Athletes will be allowed to make political statements in press conferences at the Winter Olympics but will be punished for doing so while competing or during Games ceremonies, Thomas Bach confirmed on Monday. The International Olympic Committee president vowed that no athlete would be denied “freedom of speech” whilst in Sochi, despite the Olympic Charter banning demonstrations or “political, religious or racial propaganda” in any Games areas.

President Vladimir Putin said Sunday that Russia does not discriminate against gays and that millions of Russians love pop icon Elton John "despite his orientation," as he sought to defuse calls from gay rights activists to boycott the Winter Olympics. In an interview with foreign journalists less than three weeks before the opening of the Olympics in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Putin reiterated that Russia would welcome all athletes and visitors, regardless of their sexuality.

In 1994, rumors circulated that President Bill Clinton would nominate James Hormel, the openly gay American philanthropist, to the post of U.S. ambassador to Fiji. While the reason Hormel was not nominated was never clear, some argued that the White House did not pursue his nomination because the Fijian Penal Code criminalized homosexuality at the time.

Anita L. DeFrantz has her bags packed for the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia — but heck, she's had her bags packed for athletic events around the world for the last 40 years, as a competitor and as a member of the International Olympic Committee (currently on the executive board) and the U.S. Olympic Committee (board member).

This past week, in an article reflecting on recent successes and setbacks for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people around the world, I wrote: “There have been retrogressive steps in several countries, including Nigeria, and Uganda where new regressive bills have been proposed, although thankfully, to date, none have passed into law.”

Uganda's parliament has passed a bill to toughen the punishment for homosexual acts to include life imprisonment in some cases. The anti-homosexuality bill also makes it a crime punishable by a prison sentence not to report gay people. The prime minister opposed the vote, saying not enough MPs were present. The bill has been condemned by world leaders since it was mooted in 2009 - US President Barack Obama called it "odious".

The U.S. Navy will provide military benefits to gay couples stationed in Japan after previously denying dependent status to same-sex spouses there, according to defense officials. The change came after U.S. and Japanese officials agreed to an interpretation of the status of forces agreement between the two nations, concluding that the term “spouses” applied to all individuals who are legally married to Department of Defense personnel.

In a bleak little apartment on the outskirts of Addis Ababa, nearly a dozen men in their 20s take turns trying on a pair of black skinny jeans and watching Project Runway episodes downloaded off YouTube. There's no plumbing, Internet or furniture, but because the space is private, it's paradise.