The Fifa World Cup settled the global gaze on Russia for the past few weeks. While July 2018 has been a time of football celebration, it's also Pride Month. So while 'gay propaganda' is still banned in Russia, that doesn't mean there's been a lack of rainbow support - where there's will, there's a way.
Take a Spanish writer in red, a Dutch estate agent in orange, a Brazilian marketing manager in yellow, Mexican documentary maker in green, an Argentinian audio-visual editor in blue and a Columbian art director in purple.
Individually, they’re six activists from around the world, merely wearing a single colour in support of their respective soccer teams, and walking the streets of Moscow together. Collectively, they comprise the colours of the Russia-banned pride flag. They are #thehiddenflag, and support is streaming in from all corners for their bold display.
But let me backtrack to explain why this is such an important move...
Proud support, hidden in plain sight
Gilbert Baker first designed the rainbow flag in 1978 as a symbol and icon for the LGTB community.
Mashable reports that Portland designer Daniel Quasar recently launched a Kickstarter for his newly designed LGBTQ Pride flag. Quasar has crafted a flag featuring multiple new colours, each representing a gender identity/sexual orientation, as well as arrows, suggesting forward cultural movement.
But you won’t have seen the new new pride flag or indeed any official 'gay propoganda' out and about in Russia during the celebratory World Cup festivities, because while homosexuality was decriminalised in Russia in 1993, prejudice has remained widespread.
The Russian law bans giving children any information about homosexuality and is widely thought to have made life harder for gay Russians, who were already battling deep social prejudices. The Disney film Beauty and the Beast fell foul of the law.
So literally wearing your colours on your chest with a flag or t-shirt in the colours of the gay flag in Russia really is risky business.
AdWeek calls it a “silent protest for gay rights, hidden in plain sight.” The bold move is gaining support across the globe, with Lad Bible calling it ‘inspirational politics’.
This week, I’m going to keep it short and sweet, and let the tweets do the talking…
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