The project, entitled “Hidden Flag,” involved six activists from different countries wearing multicolored football jerseys and arranging themselves in such a way that the rainbow flag’s colors were displayed.
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
Displaying an LGBT flag in Russia is currently grounds for fines and even, in some cases, arrest.
“When Gilbert Baker designed the rainbow flag in 1978, he did so to create a symbol and an icon for the LGTB community,” LOLA MullenLowe’s website says. “Unfortunately, 40 years later, there are still countries in which homosexuality is persecuted, sometimes even with jail sentences, and in which the rainbow flag is forbidden. Russia is one of these countries.”
“Russia is a terrible place for LGBTI people and we wanted it to be safe for the volunteers,” Sara Okrent, head of communications for LOLA MullenLowe, tells BuzzFeed.
The volunteers were able to get in and out of the country before the photo project was released, thereby avoiding any backlash.
“It’s been an amazing reaction, and feeling like part of something that could hopefully make change,” Okrent adds.
This isn’t the first time that activists have chosen to “flout the rules” in order to display their pride, either.
In New York, The Pride Center of Staten Island is not allowed to participate in the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade — so, the group walked along the parade route in colorful outfits and created their own makeshift flag.
In the United States (in Staten Island) openly gay groups are forbidden to walk in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade so we ran down the parade route like this.
Solidarity with the brave activists in Russia ✊????️???? pic.twitter.com/Cl9yqGzmtn
— #ENOUGH (@kc_hankins) July 9, 2018