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The Pitt News

The independent student newspaper of the University of Pittsburgh | | june 13, 2018 | Volume 109 | Issue 6


A group of Walmart employees march behind a company truck as it makes its way through EQT’s pride parade, which has been criticized as being too centered around corporations. Anna Bongardino | VISUAL EDITOR their house and… this is a community that has had to put up with a lot of stigma for a Staff Writer long time, but in the end they’re just people,” Red, orange, yellow, green, blue and Bryan said. purple lit up downtown Pittsburgh over the Bryan said she has friends and family weekend as members of the LGBTQ+ comwho are part of the LGBTQ+ community, munity and their allies united to celebrate and she always laughs overhearing them. their differences and show support for the “I always listen to them and I’m like, ‘You community. They danced, sang and kissed guys have the same arguments as straight under rainbow flags. This was Pittsburgh people do,’ it’s like, ‘Who’s going to take PrideFest 2018. the dog out?,’ ‘Who’s going to get dinner?,’ For two days this weekend, more than ‘Who’s going to pay the electric bill?’ It’s all 170 vendors filled Liberty Avenue downthe same and, in the end, what the differenctown with rainbow colors and pro-gay es are are about love,” Bryan said. “I think statements. One of the event’s organizers, the world needs a lot more love.” Christine Bryan — the director of marketPrideFest volunteer Howard Marr, 57, ing and development at the Delta Foundafrom Fort Lauderdale, Florida, is friends with tion of Pittsburgh — said it was a safe space Bryan and Gary Van Horn, the President of for LGBTQ+ members and allies to support the Delta Foundation. He said he considers their rights. Pittsburgh’s Pride the best in the country and “As an ally, I see people being treated has come nine out of the last 10 years. wrong and I see people call out office, who See Pride 2018 on page 2 got fired from their job or got kicked out of

Madeline Gavatorta

SisTers PGH, a shelter focused on transition programs for trans and nonbinary people, hosted People’s Pride as a way to shift attention to marginalized groups within the LGBTQ+ community. Jon Kunitsky | STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

Jon Kunitsky Staff Writer

“Pride of the people will overcome evil!” This was only one of many rally cries heard from the marchers in Pittsburgh’s second annual People’s Pride March late Sunday morning. The “people” of the chant were members of the LGBTQ+ community who are often overlooked — specifically transgender youth, adults in low income neighborhoods and people of color. And the “evil” the chant referred to is the Delta Foundation of Pittsburgh, a leading LGBTQ+ advocacy group, and EQT, a Pittsburgh-based oil and natural gas company. Separate from Pittsburgh PrideFest, People’s Pride is organized by the transgender- and nonbinary-centered shelter and transitioning program SisTers PGH.

People’s Pride offers an alternative parade for members of the LGBTQ+ community who are displeased with the corporatization of Pittsburgh Pride events. Last year, EQT’s sponsorship prompted Pittsburgh Pride to change its name to the “EQT Equality March,” an unwelcome decision to Ciora Thomas, a transgender woman. “We have marginalized queer people who are getting ignored in Pittsburgh in corporate events like Pittsburgh Pride that’s run by the Delta Foundation,” Thomas, the founder of SisTers PGH and head organizer of People’s Pride, said. “They get ignored and they’re not heard. So in this space we offer them to be centered and heard in all aspects.” The Pittsburgh Pride website reports that the mission of the Delta Foundation of Pittsburgh is to “be a vigilant catalyst See People’s Pride on page 6



Sam Weber Staff Writer

Along Oakland Avenue from Sennott Street to Forbes Avenue, local businesses and organizations came out Tuesday afternoon to celebrate a new partnership between the Southwestern PA Says No More initiative and Pittsburgh Action Against Rape. The program is called Oakland Says No More and is a campaign designed to end workplace sexual harassment and violence. As upbeat, bassheavy music blared, supporters’ faces were shown on flat-screen TVs while different groups set up stalls to hand out information on the event. The faces of the local leaders who are fronting the new campaign were plastered to the walls of Sushi Fuku, Stack’d and other restaurants. One of the representatives at the event was

