"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. Office workers using computers
    Equity

    America’s Digitalization Divide

    A new study maps digital-skilled jobs across industries, metro areas, and demographic groups, revealing deep divides.

  2. An illustration of a front porch.
    Life

    America Rediscovers Its Love of the Front Porch

    In the 20th century, porches couldn’t compete with TV and air conditioning. Now this classic feature of American homes is staging a comeback as something more stylish and image-conscious than ever before.

  3. Life

    Is Minimalism for Black People?

    Black communities have long practiced core tenets of the lifestyle—yet are not well-represented amongst its most recognizable influencers.

  4. Rockingham Speedway in North Carolina
    Photos

    A Highway to Progress, Foiled By Old Values

    A Carolinian drives along a familiar road to make sense of what exists in between the South’s most regressive and progressive narratives.

  5. Equity

    The Story Behind the Housing Meme That Swept the Internet

    How a popular meme about neoliberal capitalism and fast-casual architecture owned itself.