Winter Olympics

Dear Friend,

Tomorrow, the XXII Olympic Winter Games begin in Sochi, Russia.  While I wish the athletes good luck in the competition, the host country’s record on the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons (LGBT) is deeply troubling.

As you may know, in June 2013, Russia enacted a law to prohibit publicizing “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relationships” to minors.  This recent, outrageous law is just one high-profile example of the hostility in Russia toward the LGBT community, which has included hate violence, harassment, and discrimination.

As a former hate crimes prosecutor, I have fought back against this Russian bigotry, sending letters to Tom Bach, President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), urging the IOC to support and protect LGBT athletes and their supporters, and to the United States Olympic Committee, asking that Americans associated with the Olympic Winter Games be able to show solidarity with LGBT persons.

We must not stop at Russia, though.  Members of the LGBT community deserve equality around the world and here at home.  I have taken numerous actions to promote LGBT rights in the U.S. as well, including fighting for marriage equality and sponsoring bills to protect people from job discrimination or discrimination in educational services based on sexual orientation or gender identity.  I will not rest until everyone is treated fairly, and no one discriminated against because of who they love.


Eric Swalwell
Member of Congress