Pride 2018, pg. 1 “I just think that it’s important to be involved. I think that too many of the young people don’t understand what we all went through to make this happen, to make Pride happen,” Marr said. “We went from being just gay to gays and lesbians to LGBT to LGBTQIA plus.” Marr said that his family was “wonderful” and very accepting of him being gay — even coming to Pride and walking in parades. But he’s seen the bad side of things as well. “I’ve seen way too many of my friends get thrown out of their homes and have to come live with me or live in the street. I’ve seen bad things happen to good people,” Marr said. “My family is just wonderful and most of my friends can’t say that. Most of the community can’t say that.” Joelene Hester, 42, from Ross Township, came with her two sons, Simon, 10, and Jesse, 12. Despite Hester’s support of Pride, she said events like Pride shouldn’t be necessary in the first place.

believes in. A father of two girls, Wilson said that he wants to show everyone that domestic violence can be stopped and to prevent his daughters from experiencing harassment in their lifetimes. “We need to make sure people know it happens. It isn’t a secret,” Wilson said. “We need people to know what they can do to help fight this.” The event kicked off with messages from the event’s organizer and executive director of Oakland Business Improvement District, Georgia Petropolous, and led into a discussion on the rates of assault and harassment in the workplace. A study cited in the presentation showed that one Oakland Says No More, a campaign which hopes to end workplace sexual out of every three women will face some form of harassment and violence, encouraged supporters to sign their petition at harassment in the workplace. At the end of the an event hosted on Oakland Avenue Tuesday evening. presentation, passersby were urged to sign the FaSamuel Weber | STAFF WRITER Carlow University’s Director of Media Commu- ganizing groups, he jumped at the opportunity to ther’s Day Pledge, a commitment to intervention nications Andrew Wilson. When asked by the or- support the community and stand up for what he See “No More” on page 3 “It feels like it should be a regular thing, like we shouldn’t have to have a Pride, we shouldn’t have to have a parade to get equal rights for people,” Hester said. “We shouldn’t have to have a Women’s March to get women’s rights. We shouldn’t have to have a Black Lives Matter movement to stop seeing black men die.” Her son Simon said he likes coming “to celebrate who people are,” and Jesse said he likes Pride because “it’s a lot of fun.” “I’ve always felt like people should just be accepted for who they are. I think I really stepped up my activism with the last presidential election,” Hester said. “The boldness of people who hate against other people — like they’ve just become emboldened.” Hester also compared the rights of straight people with the rights of the LGBTQ+ community in terms of marriage, saying straight marriage was a “no brainer.” She said she was upset at the difference in marital freedoms that straight and gay people have experienced. “Here I am, a straight woman, and I can get married and I can get benefits from my husband and I can take his last name,”

Hester said. “Straight people get married every day and a lot of people say that gay marriage is gonna ruin the sanctity of marriage yet straight people get divorced all the time.” One of the staples of Pittsburgh’s PrideFest, a vendor called “Inclusive Presbyterian Churches,” came to Pride for the 15th straight year to promote religious acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community. East Liberty Presbyterian Church Deacon Liz Gonda passed out papers and talked to people walking past to share Inclusive Presbyterian Churches’ views. “We’re here because we believed God loves everyone and we want everyone to know that we exist and that they should come if they are looking for a church community,” Gonda said. Gonda, 39, said she wanted to be there to offer a new message from the religious community. “I think it’s important because so many people have heard negative messages from church and so we can help to counteract that and make their experience with church more positive,” Gonda said.

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Presbyterian Church U.S.A., one of three Presbyterian denominations, voted to allow gay marriage in March 2015, while the ELPC has been supporting the LGBTQ+ community at Pride for over a decade. “They’re people just like us,” Gonda said. “Well, I’m a lesbian, so people just like me.” Adam Croasmun, 22, from West Virginia said he came to Pittsburgh because West Virginia doesn’t have many Pride events and he loves the big city. He came out to celebrate his sexuality and who he is. “[Pride] is amazing. We are all here celebrating each other, celebrating what we all stand for and being who we are,” Croasmun said. “Being accepted in society is what needs to happen and we’re getting more towards that.” Croasmun also said it was important to stand up against the Trump administration, specifically Vice President Mike Pence. “Maybe not President Trump but Vice President Pence is highly against the LGBTQ community, so I think it’s important to let them know that we’re not going anywhere and we will fight against them no matter what they do,” Croasmun said.


