UK
05/11/2013 10:15 GMT

#LoveAlwaysWins Video Challenges Russia's Anti-Gay Propaganda

A new video hopes to raise awareness about Russia’s anti-gay propaganda laws by questioning what would happen if a gay athlete wins at next year’s Winter Olympics.

Preparations for next year's Sochi Games have already been overshadowed by activists furiously reacting to Russia laws that effectively outlaw gay rights marches and could even see holding a rainbow flag leading to arrests.

Today, Amnesty International condemned last weekend’s homophobic attack on a St Petersburg HIV support group, resulting in a man being shot in the eye.

Now, All Out, an organisation which focuses on LGBT issues, tackles what may face some gay Olympians in a short film released this week entitled “Love Always Wins.”

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The Co-Founder of All Out, Andre Banks, said Russia’s law makes it unclear whether public displays of affection, coming out on television by mentioning an athlete’s loved one, or even hugging your partner after winning the gold medal could result in fines or deportation, Buzzfeed reported.

"Putin would like us to think gays and lesbians are welcome during the Olympics, but no one will feel safe and welcome while this law is in place," he said.

The film ends with the short, but powerful message: "What if living your dream meant living a lie."

More than 375,000 people have signed an All Out petition calling for Russian president Vladimir Putin to eliminate the laws and end violence and discrimination against gay people in Russia. The group is asking people to share its new video using the hashtag #LoveAlwaysWins.

Last week, Putin told Thomas Bach, the new president of the IOC, that LGBT athletes and fans attending the Winter Olympics would “feel comfortable in Sochi, regardless of nationality, race or sexual orientation”.

But a federal bill banning gay “propaganda” was signed into law by Russia’s President Vladimir Putin in June.