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Openly gay city councillor heading to Sochi for Winter Games

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – Vancouver’s mayor wants the city to take a stand against what he calls Russia’s anti-gay propaganda law.

However, the concerns won’t stop council from sending one of its own to Sochi for the Winter Games.

There will be no city boycott, as openly gay city councillor Tim Stevenson plans to head over to Russia to represent Vancouver as its deputy mayor.

“This isn’t about trying to raise international incidents. There will probably be others that may do that, I don’t know. Good luck to them. I want to go to make sure that we speak to the IOC.”

He’s calling on the International Olympic Committee to ensure the protection of LGBTQ persons during the Olympics.

He also wants future host cities to include a Pride House.

Stevenson thinks he’ll be more effective by going to Sochi instead of having the city boycott the Winter Games.

“We wouldn’t be a voice. They wouldn’t care at all about us. But this way, at least, they know Vancouver is standing up and Vancouver is going.”

Mayor Gregor Robertson, who won’t go to Russia, supports Stevenson’s plan.

“I spoke out very strongly against Russia’s anti-gay legislation back in the summer. Real concerns about the impact that has on the Sochi Olympics and Paralympics. I think it’s a lot stronger to send councillor Stevenson who was the first gay elected official in Canada.”

Stevenson is asking council next week to pass a motion supporting him.