“No More,” pg. 2 in the face of sexual harassment and violence. One guest at the event was UPMC-Presbyterian President John Innocenti. Innocenti sees the joint efforts between Oakland Says No More, the local organizations and companies and PAAR as a very ambitious and well thought-out plan to fight sexual harassment throughout the area. A member of the school board, Innocenti said that he knows how sexual harassment can affect a family, including the children of a victim of harassment or assault. “I’ve seen how children behave in a family

where there’s been harassment and assault,” Innocenti said. “If you see something, please report it or talk about it so people can help.” Along with how children in families affected by harassment interact, the event also focused on sharing how the new program will affect Pitt’s campus. Title IX Coordinator Katie Pope and a selection of officers from the University of Pittsburgh Police had a table set up with information about the campus-based security services available to students in Oakland, including Pitt police phone numbers and Title IX information. Pope said that she was extremely excited to hear about the

step toward a safer Oakland and how many other groups had taken initiative in fighting sexual harassment. “With PAAR’s project Last Call and the Oakland community, we’re more ready to fight sexual harassment than ever before,” Pope said. Pope said that she knows many students work in service settings where this kind of harassment often occurs, and was immediately in support of the project. “With so many students working in or around Oakland, we need to make sure that businesses are safe for them,” Pope said. One such business is Primanti Brothers on

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Forbes Avenue. Manager Mike Mitchum said he sees his business as a hope for anyone. Primanti makes sure to hire anyone, regardless of their past as long as they are willing to be both good workers and good people in the restaurant. Mitchum, the father of a young boy, said that he wants to combat sexual harassment from the other side, rather than from informing female workers of what to do. “We need to take a step back from ‘manly,’” Mitchum said. “We need to reevaluate and reteach our children what it means to be men in society.”



Editorial: Trump-Kim summit wasn’t worth it



Anaïs Foss

For The Pitt News As a member of a community under constant attack, attending pride celebrations used to feel like a breath of fresh air for me. Pride was always a space to be out safely and celebrate myself with other queer people. But things have changed. Pittsburgh Pride has been sponsored by natural gas company EQT for the past two years, and the event feels less about the local queer community and more about how corporations can profit off the gay-friendly image they display once a year. Pride was born out of marginalized individuals fighting for visibility and rights, but has since become corporatized and whitewashed — and Pittsburgh’s pride march is a prime example of just how far the queer community has strayed from its roots. The first Pride was a riot. New York City police entered the Stonewall Inn, one of the few places queer folks could safely be out in the city, in 1969. They arrested multiple individuals who were not wearing gender appropriate clothing, and, fed up with the harassment, trans women of color such as Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera began a large demonstration which flared up over the next five days. Modern pride marches can trace their history back to the events of that night. Subsequent Prides followed suit in highlighting political issues and violence against the LGBTQ+ community. Pittsburgh Pride in 1974 shined a spotlight on LGBTQ+ job discrimination and police harassment, and another march in 1976 paused four times so speakers could talk about LGBTQ+ legislation that needed support at the city level. But this year’s main pride event was far from that. It featured representatives and floats from corporations such as Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania, whose parent company NiSource donates to anti-LGBTQ+ politicians, and Walmart, which had its Human Rights Campaign LGBT perfect score suspended in 2017 after two federal complaints alleged the retailer wasn’t protecting its transgender employees. Worst of all, EQT, a petroleum and natural

