Sochi Mayor: Gays Don't Live In My City

Anatoly Pakhomov made the comments despite the fact that there are two gay bars in the Winter Olympics host city.

Photo Credit: rSnapshotPhotos/

There is no LGBT community in Sochi, Russia, according to the city’s mayor, who is hosting the Olympic games this year.  Anatoly Pakhomov, the mayor, made the comments during an interview with BBC News.

Asked by BBC whether gays and lesbians 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 pressed, Pakhomov said he isn’t sure whether there are gays in his city, but that he doesn’t “bloody know them.”

But Sochi has two gay bars, as an opposition politician pointed out.

Sochi Mayor Pakhomov also told the BBC that gays were welcome at the Olympics as long as they “respect Russian law” and “don’t impose their habits on others.”

The comments from the mayor are the latest controversy to kick up over LGBT people at the Olympics.  Russia has passed virulently anti-gay laws in the run-up to the games, and President Vladimir Putin recently compared gays to pedophiles.

Alex Kane is former World editor at AlterNet. His work has appeared in Mondoweiss, Salon, VICE, the Los Angeles Review of Books and more. Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.

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