Pride House International ( PHI ), on Oct. 29, launched its efforts to partner with national houses at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games to create a network of venues "allowing for the promotion of the Olympic principle of sport for all," according to a statement. As such, PHI is calling on supporters to contact their National Olympic Committees asking them to host Pride House events.
Pride House founder Dean Nelson said, "We imagined a Pride House that would dare to make public the awareness of homophobia and transphobia in sport. It would be a safe venue for athletes, support staff and spectators to participate at the Olympics with authentic connections that celebrated our diversity through sports and friendships. … After the success at the 2010 Winter Olympics, we saw Pride Houses activated at the UEFA Euro Football Championship and the London Olympics in 2012, and plans are underway for Pride Houses at the 2014 FIFA World Cup, the 2014 Commonwealth Games, the 2015 Pan Am Games, and the 2016 Summer Olympics."
Russian authorities have rejected attempts to create a Pride House at Sochi. Lou Englefield, PHI coordinator, added, "Various National Olympic Committees traditionally create a venue to promote their national teams and offer hospitality for officials, athletes, and fans. We are in discussions with a few such national houses for them to offer one or more days or evenings of programming in line with the tradition of past Pride Houses."
PHI is now seeking funding from corporate and non-profit entities to allow the project to take place.
"We think the greatest impact for Pride House events in Sochi is ensured by multiplying a presence in national houses," Englefield said. "Our goal is for there to be a Pride House event somewhere in Sochi every day of the Games. There are significant logistics challenges, including shipment and transfer of materials, organizing panels and talks and film screenings, and so on."
For more information, visit www.pridehouseinternational.org .