People’s Pride was held in opposition to the annual pride festivities hosted by EQT — a Pittsburgh-based oil and natural gas company. Jon Kunitsky | STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER gas producer headquartered in Pittsburgh, sponsored the march. While EQT donates thousands of dollars to various foundations and events in the city including Light Up Night, BikePgh and the Pittsburgh Philharmonic, it is not a friend to the Pittsburgh queer community and has actually donated money to explicitly transphobic and homophobic politicians. EQT donated $7,000 in 2016 to Tim Murphy, the former representative for Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District who voted for multiple homophobic bills and publicly misgendered Chelsea Manning. The corporation also donated $15,000 to Republican candidate Rick Saccone, a co-sponsor of legislation to prohibit same-sex unions in Pennsylvania, during the March special election in the 18th District. EQT isn’t participating in Pride because it is dedicated to change — it just wants an image boost. But EQT alone isn’t to blame. The Delta Foundation of Pittsburgh, western Pennsylvania’s primary LGBTQ+ advocacy group and the organizing force behind Pittsburgh’s Pride since 2008, accepted EQT’s sponsorship beginning in 2017, and agreed to rename the event the EQT Equality March. In a statement released in 2017 shortly after the agreement, Delta said the march would feature more than 100 contingents of cor-

porations, local law enforcement, first responder personnel and nonprofits, making it “one of Pittsburgh’s most colorful and diverse marches.” This move naturally drew criticism — as did other Prides that took similar action. Members of the LGBTQ+ community criticized the organizers of Washington, D.C.’s pride parade, Capital Pride Alliance, for accepting corporate sponsorship — Capital Pride’s main partner is Wells Fargo. San Francisco Pride has also drawn criticism for its inclusion of Google, Facebook and other corporations. Delta and these other advocacy groups are not fit to run Pride in the first place — not just because of rampant corporatization. Delta may put money toward Pride, but it is at the cost of assisting the community it claims to advocate for. According to Delta’s 2014 IRS form, it made $921,379 that year — and more than $500,000 went to pride festivities. Only $17,058 was put towards LGBTQ+ grants and awards. And the board itself is overwhelmingly white, with only two members of color out of ten — a far cry from the trans women of color who organized the start of the LGBTQ+ rights movement. And trans women of color are the group that need the most protection — they face a violent reality. The 2013 report by the National Coalition of

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Anti-Violence Programs found that 67 percent of LGBTQ+ homicide victims were in that demographic. A better Pittsburgh Pride would be one organized by a LGBTQ+ group more suited to representing and assisting the most vulnerable individuals in its community. Delta also ignored the safety of members of the queer community this year when the EQT Equality March celebrated Pittsburgh police, featuring a new police car bedazzled with pride decals. This is antithetical to the first Pride, which was a movement against discrimination, violence and harassment from police, not a big party featuring corporations and ignoring serious issues. Police violence in the queer community is still a large problem — a 2013 report by the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs found that trans people in the United States are 3.7 times more likely to experience police violence compared to the general population. Police have a long history of abusing the queer community going back to Stonewall, when New York police raided the gay bar and terrorized black and brown members of the queer community. Welcoming police into pride marches is not showing progress when their presence remains a threat to queer people of color and is an erasure of their experiences. The strides made by police departments do not erase the violence the system has committed against queer people, and they should not be celebrated at Pride. The People’s Pride March — run by SisTers PGH, a local LGBTQ+ advocacy group run by trans women of color — has gotten it right. When Delta agreed to accept EQT as a main sponsor for Pittsburgh Pride 2017, SisTers PGH began the People’s Pride as a protest. People’s Pride refuses to take on corporate sponsors and is true to the history of Pride, making efforts to be as inclusive as possible and acting as a political call to action. Pride was born out of a fight to exist. Inviting corporations and ignoring the most marginalized members of the queer community is blasphemous to the origins of Pride. It should be a time to celebrate queer visibility, celebrate our history and celebrate the power of our community in our fight for the future.




Mavis Staples, 78, the last original member of her family’s group, The Staple Singers, was the first musical act to perform at this year’s Three Rivers Arts Festival. Darren Campuzano | STAFF WRITER

