Gay Issues

Mayor Of Sochi: There Are No Gay People Here

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht

The mayor of Russia’s Olympic city says there are no gays in Sochi.

“It’s not accepted here in the Caucasus where we live. We do not have them in our city,” Anatoly Pakhomov told BBC Panorama ahead of the 2014 Winter Games.

He said homosexuals would be welcome at Sochi as long as they “respect Russian law” and “don’t impose their habits on others.”

When asked whether gays would be expected to hide their sexuality, Pakhomov said, “No, we just say that it is your business, it's your life.”

Opposition leader Boris Nemstov says there are gay bars in Sochi.

"As far as I know there are several gay clubs in Sochi,” Nemstov argued. “How do they survive? Why they are not bankrupt?"

The popular nightclub Mayak, located just off the beach, is the city’s most popular cabaret.

"There are very many clubs for gay people in Moscow - in Sochi we have two gay clubs as well. In some places there's serious prejudice against gay people. In other places it's not as bad,” drag queen Madame Zhu-Zha told BBC.

Pakhomov admitted he’s uncertain there are no gays in the city, "I am not sure, but I don't bloody know them."

Last week Russia President Vladimir Putin advised gay visitors to "just leave the children alone.”

“We don't have a ban on non-traditional sexual relations," he said. "We have a ban on the propaganda of homosexuality and pedophilia."

Sources: ABC News, BBC News