There aren’t gay people in Sochi, says Mayor Anatoly Pakhomov

Sochi Mayor - No Gays - Winter Olympics

The mayor of Sochi accepts the thought gays and lesbians will attend the upcoming Winter Olympics — so long as they “don’t impose their habits on others.”

This is a major sticking point for Mayor Anatoly Pakhomov, who told the BBC this week that there are no gay residents in Sochi.

“It’s not accepted here in the Caucasus where we live,” the mayor said of Sochi, which has a population of 340,000. “We do not have them in our city.”

Mayor Pakhomov’s stance on the subject is similar to President Vladimir Putin’s — who said last week that gays are welcome at the Olympics if they “leave children in peace.”

The issue of how gay and lesbian athletes and/or spectators will be welcomed the at 2014 Winter Olympics became a particularly hot topic when President Putin signed a law banning propaganda of “nontraditional sexual relations” last June. Critics say this law is extremely prejudicial, while President Putin maintains it “does not hurt anyone.”

In terms of the existence of gays and lesbians within Sochi, the BBC reporter added there are two known gay bars within the city limits. Joking about that, Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov said, “How do they survive? Why they are not bankrupt?”

The 2014 Winter Olympics begin in Sochi on Feb. 6.

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