Darren Campuzano Staff Writer

Any Pittsburgh native raised on trips to the Three Rivers Arts Festival can attest that the exhibition of diverse artists and musicians is always accompanied by thick rainfall. Festival season in the ’Burgh never commences without it. Amid fears of rain delays and cancellations, each of the biggest musical draws of this year’s festival refused to get lost in the flood. Here’s what happened in case you missed it — and look out for more music recaps through the rest of the week. Mavis Staples The kick-off performance of the Three Rivers Arts Festival featured music fans standing shoulder-to-shoulder through rain at Point State Park — all eager to see the original Chicago soul sister Mavis Staples. Staples, now 78, starred in The Staple Singers, a family affair which included her father, brother and two sisters. The group — formed in 1948 — became a voice in music for civil rights activism,

penning songs about marches Martin Luther King Jr. led from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. It’s been 47 years since the group landed its first hit, “Heavy Makes You Happy,” on the iconic Stax Records. But today, Mavis is the only Staples singer left. Local WYEP DJ Rosemary Welsch introduced the last surviving member of the ’70s megagroup, thanking the audience for toughing it out in the rain. Welsch assured them it was a like a proper “baptism” before seeing Staples live. Only the audience wasn’t sprinkled with holy water — they were doused by Pittsburgh rain. But then, much to everyone’s disbelief, the sun found its way past the clouds and the rain ceased. It was as if Staples waved her hand over the sky, pausing any holy ceremonies just long enough to play. With an excited audience — though cold and wet — Staples was ready to roar. The band launched into an inviting “If You’re Ready.” As a throwback to 1973, Staples speaks to her followers of a different time — one away from current political drama and violence. From her 2016 record, “Livin’ On A High Note,” Staples sings about her family to the

breezy beat of “Take Us Back.” With her alwaysreliable background singer Donny Gerrard, Staples’ harmonies reach incredibly low vocal ranges — Motown baritone style. Gerrard’s style is especially apparent in “Can You Get to That” from 2013. But it was the combined vocal effort on a cover of the Talking Heads’ song, “Slippery People,” that revealed such invigorating chemistry between of the vocalists. David Byrne fans love it for its haunting chorus and the singer’s forceful delivery of verses like “Put away that gun / This part is simple / Try to recognize / What is in your mind.” The Talking Heads cover was a treat, but Staples’ original work is just as enticing, and varied enough in sound to keep the audience listening. “Build A Bridge” is supported by a silky harmony, and another song — “Who Told You That” — presents more feisty, confrontational growls from Staples. Both contain searing accompaniments from lead guitarist Rick Holmstrom and bassist Jeff Turmes. Staples nicknamed them, “Dr. FeelGood” and “Dr. Love,” respectively. Both songs come from her latest album, “If All I Was Was Black,” a socially aware piece that

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doesn’t shy away from covering sensitive conversations such as police brutality. At the same time, each of the 10 tracks gleam with Staples’ pride of her upbringing as a poised member of the Staples family. She must get it from her father, whom Staples praises for writing the March on Selma chorale, “Freedom Highway,” proudly declaring that he wrote that one for “The Big March.” Speaking to the crowd is Staples’ trademark and the audience greeted her words with responses of agreement. Despite the diversity of people that arrived at the Arts Fest, Staples found a way past all conflicting agendas for an hour or two. She has the capacity to create unity on festival lawns — which she certainly did at Point State Park. Just in case there were any doubts that a 78-year-old can build a bond among a Pittsburgh crowd, the audience chanted “I’ll take you there” — lyrics to one of her iconic songs — dozens of times. Soon, there was a thunderous uproar of sound from guitarists Dr. Love and Dr. Feel-Good — enough sound to make the clouds release another round of downpour.


People’s Pride, pg. 1 for change that produces increased opportunities and a high quality of life for the LGBT community in Western Pennsylvania.” However, there is a sharp contrast between this statement and the actions Delta has taken since gaining control of Pittsburgh Pride in 2007. Its partnership with EQT is one of the main points of contention. For many Pride-goers, the petrochemical conglomerate’s history of fracking, congressional lobbying and its support of Pennsylvania state leaders who are weak on or oppose LGBTQ+ rights does not align with their political views. Open Secrets, a website that publicizes political contributions, reported that in 2016, EQT donated $8,000 to now-former Rep. Tim Murphy, who received a 0 percent rating from the Human Rights Campaign across the entirety of his 14 years in Congress. It also donated $10,000 to state Rep. Bill Shuster, who received the same rating. In the past, the Delta Foundation has also been criticized for its failure to in-

