The Federation of Gay Games is pleased to have been part of what we hope will be the first of many discussions between the International Olympic Committee and LGBT sports groups. The meeting was the result of a commitment made by newly elected IOC president Thomas Bach, who was unable to meet with Russian LGBT groups during his first official visit to Sochi in October, but who promised that a meeting would take place at a later date in Lausanne or elsewhere.
In the end, the meeting took place this afternoon in Paris, where Bach, his incoming chief of staff Jochen Faerber, and IOC director for communications Mark Adams are attending the centennial meeting of the Fédération internationale d’escrime, the world fencing federation. Bach is an Olympic medalist in fencing, and Faerber is a former consultant and commentator on fencing for Eurosport, and currently serves as the director of the German national fencing training center.
The IOC made travel arrangements for three representatives from Russia: Elvina Yuvakaeva and Konstantin Yablotskiy are the cochairs of FGG member organization the Russian LGBT Sports Federation, and Anastasia Smirnova, coordinator of the Russian LGBT coalition for Sochi.
The Federation of Gay Games was represented by copresident emeritus and vice president for diversity Emy Ritt and vice president for external affairs Marc Naimark.
The one-hour meeting focused on Sochi and measures LGBT sports organizations would like to see to promote LGBT inclusion and security for LGBT people and allies during the coming Winter Olympics, as well as the challenges of organizing the first Russian Open Games in Moscow in the period between the Olympic and Paralympic Games. The Russian LGBT representatives presented a request for clarification on enforcement of the anti-gay laws in Russia, while the FGG presented a review of past and planned actions by itself and partners aimed at the Olympic Movement, including a presentation of the history and plans for Pride Houses at the Olympics.
All parties expressed the hope that this would be the first of many face-to-face discussions to promote our common goals of sport for all and sport free from discrimination.