By Ran Aubrey Frazier
Originally published on Advocate.com February 06 2014 8:19 PM ET
As Friday morning arrives in Sochi, with mere hours before the Opening Ceremonies of the 2014 Winter Olympics begin, Google has changed its logo and homepage to declare its support for LGBT Russians.
The logo, known as a Google Doodle, has been revised to depict outlines of figures in athletic poses, showcasing a range of Olympic winter sports. These figures appear against a rainbow backdrop, which evokes the colors of an LGBT pride flag.
Beneath the logo, the Google homepage quotes the Olympic Charter as follows: "The practice of sport is a human right. Every individual must have the possibility of practicing sport, without discrimination of any kind and in the Olympic spirit, which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play."
This section of the Olympic Charter, which is the fourth principle of Olympism, has been utilized by LGBT activists to pressure the IOC to investigate the legal implications of Russia's nationwide ban on so-called gay propaganda.
LGBT activists were quick to praise Google for their logo. In a press release, Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin applauded the company, which has received a perfect score on HRC's Corporate Equality Index for several consecutive years.
"Google has once again proven itself to be a true corporate leader for equality," said Griffin. "Alongside Olympic sponsors like AT&T, Google has made a clear and unequivocal statement that Russia’s anti-LGBT discrimination is indefensible. Now it’s time for each and every remaining Olympic sponsor to follow their lead. The clock is ticking, and the world is watching.”
The revamped logo and homepage will be seen in billions of searches over the course of the Games, as Google is the world's most-visited website.