"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. Smoke from the fires hangs over Brazil.
    Environment

    Why the Amazon Is on Fire

    The rash of wildfires now consuming the Amazon rainforest can be blamed on a host of human factors, from climate change to deforestation to Brazilian politics.

  2. Graduates react near the end of commencement exercises at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, U.S.
    Life

    Where Do College Grads Live? The Top and Bottom U.S. Cities

    Even though superstar hubs top the list of the most educated cities, other cities are growing their share at a much faster rate.

  3. An aerial photo of downtown Miami.
    Life

    The Fastest-Growing U.S. Cities Aren’t What You Think

    Looking at the population and job growth of large cities proper, rather than their metro areas, uncovers some surprises.

  4. a map of London Uber driver James Farrar's trip data.
    Transportation

    For Ride-Hailing Drivers, Data Is Power

    Uber drivers in Europe and the U.S. are fighting for access to their personal data. Whoever wins the lawsuit could get to reframe the terms of the gig economy.

  5. A man sleeps in his car.
    Equity

    Finding Home in a Parking Lot

    The number of unsheltered homeless living in their cars is growing. Safe Parking programs from San Diego to King County are here to help them.

×