clude all members of the LGBTQ+ community. Finding Delta and EQT’s partnership unsettling, rising Pitt sophomores Courtney Smith and Sydney Walter — majoring in psychology and biology, respectively — chose to attend People’s Pride instead. “We felt [the People’s Pride] was a bit more inclusive and we liked the fact that it celebrated trans women of color, who were the origin of the Pride movement,” Walter said. “And we also think there is [sic] probably some not so great connections between Delta and fossil fuel companies.” The students felt that a march sponsored by a large corporation could hide the actual intention of Pride celebrations by advertising the company’s name. “We wanted a march that came from the people, not from big companies that are trying to use it as a way to gain more money,” Smith said. “[They think] it’s trendy to be inclusive.” As the students spoke, EQT’s Equality March was underway on Liberty Avenue featuring balloon arches, a Highmark float and confetti. The juxtaposition of the People’s Pride in Market Square and

Pittsburgh Pride only a block away was evident. But the diversity and genuine inclusivity of LGBTQ+ community members who are gender-nonconforming and people of color is something positive that Thomas feels set People’s Pride apart. “Seeing people around us that look like us. Look like all of us, as individuals. Not just white, cis gay folk. Just everyone,” Thomas said. “If you look around here, there’s all types of people here. There’s kids of color dancing in the middle of Pride in the square right now. I don’t think I’ve seen that in Pittsburgh Pride, so that’s a huge difference right there.” Though differences do exist between the two events — in audience and in supporting organizations — Thomas hoped to bury the hatchet with this year’s event after a heated run-in with a police barricade blocking the People’s Pride parade from crossing paths with Pittsburgh’s Pride downtown event in 2017. “First year was a protest, this year we are just celebrating the people. And continuing to celebrate the people and center the people, and not the horrible things around us,” she said.

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Alina Nehlich — a Pittsburgh resident and member of the LGBTQ+ community — shared her thoughts on the chance to celebrate Pride away from the corporate parade without having to completely protest the event. “[I’m] not a big fan of the other parade,” Nehlich said. “Just because it affects a lot of the current problems in our current world in general, like the appropriation of identities and things like that to sell problems and such. It’s a disappointment.” Delta has signed a three-year contract with EQT that expires next year, provided Delta decides to cease its relationship with the oil and natural gas company. With as much negative press as the two organizations have been getting, the LGBTQ+ community may see a change in direction for Pittsburgh Pride in the coming years. In the meantime, Thomas said that she won’t be holding her breath for Delta to change its relationship with EQT. “I want to center the people … To me [Delta and EQT] don’t exist, and will continue not to exist, and we will continue having these events for the people.”


Sports column






Joanna Li

sports gets pushed to the sidelines. In a study by the University of Southern California, researchers discovered that Los Angeles-based networks and “You play ball like a girl,” said “Ham” from their affiliates devoted only 3.2 percent of airtime “The Sandlot,” settling an intense roast battle to covering women’s sports. Not only does game against the baseball uniform-wearing rich kids roundup coverage remain minimal at an average with what seems to be the greatest insult one of 77 seconds, but the boring and uninspiring could possibly say to someone in 1962. portrayal of the sports encourages viewers to tune But the insult is two-fold. out. Considering about 40 percent of professional Female athletes face a deeply entrenched soathletes are female, this amount of airtime fails to cietal idea that fully highlight a fine line exists Eli Savage|STAFF ILLUSTRATOR and analyze a between sports female athlete’s played with athletic accomgrace and those plishments. played with grit. “It seems And apparently, at first that it’s playing a sport respectful, but like a girl is if you comequivalent with pare the frambeing an inferior ing with men’s athlete — one sports, women that lacks the are talked about strength and agin a much more gression it takes boring way,” said to be successful Michela Musto, in sports. Tradithe study’s lead tionally, sports author. “There have reinforced is no joking or heteronormacomplimenting. tive culture, and Those kinds of although the descriptors are extent of this has missing from lessened over women’s sports.” time, there still Frankly, feremains a great male sports only potential for receive a global equality in athmedia coverage letics that has yet to be achieved. craze once every four years at the Summer OlymWhen the Women’s World Cup broke the pic Games. But even between Katie Ledecky’s glass ceiling of females in sports media in 2015 record-breaking swims and Usain Bolt’s nine gold with 750 million TV viewers, it was a major medals, sexism in the 2016 Summer Games covbreakthrough for women’s soccer. But that was erage buzzed among viewers the most. nothing compared to the 3.5 billion viewers of the Men’s 2014 FIFA World Cup — known to most as Find the full story online at simply the World Cup. Mainstream broadcast coverage of women’s Senior Staff Writer

