Gay Vancouver councillor meets with Russian Honorary Consul
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Immediately after city council unanimously voted to send Coun. Tim Stevenson, who is gay, to the 2014 Sochi Olympics, the Honorary Consul of the Russian Federation called him to ask for a meeting.
“I didn’t know what to expect,” Stevenson said of the meeting, which happened at City Hall on Thursday morning.
But his conversation with Dr. Artem Tcherkassov, Honorary Consul for the Russian Federation, went very well.
“He was very gracious,” Stevenson said. “He said that anything he could do to help set up meetings, anything he could do to help with my passport, he was happy to do.”
Stevenson is traveling as deputy mayor to meet with the International Olympic Committee to discuss a permanent Pride House and the inclusion of sexual orientation in its charter. The city will pay for his journey, while donations from the community and developers will pay for the other two delegates.
The Honorary Consul was aware of the city’s mission and its concerns with the anti-gay laws passed in Russia, Stevenson said.
“He indicated he saw this as a beginning of a dialogue with Vancouver and Russia, and would like to meet with me after I return,” he said, adding he was very grateful Tcherkassov reached out so quickly.
“That’s a good sign.”
B.C. Premier Christy Clark also threw her support behind Stevenson’s mission and Vancouver’s choice to send him as a delegate.
“I think it sends the right message,” Clark said in an interview with Metro on Thursday. “What is happening in Russia is wrong and the gay community deserves to live free from fear, whatever country they live in.”
The province is not sending anyone to the Olympics.