SOCHI (CBS SF) — There are no gay people in the host city for the 2014 Winter Olympics, according to mayor Anatoly Pakhomov, despite 400,000 residents, and a normal allotment of gay bars.
The latest twist in the Olympics controversy surrounding acceptance of the world’s LGBT community came in a statement on the BBC’s Panaorama program scheduled to air Monday, just two weeks before the winter games.
“It’s not accepted here in the Caucasus where we live. We do not have them in our city,” Pakhomov said.
The statements come after Russia enacted a law against “disseminating gay propaganda to minors,” although it’s unclear exactly what activities the law criminalizes.
The mayor followed the Russian line regarding the athletes, saying gay competitors are welcome, as long as they don’t “…impose their habits on others.”
The denial of gays is similar to the broad statements from former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who said in 2007 there were no gays in Iran, instead of answering questions about treatment of the LGBT community. Later, his spokesperson clarified that he mean there were not as many gays in Iran as in the U.S.
In two weeks, there will be no doubt that there are gay people there, but the athletes will be returning to their own country when the games end.