“Gay Games” to be held in Moscow following Winter Olympics

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The Russian LGBT Sport Federation will hold a “Gay Games” in Moscow just three days after the closing ceremony for the Sochi Winter Olympics.

While the games will be for amateur athletes, the group encourages international athletes to join in and show their support.

“We are starting on February 26 so that people who want to—sportspeople, officials, journalists—can travel from Sochi to Moscow to support us,” retired investigator and chairman of the Russian LGBT Sport Federation, Viktor Romanov, told AFP on October 28.

“We will be grateful to any official or any famous figure who comes to support us,” he added.

The “Gay Games” will run from February 26 to March 2, 2014. Romanov says the group will not be breaking the country’s anti-gay laws, but the event is a response to Russia’s homophobic climate.

Romanov also said that they will hire sports venues, and produce badges and special passes for all participants. While pride organizers and protestors need to apply for permits to hold events, it is not necessary to do so when holding a sporting event. Still, organizers will inform the sports ministry, Moscow city government, and police of the event.

“The law does not cover us because we are not doing propaganda of homosexuality, but propaganda of sport and a healthy lifestyle,” said Romanov. “We are not breaking the law…we understand very well that with this difficult time that we are in, we can’t stand aside.”

The Russian LGBT Sport Federation is a registered non-commercial organization, and has held numerous sporting events within the past three years.

“We can only rely on those who are brave and aren’t afraid and don’t depend on the government,” said Romanov.

The “Gay Games” originated in San Francisco in 1982.

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