International Olympic Committee Takes Gradual Steps to Support LGBT Community

After harsh criticism for choosing Russia as a host country for the 2014 Olympics despite its draconian and discriminatory anti-LGBTQ laws, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) adopted policy changes to protect the LGBT community in future games.

The Human Rights Campaign reports: “After harsh criticism from the LGBTQ community during the Sochi Winter Olympics in 2014, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) adopted policy changes to protect the LGBTQ community in future games.”

In 2014, the IOC received criticism for choosing a host country (Russia) with draconian and discriminatory anti-LGBTQ legislation. In response to this criticism, the IOC changed its charter to include sexual orientation in its non-discrimination clause. However, the non-discrimination policy does not include gender identity, and therefore does not protect transgender athletes.

The IOC also adopted a policy that ensures that each host city and its national olympic committee abide by the IOC’s Olympic Charter. This is a welcome change from the Sochi Games, when Russia’s anti-LGBTQ laws put athletes and visitors at risk.

In 2015  the IOC changed its policy toward transgender athletes. Under its new policy, transgender athletes no longer need to undergo gender affirming surgery to compete. Transgender men can now compete with little restriction. However, transgender women must show testosterone levels below a cutoff point.”