Good news from The London Olympics. There will be a Pride House and a Pride Festival celebrating LGBT athletes and fans at the 2012 summer Olympics after all. Today, Pride Sports UK , the European Gay and Lesbian Sports Federation the Federation of Gay Games, GLISA.org and LGBT London, have joined the Pride House Foundation in announcing a London Olympics Pride House will be open from August 3-7 in the Limestone Basin as a center for celebrating LGBT athletes and fans. The European Gay and Lesbian Sports Federation also plans to present an exhibit called Against the Rules which honors 37 gay and lesbian athletes of note. The Pride festival will continue at various venues until the closing ceremonies August 12th.
In April, plans to have a “Pride House” at the London Olympics were scrapped because of a lack of sponsorship. It was a disappointing development after the success of the Pride House at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, which emerged as a popular hospitality center for LGBT athletes and fans. Olympic speed skater Blake Skjellerup, even credited the supportive spirit he encountered Vancouver Pride House for influencing his decision to come out.
The lack of a Pride House in London was especially demoralizing after a Russian Court rejected efforts of organizers to register a Pride House for the 2012 Moscow Olympics. The court ruled a Pride House welcoming LGBT athletes “could result in the destruction of society’s notions of good and evil.” The court further said establishing a Pride House “advocates a non-traditional sexual orientation that could spark social strife and lead to a decrease in the country’s already low birth rate, thereby undermining the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Russian Federation.”
With that regressive ruling from the Russian Court attacking LGBT acceptance, the cancellation of a London Pride House felt like the movement for LGBT inclusiveness in sport was taking a giant step backward. Today’s announcement has sent spirits soaring among organizers in the UK and LGBT athletes and fans throughout the world.
The Olympics opening ceremonies are July 27th.
Jean Ann Esselink is a straight friend to the gay community. Proud and loud Liberal. Closet writer of political fiction. Black sheep agnostic Democrat from a conservative Catholic family. Living in Northern Oakland County Michigan with Puck the Wonder Beagle. Find me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter at @uncucumbered.
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