Six activists have taken to the streets of Moscow sporting their national football shirts in protest of Russian anti-LGBTI discrimination.
The group combined the colors of their shirts to form the rainbow flag, and creatively subvert laws banning LGBTI ‘propaganda’. The project, named The Hidden Flag, even has its own website.
The Hidden Flag has so far been photographed in as many places around Moscow as possible. Several amusing pictures show them standing in formation next to bemused looking policeman.
The group explained that since the creation of the rainbow flag 40 years ago, displays of LGBTI pride are still illegal in many countries.
Russia is of course chief among these, and authorities regularly attempt to crush LGBTI activism.
‘That is why, taking advantage of the fact that the country is hosting the World Cup, at the same time that Pride Month is celebrated in the rest of the world, we decided to denounce this situation and take our flag to the streets of Russia,’ says The Hidden Flag (in Spanish).
‘Yes, in broad daylight, in front of the Russian authorities, society and the whole world. With pride.
‘Spain, Holland, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina and Colombia. Six countries, six courageous LGBTI activists who, together, formed our flag and toured emblematic places of Russia, taking to every corner a fight that will never be silenced.’
The group consists of Marta Márquez (Spain), Eric Houter (Holland), Eloi Pierozan Junior (Brazil), Guillermo León (Mexico), Vanesa Paola Ferrario (Argentina) and Mateo Fernández Gómez (Colombia).
Twitter praises The Hidden Flag
People have taken to Twitter to congratulate the group for their bravery.
in russia, the act of displaying the LGBT flag in public can get you arrested. so these 6 activists from latin america resorted to creativity: wearing uniforms from their countries’ football teams, they turned themselves into the flag and walked around moscow with pride. 🏳️🌈 pic.twitter.com/7Q2HgLemzh
— gabi (@harleivy) July 8, 2018
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
What these activists did in Russia is SO AMAZING and brave. Displaying the LGBTQ+ flag in public can get people arrested so they became a human rainbow by walking the streets wearing the shirts of their countries’ football teams! #TheHiddenFlag https://t.co/6n2frIA9MO 🏳️🌈 pic.twitter.com/JabkQg8rze
— Em. (@EmilyBashforth) July 8, 2018
The 2018 Russia World Cup has so far seen several anti-LGBTI incidents on behalf of various authorities.
Legendary activist Peter Tatchell was arrested and later released for staging a one-man protest against Putin’s failure to act on Chechnya’s persecution of gays.
Representatives of Three Lions Pride were told to take down their pride flag during England’s match against Panama. This was later overruled by Fifa following complaints from the group.
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