Aussie diving champ Matthew Mitcham;
one of the few openly-gay sportspeople
competing in the 2012 Olympics

Leading British LGBT rights campaigner Peter Tatchell has called for countries with anti-gay laws to be banned from the 2012 London Olympic Games.

“The Olympic Charter prohibits all discrimination, and this includes homophobic discrimination. Any country that discriminates against women, ethnic or religious minorities, or lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) athletes should be disqualified from the 2012 Olympics,” said Tatchell.

He pointed out that the Olympic Charter 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.”

Tatchell asked, in a media statement: “Why isn’t homophobia, biphobia and transphobia being challenged by the Olympic authorities?

“Nearly 80 countries still criminalise homosexuality. Several have the death penalty. Over 150 nations have legal systems that, in the absence of laws against homophobic discrimination, permit victimisation and bias against LGBT citizens and athletes,” he noted.

Tatchell suggested that the International Olympic Committee and London Olympic organisers require all competing nations to sign a pledge that they do not discriminate on the grounds of gender, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation.

If they refuse to sign, they should be denied participation in the games.

“I appeal to Olympic chiefs, Jacques Rogge and Lord Coe, to make a public statement that LGBT athletes are welcome at London 2012 and that participating nations must not discriminate on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity. We need a signal from the top that homophobia and transphobia are contrary to the Olympic spirit and Charter,” said Tatchell.

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