Philly readies for Olympics
by Jen Colletta
Jan 30, 2014 | 511 views | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, have largely been shadowed by the unprecedented LGBT discrimination in the host country — but LGBT athletes and allies across the globe, including in Philadelphia, are now joining forces to support equality in the Games, and in Russia.

Pride House International is organizing “Remote Pride Houses” where LGBTs and allies can take part in Olympic viewing parties, discussions, rallies and other activities to support LGBT sporting equality. Pride Houses have become staples at large-scale sporting events for LGBT athletes, but organizers in Russia denied such a request, prompting the agency to rally support remotely.

Philadelphia will have two Remote Pride Houses: William Way LGBT Community Center and Tabu Lounge & Sports Bar.

The center, 1315 Spruce St., will host a viewing party for the Opening Ceremonies from 7-11 p.m. Feb. 7, in partnership with Go! Athletes’ #Out4Olympics campaign. Admission is free for students, and there is a $10 suggested donation for adults. Free food and beverages will be provided.

GO! Athletes executive director Anna Aagenes said the campaign is an effort to show LGBTs in Russia that they have widespread support, and to raise awareness about the ongoing endemic of discrimination.

“Folks in Russia don’t have the opportunity to have a Pride House, so we want to be in solidarity with them and what they’re going through, and hopefully these Pride Houses across the world and across our country can show that LGBT athletes and sports fans are in support of their rights,” she said. “Our hearts are with the people traveling to Russia and also the citizens of Russia, who don’t have the opportunity to exercise their civil rights.”

Aagenes said the center’s event will also help connect younger LGBT athletes and students with members of Team Philadelphia and other local sports leagues.

“It’s a community-driven event. It’ll be grassroots and we’re hoping that we’ll be able to establish some longterm connections,” she said.

Tabu, which has 18 televisions throughout its three floors, will screen all sporting events throughout the more-than two-week Games.

“Tabu has joined in an effort with Pride House International to provide a safe and entertaining place to watch the Sochi Olympics for the LGBT community in Philadelphia,” said owner Jeff Sotland. “We continue to strive to provide the LGBT community and our allies with a welcoming and supportive place.”

For more information about Pride House International, visit www.pridehouseinternational.org. For more information about the local events, email anna@goathletes.org or visit wwww.tabuphilly.com.

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