A gay couple is winning a campaign to be the ‘face’ of the Ikea Russia catalogue.
Swedish furniture company Ikea is offering a special competition for families, couples, friends and individuals to participate in a photo shoot in the reconstructed room of the latest magazine issue cover.
The Face from the Cover was launched seven years ago to draw attention to the new edition of the catalogue, inviting people to Ikea shopping centers to be the next models.
The winner receives an Ikea gift card.
And in the current online competition, which runs until the end of October, a very unlikely choice is in the lead.
Lev Polyakov and his boyfriend posed together in the Khimki store in Moscow, and thousands of people are hoping they will win.
At time of publishing, 6,895 people have voted for them. The second place couple has 834 votes.
Young people on Russian social media site VK are leading the campaign, with group organizers from ‘Straight Alliance for LGBT Equality’ urging their 20,000 followers to vote for the same-sex couple.
Last year, Ikea was forced to close down an online magazine in Russia over fears it would cross the country’s ‘gay propaganda’ law.
In March, they said they would ‘observe the legislation of the countries where we work’ and therefore made the decision to stop publishing the magazine. The Family Life magazine showed same-sex couples and opposite-sex couples enjoying the flat-pack furniture.
However, Ikea Russia have told Gay Star News they will allow the people to have their say on who wins the competition.
‘We at Ikea are for the many. We welcome anybody regardless of their age, gender identity, sexual orientation, physical ability, ethnicity, race, nationality, religion, marital or family status, or any other dimension of their identity. This principal permeates every aspect of Ikea, be it employment, or any event organized by Ikea,’ a spokesperson told GSN.
‘In the contest, as in any activities promoted by Ikea, the very same non-discriminating principles apply.’
UPDATE: Shortly after Ikea Russia sent this statement to Gay Star News, the site no longer shows the same-sex couple. GSN is investigating.
UPDATE 2: Ikea Russia has restored the same-sex couple on the competition page. They now have over 7,000 votes.