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City of Vancouver Delegation in Sochi to Discuss LGBTQ with Olympic Officials

SOCHI, RUSSIA -- (Marketwired) -- 01/31/14 -- A delegation from the City of Vancouver - host city of the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games - has arrived in Sochi, Russia in advance of the 2014 Games to meet with Olympic officials.

The "Host City Pride House" mission team is led by Vancouver's openly-gay Deputy Mayor Tim Stevenson, and will seek to secure a commitment from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and International Paralympic Committee (IPC) to support Pride Houses as an inclusive addition to every future Olympic and Paralympic Games. They will also be supporting international efforts to persuade the IOC Olympic Committee (IOC) to update Principle 6 in the Olympic Charter to explicitly include a non-discrimination clause in regard to LGBTQ persons and sexual orientation.

"During the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games, Vancouver was the first host city to welcome a Pride House, and London carried on the new tradition in 2012," said Stevenson. "However, a community-led Pride House in Sochi was denied by the Russian government. Our message to the IOC and IPC is simple: recognize fundamental human rights and end discrimination by any host city/country on the basis of sexual orientation.

"As the first host city to have a Pride House, we hope to share the social and cultural importance of this addition to the Games as well as the community, tourism and economic benefits," said Stevenson.

Stevenson and mission project manager Maureen Douglas, a former Vancouver 2010 Organizing Committee official will be in Sochi between February 1 and February 9, 2014. Both Stevenson and Douglas are openly gay and legally married to their partners.

The City of Vancouver has sent meeting requests to more than 80 National Olympic Committees, IOC members and Olympic influencers requesting brief meetings with Stevenson and Douglas in the week before the Sochi 2014 Games begin.

"We are optimistic that our meeting requests will be accepted, affording us an opportunity to share the importance of inclusive language, policies and places for the LGBTQ community in Olympic and Paralympic sport. The Vancouver 2010 Games ensured inclusion for everyone in our diverse society - a factor that contributed greatly to our success ", said Douglas.

News and updates on the mission will be posted daily during their time in Sochi at http://hostcitypridehouse.com, with updates as-they-happen on the mission's Twitterfeed (https://twitter.com/HostCityPride).

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