Sochi’s mayor, Anatoly Pakhomov, claimed in a recent interview that there are no gays in his city. He did, however, say that they were welcomed at the 2014 Olympic games as long as they “respect Russian law” and “don’t impose their habits on others,” according to BBC News.
There has been a lot of controversy over Russia’s “homosexual propaganda” law that was passed in 2013. According to a earlier report by The Inquisitr, the propaganda law banned the promotion of “homosexual propaganda” to minors, making it a crime to:
“spread information aimed at forming non-traditional sexual behavior among children, suggesting this behaviour is attractive, and making a false statement about the socially equal nature of traditional and non-traditional relationships.”
Many believed that because of the anti-gay laws that are in place throughout Russia, gays would not be allowed to take part in the 2014 Olympic activities, whether they were athletes or just those who wished to be apart of the festivities. Mayor Pakhomov says that just isn’t true. He told BBC‘s Panorama reporter, John Sweeney that “gay people would be welcome at the Games” as long as they respect the local laws.
Pakhomov said that “(Homosexuality) isn’t accepted here in the Caucasus where we live. We do not have them in our city.” But does that mean that there are no gays in his community? When asked, according to ABC News, the mayor stated, “I am not sure, but I don’t know them.”
Pakhomov was asked if the members of his community were forced to hide their sexuality in Sochi, and his reply was, “No, we just say that it is your business, it’s your life.” This of course seems to contradict his earlier statements that say there are no gay’s in the city. If they don’t have to hide their sexuality, then how can Pakhomov claim there are none in his city?
The Huffington Post went on to say that there are at least two gay clubs in the city of Sochi, along with multiple lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) communities in the area. In fact, during his interview with Pakhomov, Sweeney visited one of the gay bars in Sochi. Understandably, many didn’t want to be interviewed by the reporter.
Drag queen Madame Zhu-Zha did speak with Sweeney and said there was a gay community in the city and in other areas of Russia. “There are very many clubs for gay people in Moscow – in Sochi we have two gay clubs as well. In some places there’s serious prejudice against gay people. In other places it’s not as bad.”
[Image via BBC News]