The Australian Olympic bobsled team is taking a pledge of equality by announcing their new sponsorship by LGBT rights campaign Principle 6.
The team will display the Principle 6 logo on their bobsleds, visibly announcing the team’s solidarity with human rights.
“Wearing the merchandise will help uphold the Olympic principle of inclusion and underscore that Russia’s anti-LGBT discrimination is incompatible with the Olympic movement. The proceeds from sale of the clothing will go support the Principle 6 campaign and directly to lesbian, gay, bi and trans (LGBT) advocacy groups in Russia fighting discrimination and anti-gay laws,” the Principle 6 Campaign website states.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s anti-gay laws have caused controversy across the world, and with the 2014 Winter Olympics taking place in Sochi, Russia, many countries have spoken out against these harsh laws, and some activists have suggested boycotting the Games.
The Principle 6 Campaign is founded by the non-profit LGBT organizations All Out and Athlete Ally, and was ironically named after the Olympic Charter; their anti-discrimination policy states: “Any form of discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race, religion, politics, gender or otherwise is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic Movement.”
Both the men and women’s Australian bobsled team have stated their solidarity with the equality campaign. “We’re against discrimination in sport, full stop. That means we also oppose discrimination against gay and lesbian athletes,” said the men’s team captain, Heath Spence.
The Australian bobsled team will compete in the two-man, four-man, and Women’s Heat competitions during the Sochi games. More than forty other athletes will also show their support of LGBT rights by donning Principle 6 tee-shirts; speedskater Blake Skjellerup, snowboarder Belle Brockhoff, and alpine skier Mike Janyk, for example, will all wear Principle 6 clothing.
After Russian legislators unanimously voted to pass a bill banning “homosexual propaganda” in June, most of the world has expressed regret that Russia will be hosting the Olympics, an event which—according to its own charter—should be free from discrimination.