LGBT rights organization GLAAD released a guide on January 29 aimed at helping reporters tell the true stories of LGBT Russians suffering under the new anti-gay legislation in the country and at the Sochi games.
GLAAD issued the resource guide just days before the start of the 2014 Winter Olympics, hoping to encourage reporters to focus on the cultural impact of the law, and the subsequent increase of homophobic violence.
The Sochi Olympics Playbook includes a guide to telling the stories of LGBT athletes and spectators, including background information on the anti-gay propaganda law.
The guide also explains the ambiguity of the propaganda law due to its vague definitions, meaning the law could be used to persecute anything from people holding hands around minors or speaking favorably of the LGBT community in public.
It outlines the best form of media coverage, including avoiding only speaking with Russian officials or focusing on the gay bars in and around Sochi, rather than other organizations and clubs that have faced persecution.
GLAAD also discouraged the comparison of LGBT people to pedophiles, which President Vladimir Putin has been widely criticized for doing.
According to the Advocate, GLAAD president and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said, “It is critical that the media shine light not only on the anti-LGBT Russian policies, but on the real stories of the horrific persecution facing LGBT people and families in Russia.”
The guide is GLAAD’s first publication in their new Global Voices program, which intends to improve global LGBT equality through transcultural sharing.