On Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2013, All Out staff and members delivered a petition with more than 300,000 signatures to the International Olympic Committee (IOC), whose leaders agreed to receive the petition. The IOC is seeking written confirmation from high-level Russian officials that anti-gay laws will not impact the Games in Sochi.
In addition to delivering the petition, the All Out team provided a letter from British actor Stephen Fry and thousands of signatures from Athlete Ally supporters, including four-time Olympic gold medalist and Athlete Ally Ambassador Greg Louganis and other former Olympians.
This global call urged the IOC to condemn Russia's anti-gay law before the Olympic Games and urge Russia to ensure the security of all visitors, athletes and Russian people before, during, and after the Games.
Andre Banks, Executive Director and co-founder of All Out, said:
The International Olympic Committee is being forced by Russia to tell athletes to shut up, but instead they are speaking out. Ironically, the global outcry is transforming Sochi into an amazing platform for Russians and athletes to defy the law and speak out on gay rights. If the IOC and Russian government do not take urgent action, the chorus of voices against these laws will dominate the conversation at the Sochi Games.
Anastasia Smirnova, from the Russian LGBT Network in St. Petersburg, said:
We hope the International Olympic Committee responds to All Out and Athlete Ally's members and the millions of people worldwide who want Russia to treat all of their citizens with dignity under the law. Unless the Sochi Games set an example of the rights and freedoms being exercised without prejudice, the discriminatory anti-LGBT law will serve to punish people simply for being open about who they are and who they love. We continue our call for world leaders, including the IOC, to speak out now before it is too late.
Olympians and athletes from around the world shared statements of solidarity with All Out and Athlete Ally ahead of the petition delivery, including Greg Louganis, NFL linebacker Brendon Ayabadejo, Championship Tennis player Mardy Fish, Australian Women's Cricket player Alex Blackwell, and Israeli Basketball Super League player Dan Grunfeld.
Hudson Taylor, Executive Director of Athlete Ally, said, "We believe that when people know better, they do better. We see the opportunity for a globally transformative experience to rise out of the ignorance and bigotry in Russia."
Greg Louganis said:
I urge the International Olympic Committee to listen to the more than 300,000 people who have signed Athlete Ally and All Out petitions urging world leaders to speak out against Russia's anti-gay laws. The IOC should urge Russia to repeal their anti-gay laws ahead of the 2014 Olympic Games rather than simply suspending the laws during the games. No one should be satisfied until these dangerous laws are repealed and all Russians are treated with dignity under the law.
Actor Stephen Fry shared an open letter with All Out urging the IOC to speak out now about Russia's anti-gay laws. In it he wrote:
It is simply not enough to say that gay Olympians may or may not be safe in their village. The IOC absolutely must take a firm stance on behalf of the shared humanity it is supposed to represent.