These Activists Secretly Took Gay Pride Photos While In Russia, And It’s Sneaky As Hell

During the World Cup, LGBT activists wanted to find subtle ways to celebrate Pride Month without incurring the wrath of Russian police. So, they came up with an ingenious and sneaky solution.

LOLA MullenLowe, a digital ad agency from Spain, recently teamed up with FELGTB, Spain’s federation for LGBT rights to display Pride Month’s rainbow flag in Moscow during the FIFA World Cup

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. 

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.