By Paul Osborne

Pride House International is looking to national houses to help support their movement during the 2014 Sochi Winter GamesOctober 29 - Pride House International has announced efforts to partner with national houses at Sochi 2014 in a bid to overcome the legal obstacles in place in Russian which prevent their creation in Russia. 

Dean Nelson, founder of the Pride House Movement, explained the principle behind these Pride Houses.

"We imagined a Pride House that would dare to make public the awareness of homophobia and transphobia in sport," he said.

"It would be a safe venue for athletes, support staff and spectators to participate at the Olympics with authentic connections that celebrated our diversity through sports and friendships.

"The pavilion celebrated LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) arts, culture and sports while acknowledging the discrimination and hostile environments gays and lesbians face today.

"After the success at the [Vancouver] 2010 Winter Olympics, we saw Pride Houses activated at the [2012] UEFA Euro Football Championship [in Poland and Ukraine] and the London Olympics in 2012, and plans are underway for Pride Houses at the 2014 FIFA World Cup [in Brazil], the 2014 Commonwealth Games [in Glasgow], the 2015 Pan Am Games [in Toronto], and the 2016 Summer Olympics [in Rio de Janeiro]."

Due to anti-gay laws enforced within Russia, Pride House International has been unable to create a Pride House for Sochi and is now looking to national houses to help support the Movement and offer a schedule of events for the Olympics and Paralympics.

"Various National Olympic Committees traditionally create a venue to promote their national teams and offer hospitality for officials, athletes, and fans," said Lou Englefield, coordinator for Pride House International,

"We are in discussions with a few such national houses for them to offer one or more days or evenings of programming in line with the tradition of past Pride Houses."

An attempt to set up a Pride House by a Russian group was rejected by authorities there, prompting Pride House International to question the International Olympic Committee's assurances over the safety of gay and lesbian athletes throughout the Winter Games.

Pride Houses such as those seen in Vancouver 2010 have been banned at the 2014 Sochi GamesPride Houses such as those seen in Vancouver 2010 have been banned at the 2014 Sochi Games 

"We're not planning a demonstration, and the content of Pride House is not political, unless you consider that calls for sport open to all, for freedom from discrimination in sport, for freedom of expression and assembly are political," said Keph Senett, part of the Pride House International leadership group.

"Since these values are found in the Olympic Charter and the governing documents of the International Paralympic Committee, we think that a place where they are honoured and respected should be very welcome at the Olympic and Paralympic Games."

The Pride House Movement is seeking funding to ensure this project can go ahead with Englefield explaining that they "need to be able to respond to these generous offers of hosting," should their current discussions with national houses prove successful.

Englefield is also calling for supporters of the Movement to contact their local National Olympic Committee to urge them to host Pride House events during the 2014 Sochi Winter Games.

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

Related stories
August 2013: Gay groups call on Rogge to set up IOC Pride House as protest against new Russian laws
March 2012: Judge bans Sochi 2014 gay Pride House claiming it would offend "public morality"