17 Pro Athletes Sign an Open Letter Urging the United Nations to Keep the Olympics’ LGBTQ Protections

Last week, it looked like Egypt and Russia had successfully been blocked from removing the Olympics anti-discrimination clause defending LGBTQ athletes. But now it looks like they could pull an end-run around this block. However, OutRight Action International has partnered with Athlete Ally, a nonprofit seeking to end homophobia and transphobia in sports. The two groups are behind an open letter signed by 17 pro athletes calling on the United Nations to keep the protections.

The letter supporting the Olympics anti-discrimination clause is signed by a number of famous athletes including Billie Jean King, Martina Navratilova and Greg Louganis. It encourages the U.N. to keep Principle 6 in the this year’s Olympic Truce Resolution. The Olympic Truce Resolution is a document that calls for a worldwide truce during the Olympic Games, as well as during the week before and after.

Principle 6 is the anti-discrimination part of the Olympic Charter. In 2015, protections for LGBTQ people were added in response to Russia’s attacks on the queer community in the leadup to the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games.

Russia and Egypt said that unless all explicit references to Principle 6 are removed from the Olympic Truce Resolution, they would refuse to sign. Luckily, the United States, France and Brazil blocked their efforts. However, according to OutRight, Egypt and Russia still have time to break consensus and call for a vote to the resolution.

If you’d like to add your name to the call for keeping LGBTQ protections, OutRight has also set up an online petition where you can show your support for the Olympics anti-discrimination principle.

Read the open letter calling for keeping the Olympics anti-discrimination principles below:

Dear UN General Assembly Member States,

It has been brought to our attention that certain member states of the U.N. General Assembly have been advocating that an explicit reference to Principle 6 in this year’s Olympic Truce Resolution be removed. We understand that many states defended the inclusion of Principle 6 in the final draft of the Resolution.

We thank the member states that have continued their steadfast commitment to including this reference thus far in negotiations, we ask member states to join South Korea by formally sponsoring the Olympic Truce for its consideration by the U.N. General Assembly on November 13.

The Olympic movement is built upon the fundamental principles of respect and inclusion and the belief that the rights and freedoms of athletes and fans should be free from discrimination, including on the basis of sexual orientation.

In late 2014, the International Olympic Committee updated the language of their non-discrimination clause, Principle 6, to include explicit protections on the basis of sexual orientation. With the last Olympic Games having over 40 lesbian, gay, and bisexual athletes represent their country in pursuit of their Olympic dream, it is clear that the updated language of Principle 6 is reflective of the diversity of Olympic fans and participants and is in keeping with the ideals of the Olympic Movement.

The Olympic Truce remains an important and fundamental component of the Games, as it communicates an active commitment to allowing athletes and spectators alike to share in the ideals and joys that the Games brings — regardless of one’s race, religion, gender, sexual orientation and more. At a moment when oppressed communities around the world remain under attack, we can’t afford to turn our back on our most vulnerable communities. Explicit reference to Principle 6 in the Olympic Truce Resolution sends a strong signal of our community’s support of respect, inclusion and diversity — values sport holds inherently close. After all, regardless of where in the world we practice sport, the rules are the same and apply to everyone. They are based on our shared values.

This fundamental principle of nondiscrimination allows sport to promote peace, unity and understanding among all of humanity. It’s why we’re asking for the public support of states for explicit reference to Principle 6 to remain in the Olympic Truce Resolution.

We are hopeful that all member states will continue to uphold the values of Olympism and keep an explicit reference to Principle 6 in the Olympic Truce Resolution.


  1. Billie Jean King, Olympic Tennis
  2. Martina Navratilova, Olympic Tennis
  3. Greg Louganis, Olympic Diver
  4. Lori Lindsey, Former U.S. Soccer Olympic Player
  5. Tom Luchsinger, USA Swimming
  6. Esther Lofgren, Olympic Rower
  7. Eli Wolff, Paralympic Soccer
  8. Caryn P. Davies, Olympic Rower
  9. Breanna Stewart, USA Basketball
  10. Layshia Clarendon, USA Basketball
  11. Lee Ford, Paralympic Archer
  12. Casey Legler, Olympic Swimmer
  13. Nancy Hogshead-Makar, Olympic Swimmer
  14. RENNAE STUBBS, Olympic Tennis
  15. Gearoid Towey, Olympic Rower
  16. Amini Fonua, Olympic Swimmer
  17. Shelley Ann Gorman-Sandie, Olympic Basketball


Featured image by Image Source via iStock