Mayor to support motion for LGBTQ rights and Pride Houses at Future Olympic and Paralympic Games

December 11, 2013 | News

Today Mayor Gregor Robertson announced his support for a motion put forward by Councillor Tim Stevenson that strives to ensure that Pride Houses and equality for the LGBTQ community is an integral part of future Olympic and Paralympic Games.

“As the prior Olympic Winter Games host city, Vancouver is deeply concerned about the impact that Russia’s new anti-gay propaganda law is having on both the Russian and visitor LGBTQ communities,” said Mayor Robertson. “The Olympic Games should be the showcase for diversity, fairness and inclusion, which we demonstrated in both Vancouver and Whistler in 2010 with Pride Houses that provided safe spaces and resource centres for LGBTQ athletes, coaches, spectators and other visitors.”

The Russian situation inspired a motion from Councillor Tim Stevenson to ensure future Olympic and Paralympic Games are safe and inclusive for all participants — the Host City Pride House motion. Supporters of the initiative already include Canadian Olympic gold medalists Beckie Scott, Ashleigh McIvor, and Jon Montgomery; the former CEO and Executive Director of the Vancouver 2010 Four Host First Nations Secretariat, Tewanee Joseph; and You Can Play, the advocacy group founded by Patrick Burke that works to eradicate homophobia in sport.

“This motion proposes that the International Olympic Committee and the International Paralympic committee require future Olympic cities to facilitate and endorse the creation of a community-led Pride House at future Games,” explained Councillor Stevenson. “With such a gesture, the IOC would be demonstrating its commitment to affirm and expand human rights in a practical and immediate way, given the success of London 2012’s Pride House and efforts already underway to create a Pride House at Rio 2016. We will also ask the IOC to specifically enshrine the rights of LGBTQ athletes into Principle 6 of the Olympic Charter. This community is currently not specifically protected, which has resulted in the situation in Sochi.”

The motion also recommends that Councillor Stevenson, as deputy mayor in February 2014 - the month of the Olympic Games - lead a small delegation consisting of Stevenson, project manager/VANOC alumni Maureen Douglas and Pride House co-founder Dean Nelson to Sochi as official representatives for Vancouver, the host city for the last Olympic Winter Games. They would be on-site for a few days at the start of the Sochi 2014 Games to advocate for this proposal with IOC members.

Councillor Stevenson’s motion has already garnered support from several Canadian Olympians and Paralympians, as well as people involved in past Olympic Games.

“I was thrilled to visit Pride House in Whistler and share Canada’s medal with everyone and anyone who was willing to be a part of what we accomplished together as a country, as friends, and more importantly, as equals,” said Jon Montgomery, Canadian gold medalist at the 2010 Winter Games. “We celebrated, men and women, regardless of sexual orientation, together and proud, in the spirit of sport. I would hope that the IOC does whatever it can to protect the rights of its athletes, stand up for equality amongst all races, genders, and sexual orientations, and be a leader of change.”

“As the Executive Director and CEO of the Four Host First Nations Secretariat that served to ensure inclusion and equality for Aboriginal people in the context of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games, I enthusiastically support this motion being brought forward to Vancouver City Council,” said Tewanee Joseph. “Equality means inclusion, acceptance, safety and respect for everyone. No exceptions. The Olympic and Paralympic Games should serve as one of the best examples of this in the world.”

The objective of the motion is not to challenge Russian policy nor to provoke an incident at Sochi, but to channel the support for LGBTQ rights in a positive direction with the IOC and IPC that helps future protection for all Olympic and Paralympic athletes. This initiative will be entirely funded through private community contributions, not City funds. The City of Vancouver has established a reserve fund for contributions that will be used explicitly for the Pride House Sochi mission.

Project supporter and Vancouver businessman Bob Rennie has kicked off the fundraising efforts with a contribution of $25,000, and local businessman Peter Wall has matched it. Community members wishing to support or contribute to the project can visit the supporter site at www.petitionbuzz.com/petitions/hostcitypridehouse

The Host City Pride House motion will be voted on at the Dec.17, 2013 Vancouver City Council meeting. Supporters include:

  • Tewanee Joseph, former Executive Director and CEO of the Vancouver 2010 Four Host First Nations Secretariat
  • 2010 Olympic gold medalist, Ashleigh McIvor
  • 2010 Olympic gold medalist, Jon Montgomery
  • 2010 Olympian, Britt Janyk
  • 2010 Paralympic and IPC Athletes Commission representative, Tyler Mosher
  • 2002 Olympic Gold medalist and IOC Athletes Commission representative, Beckie Scott
  • 1992 Paralympian and member of the IPC Governing Board, Patrick Jarvis
  • The You Can Play Project
  • Pride House International

In July of this year, Mayor Robertson became one of the first elected political leaders in the world to condemn Russia’s anti-gay legislation and to call for the safe and open participation of the LGBTQ community at Sochi 2014.

 

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Full motion: 

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OLYMPIC AND PARALYMPIC PRIDE HOUSE INITIATIVE

MOVER: Councillor Tim Stevenson
SECONDER: Mayor Gregor Robertson

WHEREAS:

  1. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights proclaims "every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms, and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance,"
  2. The Declaration states that "everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind,"
  3. The Olympic Charter states as fundamental principles of Olympism that:
  • "The practice of sport is a human right. Every individual must have the possibility of practicing sport, without discrimination of any kind and in the Olympic spirit, which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play," and that
  • "Any form of discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds of religion, politics, gender or otherwise is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic Movement."
  • The Constitution of the International Paralympic Committee states that the Vision, Mission and Objectives of the IPC are to:
  • “Promote sports for athletes with disabilities without discrimination for political, religious, economic, disability, racial, gender or sexual orientation reasons”.
  • The community-led creation of Pride Houses at the 2010 Vancouver-Whistler Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games marked a new benchmark in the affirmation of the right of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and queer athletes to participate in the Games on the basis of full equality and inclusion, and
  • The establishment of Pride House at the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games demonstrated that the explicit inclusion of the GLBTQ community as an affirmation of human rights, in keeping with the fundamental principles of Olympism and Paralympism was emerging as an enduring legacy of the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
  • THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED:

    1. That the City of Vancouver, as host city of the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, urge the International Olympic Committee and the International Paralympic Committee to demonstrate their support for full recognition of human rights of all athletes by directing all future host cities to facilitate and endorse the creation of a community-led Pride House as part of their bid,
    2. That the City of Vancouver, as host city of the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, urge the International Olympic Committee to update their Charter to explicitly include a non-discrimination clause in regard to LGBTQ persons and sexual and gender identity, and
    3. That the City of Vancouver petition the IOC and IPC to ensure the protection of all LGBTQ athletes, coaches, officials and spectators and their allies in Sochi during the forthcoming 2014 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games,
    4. That Vancouver City Council endorse the efforts of Councillor Tim Stevenson, who while serving as Deputy Mayor and representing the City of Vancouver during the upcoming Sochi 2014 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, will advocate for this with members of the International Olympic Committee and International Paralympic Committee, in Sochi Russia.