One Equal World

Mayor Anatoly Pakhomov Denies the Existence of Gays and Lesbians in Sochi

Posted on: January 30, 2014

Sochi Russia Olympics LGBT

Sochi Mayor Anatoly Pakhomov claimed of LGBTs: “We do not have them in our city.”
Image: Maks Karochkin / Flickr CC

By now you’ve probably seen the headlines concerning the mayor of Sochi, Russia. They might read something like, “Mayor of Sochi Denies Homosexuality Exists in his City,” or “Clueless Mayor is Blind to Gays and Lesbians in Sochi.” Basically, Anatoly Pakhomov recently claimed in an interview with BBC that gay folks don’t have to hide their sexuality in Sochi, because there are no gay folks in Sochi.

He explained, “No, we just say that it is your business, it’s your life. But it’s not accepted here in the Caucasus where we live. We do not have them in our city,” of his initial belief that Sochi was somehow devoid of homosexuality. Of course Sochi, and Russia in general, is absolutely not lacking in its LGBT population, something that has been made all the more apparent in the riots and backlash against brutal anti-gay Russian legislature. Russia’s gay and lesbian population is doing all it can to attain visibility amid the hateful, discriminatory, and dangerous laws that are in place there. Pakhomov denying the existence of gays and lesbians in Sochi is indicative of the uphill battle LGBTs are facing in terms of gaining rights, safety, or even just recognition of their presence.

As the world prepares for the Olympic games, controversially being hosted by Sochi, that part of Russia in particular is facing immense scrutiny. Countless activists, public figures, and celebrities have voiced their concern and anger with the Olympics being held in such a hateful place, and there is a great amount of tension descending upon Sochi as the world anticipates impending conflict. The fact is, LGBT identities exist in all parts of the world, and Russia’s very public denial of basic human rights hurts not only its citizens, but people everywhere who are trying to achieve universal equality.

This is the first of what may inevitably become a long string of homophobic Olympics news stemming from Sochi. Pakhomov is a shining example of the ignorant at best, hateful and dangerous at worst culture of homophobia that exists in Russia. Here’s to hoping that Olympic competitors and tourists remain safe during the upcoming events in Sochi.

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1 Response to "Mayor Anatoly Pakhomov Denies the Existence of Gays and Lesbians in Sochi"

Reblogged this on The Scout of Justice.

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