In Russia, homosexuality is technically decriminalized but people who form “non-traditional” relationships have it pretty hard there. For example, in 2013 the country passed a law banning the spreading of “gay propaganda” among minors, which the European Court of Human Rights ruled was discriminatory and encouraged homophobia. During the 2018 FIFA World Cup, however, a group of LGBT activists managed to undermine the law in a particularly genius way.


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Organizing a project called #HiddenFlag they smuggled in a Pride flag into the country and paraded it right in the center of its capital, Moscow. “We have taken advantage of the fact the country is hosting the World Cup at the same time as Pride Month, to denounce their behavior and take the rainbow flag to the streets of Russia,” they write. “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.”

Six people from six countries (Spain, The Netherlands, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, and Colombia) dressed in jerseys that together formed the iconic flag, and their photos instantly went viral all over the internet. Scroll down to check out the images and tell us what you think about the initiative in the comments.

More info: thehiddenflag.org | lola-mullenlowe.com

In Russia, homosexuality is technically decriminalized but spreading “gay propaganda” can get you arrested

So six LGBT activists from six countries that participated in the World Cup used their countries’ football shirts to protest against it

When arranged in a particular order, the jerseys of the models formed the Pride flag

The Hidden Flag initiative was the brainchild of a digital ad agency called LOLA MullenLowe and FELGTB, Spain’s federation for LGBT rights

They said they wanted to come up with a safe way to speak out

“Russia is a terrible place for LGBTI people and we wanted it to be safe for the volunteers,” Sara Okrent, LOLA MullenLowe’s head of communications, told BuzzFeed

The idea they settled with allowed the volunteers to get in and out of the country before everything became public

Participants were found through friends at the company and email callouts

“It’s been an amazing reaction, and feeling like part of something that could hopefully make a change”

Gilbert Baker designed the rainbow flag in 1978

“He did so to create a symbol,<…> recognizable across the world, that people could use to express their pride,” the organizers wrote

“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”

In 2013, the country passed a law banning the spreading of “gay propaganda” among minors

The European Court of Human Rights ruled it was discriminatory and encouraged homophobia

Homosexuality was decriminalized there in 1993, but anti-gay prejudice is widespread

The Hidden Flag instantly went viral

As of this post, one tweet sharing pics of the project has amassed an incredible 350,000 likes

Love is love!

People are in love with the creativity of the idea