Meet The Activists Who Are Bringing The Pride Flag To The World Cup

This World Cup has been brilliant. On the field, it has been one of the best in years, with great goals, high drama and shocks aplenty, while off the field, millions of visitors have been impressed by the atmosphere in Russia, whether from fans from around the world turning the streets into a carnival or from locals opening their arms to tourists.

The upshot of this has been that some of the controversies that surrounded the tournament in the build-up - human rights and LGBT+ rights, to name just two - have been shunted into the background while everyone got on with the football and the partying.

One group, however, have been getting around some of the anti-LGBT laws in Russia in a particularly clever and striking way.

Credit: thehiddenflag.org
Credit: thehiddenflag.org

"In Russia, the act of displaying the LGBT flag in public can get you arrested," wrote one Twitter user in a post that showed the activists wandering around Moscow.

"So these six 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."

For each photo, the fans line up wearing the colours of Spain, Holland, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina and Colombia - for non-football fans, that makes up the colours of the Pride flag.

Credit: thehiddenflag.org
Credit: thehiddenflag.org

"We have taken advantage of the fact the country is hosting the World Cup at the same time as Pride Month, to denounce their behaviour and take the rainbow flag to the streets of Russia," wrote the organisers of the protest, The Hidden Flag, on their website.

"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."

Powerful stuff.

In Russia, LGBT rights are routinely sidelined and Pride parades are often attacked. There is a controversial law against so-called 'gay propaganda' that has resulted in international protests, while LGBT individuals are often subject to violence, intimidation and repression.

However, one of the responders to the tweet - which has been like nearly 200,000 times and retweeted 75,000 times - laid bare the struggles of LGBT individuals in Russia.

They wrote: "But you know, i am LGBT person myself and I am also Russian and during the World Cup, Russian authorities would not arrest foreigners in order not to cause a conflict but Russian activists would have already been arrested or beaten to death."

Featured Image Credit: thehiddenflag.org

Mike Wood

Mike Meehall Wood is a freelance journalist and translator. He writes for LADbible, VICE and countless sports publications, focusing on rugby league, football and boxing. He is a graduate of Leeds University and maintains a fizzy pop obsession. Contact Mike at [email protected]

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