“The Beijing Olympics gives the athletic community an opportunity to be an ally in action not just for Asian LGBTQI athletes but also to champion LGBTQI equality across Asia”
BY DIVA STAFF
The Winter Olympics taking place in Beijing kicked off last week (Friday 4 February). Many are pleased to see the amount of diversity. With at least 35 out athletes competing this year, a new record has been set. It should be noted though that the majority are men and there is a lack of POC representation.
Speaker, advocate and athlete Amazin LêThi commented: “Visibility of LGBTQI athletes at the Olympic Games is growing but the representation of Asian LGBTQI Olympic athletes is still very much invisible. The Beijing Olympics gives the athletic community an opportunity to be an ally in action not just for Asian LGBTQI athletes but also to champion LGBTQI equality across Asia.”
In the lead up to the games, there was concern about the claims that athletes could face punishment for political statements during the Olympics. Deputy director general of international relations for the Beijing Organising Committee (BOC), Yang Shu, also said: “Any behavior or speech that is against the Olympic spirit, especially against Chinese laws and regulations, are also subject to certain punishment.” These statements have left many worrying about what could be counted as a “political statement”. Could wearing a rainbow pin or kissing your same-sex partner be deemed as such?
Amnesty International released information on their website about the Olympics regarding the right to freedom of expression in China. The organisation highlights the human rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The Winter Olympics have given China a global platform and the chance to present itself as an alluring sports even host. But the reality is clearly not quite as glamorous for the LGBTQI community who face challenges and discrimination at their workplaces. International companies like Coca-Cola, one of the main sponsors of the Olympic Games, fail to protect their LGBT+ employees in China. Companies like Starbucks, H&M, L’Oréal and TikTok have adopted diversity and inclusion policies that protect their LGBTQI staff – but they fail to do so in China.
That’s why All Out – a global movement fighting for LGBT+ rights – has partnered with Chinese activists, who prefer not to reveal their names for safety reasons, to launch a global campaign and use this as a chance to call out the discrimination LGBTQI workers face in China.
Yuri Guaiana, Senior Campaigns Manager at All Out said: “Chinese LGBT+ people face tremendous discrimination at their workplaces. Even international companies, which claim to support LGBT+ issues globally, fail to protect their LGBT+ employees in China. With this campaign, we are giving companies like Coca-Cola, Starbucks, H&M, L’Oréal, and TikTok, the opportunity to prove they’re truly global allies of the LGBT+ community.”
What can you do?
Sign the petition and ask the CEOs of these five companies to protect their LGBTQI staff in China now.
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