Believe it or not here we are in 2013 and we’re still talking about discrimination against homosexuals. The good news is that the discrimination that I’m referring to is not occurring in North America. The bad news is that this anti-gay discrimination is still occurring at all, anywhere. I know meeting and event planners that are either planning an event or have held an event in Russia. I’m wondering whether Russia’s anti-gay law will have an impact on the meeting and events industry in that country.
Whether or Not the Olympic Participants Are Exempt Depends on Who You Listen to
Recently Russia has implemented a new anti-LGBT law which basically makes it an offense to support and or promote homosexuality. And coincidentally the 2014 Winter Olympics just happen to be occurring in Sochi Russia. This new law has hit the radar of a lot of country’s LGBT communities wondering what will happen to any homosexual athletes, family and visitors attending the Olympics in Russia. Well the IOC (International Olympic Committee) issued a statement saying that, ” The IOC has received assurances from the highest level of government in Russia that the legislation will not affect those attending or taking part in the Games”. This was promptly followed up by a high-level politician who said that he has no reason to suspect that any guests and athletes will be granted exemptions under the rule.
Just who you wish to believe may be dependent on whether or not you’re up for challenging that law on Russian soil.
A Lot of Corporations Are Already Busy Planning an Event around the 2014 Winter Olympics
With any Olympic event comes huge opportunities for event and meeting planners. Many corporate clients like to host events centered around the Olympics. It’s a great way to thank the loyalist of customers as well as showcase the company’s latest and greatest products. It’ll be interesting to see how event planning turns out with the Russian Winter Olympics. Will meeting planners simply send a message out telling attendees about the anti-gay law? Or will most take a stand and advise against planning a meeting or event in Russia, period?
How this all unfolds for the event planning industry has yet to be seen. Perhaps the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi will be a testing ground for meeting planners.
Whatever the outcome for the meetings and events industry, the one statement that I keep hearing is that it’s time for Russia to get its act together and stop discriminating against the LGBT community.