian LGBT Sports Federation
Armelle Maz? and Klaus Heusslein, European Gay and Lesbian Sports Federation
Euan Platt, LEAP Sports Scotland, Pride House Glasgow 2014
Emy Ritt and Marc Naimark, Federation of Gay Games
Lou Englefield, Pride Sports UK, Pride House London 2012
Stephen Frost, former director of diversity and inclusion, LOCOG
Dean Nelson, founder of Pride House 2010
David McFarland, United for Equality in Sports and Entertainment
Keph Senett, Football vHomophobia
About Pride House International
Pride House International is a coalition of LGBT sport and human rights groups, including participants in past and future Pride Houses, united to promote the cause of equality in and by sport and the creation of Pride Houses at international sporting events.
What is a Pride House?
A Pride House is a venue welcoming LGBT athletes, fans, and others and their allies during international sporting events. Akin to the various national houses at such events, they are welcoming places to view the competitions, to enjoy the event, to learn about LGBT sport and homophobia in sport, and to build relations with mainstream sport. The first Pride House was organized for the 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games in Vancouver/Whistler, with others following in Warsaw (2012 UEFA Euro football cup) and London (2012 Summer Olympics). Pride Houses are planned for the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, the 2015 Pan-American Games in Toronto, and the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio.
For information about the Federation of Gay Games, visit www.gaygames.org.
The international Federation of Gay Games is the governing body ?the quadrennial Gay Games and promotes the event’s founding principles of ?Participation, Inclusion and Personal Best??. The Gay Games was conceived by Dr. Tom Waddell, an Olympic decathlete, and was first held in San Francisco in 1982 with 1,350 participants. Subsequent Gay Games were held in San Francisco (1986 – 3,500 participants), Vancouver (1990 – 7,300 participants), New York (1994 – 12,500 participants), Amsterdam (1998 – 13,000 participants), Sydney (2002 – 11,000 participants), Chicago (2006 – 11,700 participants), and Cologne, (2010 ? 10,000 participants).
The 2014 Gay Games presented by the Cleveland Foundation will be held in Cleveland + Akron, OH, USA 9-16 August 2014. Visit www.gg9cle.com for more information.