Local Track Star Leads Campaign to Support LGBT Athletes Going to Sochi

Anna Aagenes of GO! Athletes is spearheading a project to get sports fans to "come out for the Olympics."

GO! Athletes, the first national network of LGBT athletes in the U.S., recently kicked off a fun multimedia campaign to support LGBT sportsters who will be heading to Russia in six months to compete in the Sochi Olympics. In case you need reminding, Russia recently passed an atrocious anti-gay law that basically puts any outwardly homosexual person in the country in jeopardy of legal discrimination and even imprisonment. 

“A lot of LGBT athletes are facing the decision about whether or not they will go,” says GO! Executive Director Anna Aagenes, a local track-and-field runner who admits she’d jump at the chance to go in a heartbeat. “This campaign is a way to support and encourage them that if they go and compete, they have the backing of a community that supports them.”

The campaign is easy. All you have to do is:

  1. Find your favorite sports photo of yourself
  2. Use Photoshop or an app like Twibbon to write the hashtag “#Out4Olympics” on it
  3. Submit it to @GO_Athletes on Twitter and Instagram

Aagenes says anyone should get involved — whether you’re an athlete, a coach or just a person who enjoys watching Johnny Weir twinkle on the ice. There are even a few Olympic athletes involved, including out gymnast Josh Dixon (pictured above).

When the campaign concludes, Aagenes says all the photos will be compiled in a book that will be presented to the International Olympic Committee, the U.S. Olympic Committee, the U.S. Department of State and the Russian Department of State in the hopes that it will “persuade those political entities to use their influence and power to protect our LGBT athletes.”

So get to snappin’. And be sure to keep up with the campaign by following GO! Athletes on Instagram.

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