The rainbow flag was said to be a form of “propaganda.”
Triathletes have been banned from displaying the rainbow flag during competitions, and can face disqualification from the event if they do so.
The ban has been imposed by the International Triathlon Union under their new rules. The rules now read: “Athletes will avoid displaying any kind of demonstration of political, religious, sexual orientation or racial propaganda.”
Olalla Cernuda defended the policy to Outsports, saying that the policy “is a similar wording that is included in many other sporting organizations.”
However, this is not the case. The only sporting organisation with a similar policy is the Olympic charter, however it omits sexual orientation from its rules, which reads: “No kind of demonstration of political, religious or racial propaganda is permitted in any Olympic sites, venues or other areas.”
Speaking to Outsports, triathlete Jack Bristow slammed the policy, saying: “This change of policy is a step backwards.
“I’ve flown a rainbow flag at a race before because I’m proud to be a gay athlete and I want to be a visible example so that other LGBT people feel like they can get involved.
“To have my pride equated with political extremism and to be told to go back in the closet for my own safety is insulting.”
Bristow vowed to Outsports that he would fly the flag at the European age-group championships this coming May. The news outlet notes that the updated policy doesn’t prohibit flags surrounding gender identity, so in theory the trans pride or gender non-binary flags could be flown.
Last year, openly gay Team GB athlete Tom Bosworth said he was going to fight for LGBTQ rights when he competes in the World Champions in Qatar later this year.
Men who have sex with men in Qatar could face anywhere between one to three years in prison, and the country does not let its LGBTQ citizens campaign for equal rights.
“I’ve told my fiancé, ‘don’t even consider coming… I don’t want you or my family to come,’” Bosworth said.
However, Bosworth said he’s willing to risk imprisonment in Doha at the World Championships defending LGBTQ rights.
“I will not be afraid to speak out,” Bosworth said. “I’m going there to do a job and compete but I want to do that safely, happily and I want those opportunities for everybody.”