Everyone remembers the hilarious moment when former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmedinejad told an Ivy League audience that his nation was completely free of gays. While that might be a dream for someone like Linda Harvey, it’s a situation that literally does not exist anywhere on the planet, and never will. The mayor of the Russian town of Sochi, though, seems to believe it as well:
The mayor of Sochi, host of the Winter Olympics, has said there are no gay people in the city.
Anatoly Pakhomov said homosexuals were welcome at the Games – as long as they “respect Russian law” and “don’t impose their habits on others”.
Anatoly Pakhomov, a member of President Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party, told Panorama that gay people would be welcome at the Games.
“Our hospitality will be extended to everyone who respects the laws of the Russian Federation and doesn’t impose their habits on others”, he said.
But 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.”
BBC Panorama reporter John Sweeney visited a gay bar in Sochi the night before he interviewed the mayor.
Bless his heart.