The Olympics are usually a cause for worldwide celebration, but the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, have already become a lightning rod for controversy due to the country's anti-gay laws. Some have called for a boycott of the games, while others have taken their anger out on Russian-brand vodka. Now American Apparel is offering a way for spectators and athletes to enjoy the games while simultaneously calling for an end to discrimination.
The retailer is launching a specially branded clothing line to support the Principle 6 Campaign. The campaign, created by Athlete Ally and All Out, refers to Principle 6 in the Olympic Charter: "Sport does not discriminate on grounds of race, religion, politics, gender or otherwise." That includes sexual orientation, too.
"In Russia, you can now be fined or arrested for speaking publicly about gay, lesbian, bi or trans issues," the organization says in a statement on its website. "The new laws have fueled a massive surge in anti-gay violence within the country. The Principle 6 campaign uses the language of the Charter to give athletes and fans a way to speak out against this violence and discrimination before and during the Sochi Olympics without breaking Russian anti-gay laws or violating the Olympics ban on political speech."
Gay athletes and their allies can take a stand against Russia's anti-gay laws at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics by wearing merchandise, such as t-shirts, hoodies and crop-tops, with the principle written across it. All proceeds (after production costs) from sales from the clothing line will benefit LGBT groups in Russia.
"By openly supporting Principle 6 at the Winter Games in Sochi, everyone can help uphold and promote the Olympic values of non-discrimination and stand in solidarity with lesbian, gay, bi and trans people in Russia and around the world," said Anastasia Smirnova, a spokesperson for a leading coalition of Russian LGBT groups.
Here's your chance to look good while doing good! Pick up some Principle 6 apparel here and support equality in the 2014 Olympics.
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