Athletes, coaches, fans and journalists will still be subject to law criminalizing support for LGBT equality
WASHINGTON – The day after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced it had received assurances from “the highest level of government in Russia” that foreigners visiting the country for the 2014 Olympics would be exempt from a newly-passed law prohibiting “homosexual propaganda,” the co-sponsor of the bill told reporters the law will remain enforced during the Sochi Games.
“I have not heard any comments from the government of the Russian Federation but I know it is acting in accordance with Russian law,” said Vitaly Milonov, a Member of the Legislative Assembly of St. Petersburg, according to Gay Star News. “If a law has been approved by the federal legislature and signed by the president, then the government has no right to suspend it. It doesn’t have the authority.”
“The co-sponsor of this hateful law said it clearly enough—until there is formal action to repeal the law, it applies to everyone within Russian borders,” said Human Rights Campaign vice president for communications Fred Sainz. “It ought to be clear to the IOC that verbal assurance from nameless Russian officials will do nothing to protect LGBT Olympians, visitors, and personnel during the Sochi games.”
Earlier this week, HRC President Chad Griffin called on the IOC to do more regarding the situation in Russia: “Mere verbal assurances from the Russian government that foreigners will be exempt from their repressive laws are not enough. The IOC must obtain ironclad written assurance from President Putin. But more importantly, they should be advocating for the safety of all LGBT people in Russia, not simply those visiting for the Olympics. Rescinding this heinous law must be our collective goal.”
In June, a law banning "propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations" was passed by Russia’s Federal Assembly and signed into law by President Vladimir Putin. Under the guise of protecting children from "homosexual propaganda," the law imposes fines or jail time on citizens who disseminate information that may cause a "distorted understanding" that LGBT and heterosexual relationships are "socially equivalent." The fines are significantly higher if such information is distributed through the media or Internet.
Foreigners, such as those visiting Russia for the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games, will not only be fined but also face arrest and up to 15 days in jail, followed by eventual deportation, according to the new law.
The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.
Freelance writer Michael Luongo has been named Journalist of the Year by the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association.
The NLGJA 2013 Journalist of the Year is Michael Luongo, a freelance journalist, editor and photographer and New York University adjunct professor who teaches travel writing. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Bloomberg News, CNN, National Geographic Traveler, Gay City News, The Advocate, Condé Nast Traveler, Travel+Leisure, Details, Man About World and other publications, with most of his travel writing and international correspondence work concentrating on the Middle East and Latin America.
One Excellence in Journalism Awards judge commented that Michael Luongo "gains amazing access to the Palestinian, Israeli, and Egyptian worlds. His ability to weave a narrative draws the reader into his stories, be they about pinkwashing in Israel, the difficulties of being gay in Palestine, or what became of the out, gay activists in Egypt's manifestation of the Arab Spring. He also shows versatility, reporting on both the gay world for the mainstream media and on the lesser known aspects of straight Arab society in Egypt and the just plain fascinating continued existence of Samaritans in Israel."
Another judge noted: "Luongo produces well-researched and sourced work that simply isn't done by many - even any - other news organizations. His travels potentially put him - and even his subjects - at risk as he pulls together his stories. His work focuses on many under-reported topics and underserved segments, especially of LGBT life."
