@HostCityPride best way to monitor Tim Stevenson’s Pride mission to #Sochi

Mayor Gregor Robertson and Councillor Tim Stevenson announce the Sochi initiative.

Mayor Gregor Robertson and Councillor Tim Stevenson announce the Sochi initiative.

With just nine days to go before his departure to the Sochi Winter Olympic Games, Councillor Tim Stevenson has launched @HostCityPride to ensure supporters can use Twitter to follow his efforts to win changes to the Olympic Charter to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

The mission, endorsed unanimously by Vancouver City Council, is garnering world-wide media attention.

(You can contribute online to Stevenson’s mission to Sochi through a secure City of Vancouver account.)

Stevenson and Maureen Douglas, who is joining him on the trip, have their visas in hand, their flights booked, and they are working the phones to schedule meetings with International Olympic Committee officials and other Olympic participants to achieve the goal of full protection of LGBTQ rights.

“I’m proud to be travelling to Sochi with Maureen Douglas,” says Stevenson. “She served as director of community relations for VANOC, our own Olympic Organizing Committee, and no one who knows Maureen can doubt her commitment to the Olympic Movement and to LGBTQ rights.”

In his talks with Olympic officials and reporters, both here and overseas, Stevenson finds three arguments resonate particularly well when he urges amendments to Section 6 of the Olympic Charter:

  • The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Charter already includes this human rights commitment. An early decision by the IOC to do the same would be a vital statement of solidarity with the LGBTQ community inside and outside the Olympic movement.
  • It’s consistent with an IOC history that includes many critical milestones to expand human rights through the rejection of racism and the inclusion of women; and
  • Future Olympic cities will know they must uphold LGBTQ rights to aspire to host the Olympic Games. (Work is already under way in Rio de Janeiro to ensure the upcoming Summer Olympic Games meet this test.)

Stevenson and Douglas will also push the IOC to make provision of  Pride House, a key legacy of the Vancouver-Whistler Games, into a mandatory part of all future host city agreements. London had a Pride House, Rio de Janeiro is planning one, but Sochi, for obvious reasons, will not have a safe, inclusive place to celebrate Pride.