Hannah Schneider Sports Editor

Professional sports environments aren’t traditionally safe spaces for LGBTQ+ athletes and fans — especially in Russia, where policies outlawing “gay propaganda” have been condemned by the European Court of Human Rights as “discriminatory.” With the 2018 World Cup games quickly approaching, FIFA has taken steps to ensure all foreign spectators will feel safe during their stay in Russia. According to The New York Times, Federico Addiechi — FIFA’s head of sustainability and diversity, the division of world soccer’s governing body that oversees human rights issues — said the Russian organizing committee and the Russian government guaranteed FIFA that all spectators will feel “safe, comfortable and welcome.” But the world can’t trust Russia to follow up on their guarantee — especially in regards to safety for the LGBTQ+ community. The Russian government has failed time and time again to protect minority communities, whether it is cases of sexist, racist or homophobic discrimination. And in the face of hate crimes or discrimination, the Russian government repeatedly fails to hold perpetrators accountable. Take the Chechnya purge, for example. Beginning in February 2017, Ramzan Kadyrov — head of the Chechen Republic in southwest Russia — led a months-long series of anti-gay purges. Chechen authorities imprisoned and tortured more than 100 men for being gay or suspected of such, and some reports claim many men died after being held in concentration-style camps. Kadyrov — along with other Chechen government officials — has repeatedly denied reports of this purge. “We don’t have those kinds of people here. We don’t have any gays,” Kadyrov said during an interview on HBO. “To purify our blood, if there are any here, take them.” But according to Human Rights Watch, Kadyrov’s denial of the purge is false. Chechen

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authorities were reportedly purely discriminatory in rounding up men under suspicion of being gay. Later, a May 2017 analysis from Human Rights Watch reported the attendance of two leading Chechen officials at the camps where detainees were being tortured. Not only were LGBTQ+ individuals targeted — Chechen officials reportedly knew. The first official complaint regarding the Chechnya purge was filed by survivor Maxim Lapunov in September 2017. But Kadyrov and his accomplices have seen no threat of consequence — more than a year later, no criminal cases have been opened. Chechen and Russian authorities have since denied any knowledge of the persecution. But failure to open any criminal cases to even investigate Lapunov’s claims is suspicious. Chechnya is a republic of Russia, meaning Russia doesn’t have complete jurisdictive power over it. But as a part of the Russian Federation, the Russian government shouldn’t be so passive in allowing such abhorrent hate crimes to go unpunished. The Russian government has a responsibility to hold Chechnya accountable for its actions. At first, Russian officials used the absence of official complaints to justify the absence of an effective investigation. But since Lapunov has stepped forward, the root of an absent investigation seems to extend deeper — and further, past Chechnya. Anti-LGBTQ+ sentiments permeate deep throughout Russian society at large. According to a 2016 poll by the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association, 28 percent of Russian citizens agree that being LGBTQ+ should be considered a crime. This attitude could translate into violence — a recent poll found 39 percent of Russian citizens in World Cup host cities think it’s likely “that someone will attack foreign LGBT people” during FIFA World Cup 2018.

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Fun summer job with a growing company. Asphalt repairs, seal coating, and competitive wages. 412-999-9473


Interested in paying off your student loan within a year? A car loan or credit card? Only serious applicants need reply. Text or email for free consultation. Rick 412-779-0308 or

SUMMER WORK Landscape help, wall and patio construction, planting, mulching, and concrete work. Near 279 Camp Horne Rd exit. Full time and part time.

Perfect location, spacious two bedroom apartment, free heat, move-in August 1st. Call 412-361-2695

Squirrel Hill Greenfield/Squirrel Hill - Furnished bedroom in house with other Pitt students. On bus line, laundry, off-street parking, large backyard. Rent:

June 13, 2018