Hosts of this year’s World Cup, Russia, is one of the most homophobic countries in the world. The simple act of carrying a rainbow flag can be punishable with a prison sentence.
This has meant that may LGBT+ football fans have either had to hide their sexuality while attending the World Cup with some deciding to not attend at all.
A new group called The Hidden Flag has come up with an ingenious way of displaying the rainbow flag while attending the World Cup.
The six activists resorted to wearing uniforms from their countries’ football teams, turning themselves into the flag and they walked around Moscow with pride.
Last but not least, out of this scary, marvelous, cool, humbling experience. I got to meet what I can now call my gay/straight brothers and sisters in arms. Beautiful, good hearted, strong people. 3 days with you keeping the flag in order always being last in everything, taught me more than a life time of what I can now call gay privilege. @epjunior such a calm soul, always not on purpose making us laugh. Still displaying toughness when needed (you know what specific moment I mean) @guille_leon the definition of good, no malice, no hidden motives, saying what you mean therapeuting me off of the ledge. @edea one of the strongest people I have ever met, teaching me I need to be more involved in the fight for the LGBTI rights. @_vaneferrario_ tied in strength and tenderness, kept my “paranoid crazy feelings” in check, if I never said it, thank you! @erichouter the straighty of the group, 🙂 you showed me what a good ally is, will never forget your laugh, and the amount of food you can consume, “wanna share” hahaha. @tles such a good photographer, such a good person, thanks for the patience with my hyperactive fits and my AD unsolicited advice @michicassis thanks for the passion and direction I know I made jokes but we needed it! @pedrosattin one of the most creative people I have met, keep up the good work dude. @ines_massa thanks for the organization and saving my ass from having to stay in Russia for forever. So many more people to thank so little space, let’s keep the #thehiddenflag movement going. let’s be proud every day. #pride #colombiatupapá
They released a statement on their website:
“When Gilbert Baker designed the rainbow flag in 1978, he did so to create a symbol and an icon for the LGTB community. A symbol, recognisable across the world, that people could use to express their pride.
“Unfortunately, 40 years later, there are still countries in which homosexuality is persecuted, sometimes even by jail sentences, and in which the rainbow flag is forbidden.
“Russia is one of these countries.
“Because of this, we have taken advantage of the fact the country is hosting the World Cup at the same time as Pride Month, to denounce their behaviour and take the rainbow flag to the streets of Russia.
“Yes, in the plain light of day, in front of the Russian authorities, Russian society and the whole world, we wave the flag with pride.
“How? In a way that no one would ever suspect. Football shirts.
“Spain, The Netherlands, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina and Colombia. Six countries. Six brave LGBT activists, that together, form the flag that toured around iconic sites in Russia, travelling to every corner to fight against a struggle that will never be silenced.”
The striking images have become a big hit online with support for the campaign going viral.
Love what these these brave #activists did in #Russia at the #WorldCup
Wearing shirts of their native teams, they turned themselves into a #LGBTQ #rainbow #flag
(displaying the LGBT flag in public can get you arrested) & walked around moscow with pride 🏳️🌈 #TheHiddenFlag pic.twitter.com/lKt3C5I65y
— Omar Kuddus (@OmarKuddus) July 8, 2018
In Russia, gay propaganda including the rainbow #LGBTQ flag is illegal. To protest the country’s homophobic discrimination, six activists from @FELGTB showed their pride in plain sight, with soccer jerseys. #thehiddenflag pic.twitter.com/PEQSSyisas
— Billboard Pride (@BillboardPride) July 9, 2018
The group have also released a video about showing their pride, watch below:
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