2013 NLGJA AWARD WINNERS
Special recognition awards:
Journalist of the Year Award
- First: Michael Luongo, Freelance
- Second: Chris Geidner, BuzzFeed
Sarah Pettit Memorial Award for the LGBT Journalist of the Year
- First: Lila Shapiro, The Huffington Post
- Second: Kate Sosin, Windy City Times
Excellence in HIV/AIDS Coverage Award
- First: Oriol Gutierrez for "Healing the Hurt," POZ Magazine
- Second: Diane Anderson-Minshall for a series in HIV Plus Magazine
Excellence in News Writing Award
- First: Kate Sosin for "Generation Halsted, A Special Windy City Times LGBTQ Youth Investigation," with Erica Demarest, Bill Healy and Tracy Baim
- Second: Chris Johnson for a series on historic LGBT election wins, Washington Blade
- Third: Timothy Cwiek for his coverage of the Nizah Morris case, Philadelphia Gay News
Excellence in Feature Writing Award
- First: Mark Johnson for "Uniquely Human: The Science of Gender," Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
- Second: Joan Garrett McClane for "A tempest in my soul: A son's secret brings a Baptist minister to his knees," Chattanooga Times Free Press
- Third: Kathleen Wilkinson for "Close to Her Heart: Glenn Close's Passion Project," Curve Magazine
Excellence in Opinion/Editorial Writing Award
- First: Kate Riley for a series of same-sex marriage editorials with Lance Dickie, Thanh Tan and Sharon Pian Chan, The Seattle Times
- Second: Sean Bugg for an opinion writing series, Metro Weekly
- Third: Kerry Eleveld for "Why Barack Obama Will Be A Better Progressive In His Second Term," The Atlantic
Excellence in Online Journalism Award
- First: Blake Ellis for a series on same-sex couples financial challenges, CNNMoney
- Second: Alissa Bohling For "Transgender, Gender Nonconforming People Among First, Most Affected by War on Terror's Biometrics Craze," Truthout
- Third: Michael Luongo for "Gay Palestinians caught in the middle of conflict," Global Post
Excellence in Multimedia Award
- First: Olivia Ford for the video series "A Day in the Life," with Mark S. King, Becky Allen and Kellee Terrell, TheBody.com
Excellence in Photojournalism Award
- First: Preston Gannaway for "Teddy Ebony as a Young Man," The Virginian-Pilot
- Second: Scott A. Drake for "Gay Blades," Philadelphia Gay News
Excellence in Student Journalism Award
- First: Sarah Fournier for "Transition leads to Joy," Pavement Pieces
- Second: Alissa Brouillet for "The LGBT Mind," with Adam Ilenich, Kellie Rowe, Marcela Salvador and Justin Wan, Media Garden
Excellence in Network Television Award
- First: David Corvo for "Golden Star," with Kate Snow, Charmian Ling, Meghan Frank and Beverly Chase, NBCUniversal
- Second: Tommy Nguyen for "Josie's Story," with Hoda Kotb, Allison Orr Nicholas Capote and Liz Cole, NBCUniversal
Excellence in Local Television Award
- First: Joe Fryer for "Same-Sex Marriage in Washington," with Jeff Christian, KING-TV
Excellence in Radio Award
- First: Julia Scott for "Bon Voyage," KALW 91.7 FM
- Second: Bob Mondello for "Hollywood's History of Putting Gay Rights on Trial," with Sara Sarasohn and Sami Yenigun, NPR All Things Considered
Awards will be presented August 24 during the NLGJA Awards Reception at Boston: Uncommon, the 2013 NLGJA National Convention and 9th Annual LGBT Media Summit. For more information on the convention in Boston, visit www.nlgja.org/2013/
A previous version of this post incorrectly identified the author of a article on the Washington Blade website, "Fla. congresswoman meets with Cuban LGBT rights activists." That article was written by Michael K. Lavers.
Miami-based website Do You Remember has published a short profile of longtime South Beach mixologist Crispy Soloperto.
Do You Remember is a social networking site "where modern people indulge their nostalgic passions," according to the website.
Pictured from left: Lydia Martin, Soloperto, Elizabeth Schwartz, Mary D and Do You Remember's Eric Newill at The Raleigh Hotel's Martini Bar. (Via Facebook.)
MEXICO CITY -- Lawmakers in Mexico's western state of Colima have approved a change in the state's constitution that legalizes same-sex civil unions.
Colima state spokeswoman Cecilia Ramirez says the legislature approved the constitutional change late Monday after seven of the state's 10 municipalities approved the reform.
Ramirez says the law provides gay couples with numerous social benefits similar to those of married couples.
She says a survey found Colima residents opposed instituting same-sex marriage but did support giving gay couples some legal rights.
Currently, Mexican same-sex marriages are allowed in Mexico City, the southern state of Oaxaca and the state of Quintana Roo, home to the resort city of Cancun. The northern state of Coahuila began allowing same-sex civil unions in 2007.