Jessica Stern in "The Atlantic": How Sochi Became the Gay Olympics

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...“The status of LGBT rights globally is schizophrenic,” Jessica Stern, executive director of the New York-based International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, tells me. “You don’t see a single trend anywhere you look.”...

...The laws against homosexuality that have recently made international headlines aren’t necessarily new, Stern says, but they are “getting more attention today because of the level of progress that we’ve seen in other parts of the world.”

“What’s unique about this moment,” she adds, “is the convergence of court decisions and proposed legislation that go above and beyond in their efforts to repress LGBT people and LGBT-rights activism.”...

...Stern and Sabbadini emphasize that legislation is only one means of assessing the state of the global LGBT community. The growth of gay activism, even in countries where the legal climate for homosexuals is repressive, is another. Stern points to the Kampala-based Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights and Constitutional Law’s outspoken opposition to Uganda’s anti-gay bill, while Sabbadini cites how Indian gay-rights activists swiftly mobilized to protest the restoration of the country’s ban on homosexual acts. Sabbadini adds that his organization is trying to determine how to track another measure: levels of anti-gay violence across countries....

...Stern also takes issue with the notion that Sochi is simply a dramatization of today's global gay-rights divide. “I don’t think you can reduce it to a symbol, because the anti-gay laws are so far-reaching and egregious,” she says. “The fear I have is that the day after the Olympics concludes, the global attention will move on from Russia. And the laws are still in place, and people are still unsafe.”

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