British Columbia

Tim Stevenson applauds International Olympic Comittee LGBTQ vote

A Vancouver city councillor is thrilled the International Olympic Committee is set to vote on a proposal that would protect sexual orientation and gender within its charter.

Vancouver city councillor travelled to Sochi to advocate for IOC to protect LGBTQ rights in charter

A crowd of people sing the Russian National Anthem at the Stockholm Olympic Stadium on October 6, 2013 while raising rainbow flags in solidarity with the Russian LGBT community. (Erik Martensson/AFP/Getty)

A Vancouver city councillor said he is thrilled the International Olympic Committee is set to vote on a proposal that would protect sexual orientation and gender within its charter.

The IOC's charter already protects against discrimination against race, religion, politics or gender. The addition of sexual orientation is one of 40 recommended changes announced last month.

"It's fantastic. I'm actually pinching myself," councillor Tim Stevenson told The Early Edition's Rick Cluff.

Vancouver Counc. Tim Stevenson says the IOC was very receptive during his visit to Sochi, but the mayor refused to meet with him and other delegates from Vancouver advocating for gay rights and pride houses at Olympic events. (CBC)

Stevenson travelled to Sochi, Russia earlier this year for the 2014 Winter Olympics to meet with the IOC, and to advocate for changes to its charter. Stevenson sought to protect the rights of LGBTQ athletes amid controversy over Russian laws against "gay propaganda."

Stevenson said at a meeting with IOC officials, he requested host cities be required to to sign a non-discriminatory clause, and ensure the presence of Pride Houses during the Olympic games.

Those two recommendations are part of the proposed changes in front of the IOC executive.

"They were in agreement with everything and said that they were going to bring about these changes, and they've followed through with their promises," he said.

Stevenson met with the committee for about an hour and a half.

"I remember when I came out there were a lot of people who were doubters and thought maybe they were just trying to get me out the back door quickly or something, but I was absolutely convinced that they were sincere."

Stevenson believes that if passed, the regulations would mean countries that don't protect LGBTQ rights, like Russia, will be excluded from hosting Olympic games. He said he hopes the rules give those countries a push towards adopting more inclusive laws.

"As our country changed slowly — we've been 35 years in this social revolution that's gone on — other countries are in various places along the scale," he said.

"I think that some are realizing that they need to change."

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