Pride House, for Gay Athletes, Comes to London Olympics
LGBT athletes and spectators will have a place to hang out during the London Olympics as officials have announced the launch of a Pride House, Out Sports reported.
The initial Pride House for the 2012 Olympics was intended to be held at Clapham Common (a park located in South London), but it never materialized due to a lack of funding and sponsors.
The new Pride House will be located in CA House on Limehouse Basin and will run from August 3 to 7. Other events at Pride House will take place through August 12, which is the last day of the Olympic games.
"Pride House 2012 will celebrate sport for all while bringing together members and friends of the worldwide LGBT community to view live screenings of London 2012 and discuss relevant topics related to LGBT sport," officials from Pride House wrote in a release. "The varied programme will also include live music from local LGBT organisations, exhibits, and video presentations, as well as an associated sports programme, including a Football v Homophobia football tournament."
The European Gay and Lesbian Sports Federation, the Federation of Gay Games, GLISA International, the LGBT Consortium and the Pride House Foundation will sponsor Pride House.
Lou Englefield, Pride Sports UK Executive Director, said Pride House would "provide a welcoming space for all, from Olympic athletes to recreational sports enthusiasts and spectators" and "to welcome everyone to learn more about the vibrant LGBT sport movement while celebrating the London games."
The Olympic Pride House was first launched at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics. It was a great success for LGBT athletes, who had previously stayed in the closet.
"My visit to Pride House during the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics was a major influence on my public coming out, and the support I received after doing so was overwhelming," Olympic speed skater and Gay Games Ambassador Blake Skjellerup said. "Yet there is still a lack of LGBT-based role models in sport. I believe it is important for everyone, and especially young people, to see that no matter who you are or where you come from, you can still succeed and reach your highest levels. The legacy from the London Pride House 2012 for future Olympic Games will make a difference!"
In March it was reported that a Russian judge banned a Pride House event for the 2014 Winter Olympic games that will be held in Sochi, Russia.
"The aims of the organization contradict the basics of public morality and the policy of the state in the area of family motherhood and childhood protection," said Judge Svetlana Mordovina in her ruling. "The activities of the [Pride House] movement leads to propaganda of non-traditional sexual orientation which can undermine the security of the Russian society and the state, provoke social-religious hatred, which is the feature of the extremist character of the activity. Moreover it can undermine the sovereignty and the territorial integrity of the Russian Federation due to the decrease of Russia's population," she continued.
Russian activists criticized the ruling and planned to fight for a Pride House.
"We still aim to host a series of actions during the Olympics, and we are in contact with the International Olympic Committee. Hopefully, a solution can be reached," he said.