"I am not sure, but I don't bloody know them."

In the wake of Russia enacting legislation last summer widely seen as an attack on gay rights, and ahead of the upcoming Winter Olympics, Sochi mayor Anatoly Pakhomov claimed that there were no gay people in Sochi.

According to the BBC:

When asked whether gay people had to hide their sexuality in Sochi, the Mayor said: "No, we just say that it is your business, it's your life. But it's not accepted here in the Caucasus where we live. We do not have them in our city."

When challenged, the mayor admitted that he was not certain there were no gay people in Sochi: "I am not sure, but I don't bloody know them."

A political opponent of Pakhomov claimed that the city has multiple gay bars, one of which was visited by a BBC reporter before his interview with the mayor. Drag queen Madame Zhu-Zha told the BBC that the resort town did have a gay community though it is reportedly on the decline.

 Another member of Russia's Olympic effort, Svetlana Zhurova, also defended the law preventing the dissemination of information about homosexuality to minors. Zhurova is also a member of Russia's parliament who voted in favor of the law. She has a long history with the Olympics, as a gold-medalist speed skater and in Sochi as a "mayor" of the Olympic Village.

The United States' delegation for the Games includes at least three LGBT members: figure skater Brian Boitano, tennis player Billie Jean King, and hockey player Caitlin Cahow.

This post originally appeared on The Wire. More from our partner site:

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. The Presidio Terrace neighborhood
    POV

    The Problem of Progressive Cities and the Property Tax

    The news that a posh San Francisco street was sold for delinquent taxes exposes the deeper issue with America’s local revenue system.

  2. "Gift Horse"—a skeletal sculpture of a horse by artist Hans Haacke—debuted on the Fourth Plinth in London's Trafalgar Square in 2015.
    Design

    What To Do With Baltimore's Empty Confederate Statue Plinths?

    Put them to work, Trafalgar Square style.

  3. Times Square, 1970.
    Life

    The New York That Belonged to the City

    Hyper-gentrification turned renegade Manhattan into plasticine playground. Can the city find its soul again?

  4. Equity

    The Complex Relationship Between Innovation and Economic Segregation

    It’s not just the tech industry that’s responsible for America’s stratifying cities.

  5. POV

    Grenfell Was No Ordinary Accident

    The catastrophic fire that killed at least 80 in London was the inevitable byproduct of an ideology that vilified the poor.