Huffpost Gay Voices

2014 Russia Olympics Boycott Continues To Stir Debate Among LGBT Community (VIDEO)

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The 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics are less than six months away and the debate continues to rage on about whether allies of the LGBT community should boycott the Games because of Russia's oppressive ban on "gay propaganda."

GLAAD spokesman Omar Sharif, Jr. talked with HuffPost Live's Josh Zepps about the law that he called "draconian" and "respressive." As an example of the law's harm, Sharif pointed to his T-shirt, which read "lesbian gay bisexual transgender pride."

"This T-shirt alone would be enough to have me jailed, be enough to have me fined, to have me deported and to allow me to never come back if I was an athlete, a spectator or a member of the media," he said.

Questions of a boycott have sparked controversy around the world. President Obama has said he does not support a boycott. Blake Skjellerup, an openly gay Olympic speed skater from New Zealand, told HuffPost Live earlier this month that he also opposes the idea of a boycott and would prefer to make a statement by being visible at the Games.

Sharif, however, is torn on his opinion regarding a boycott.

"[A boycott] would be an effective thing to do, and it would send a message that the world is not okay with what's happening in Russia," he said. "But we could also use the Olympics as a stage to go there and to speak, to use social media, to introduce Russians to the LGBT community."

If gay athletes attend the games and remain open about their lives, it would give them a chance to be "better known by the people for who they really are -- brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, neighbors, coworkers, athletes and patriots," Sharif said.

Another challenge surrounding Russia's law is how to ensure safety for international athletes when Russian authorities are on board with the ban on homosexual propaganda. When asked if there was an efficient way to keep tabs on things, Sharif offered a unique solution.

"We could ask Sarah Palin to keep an eye from her window over in Alaska," he said.

Catch the full conversation on gay athletes and the 2014 Olympics at HuffPost Live HERE.

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