Russia has notoriously passed ant-gay legislation and arrested LGBT men and women.
Despite warnings from LGBT watchdogs worldwide, the President of the Russian LGBT Sport Federation, Alexander Agapov, is showing LGBT pride by waving his rainbow flag at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium during the World Cup against Saudi Arabia.
According to Outsports he loves his country’s soccer team and despite Russian President Vladimir Putin’s homophobic cabinet, he still waved it all throughout the game.
He showed his spirit by waving the banner at each one of Russia’s goals; five in all.
“I believe you should practice what you preach and, if I’m telling LGBT football fans to be visible, then I should do it myself,” Agapov told The Associated Press. “Each time the Russian team scored a goal I was waving the rainbow flag … I was showing my support.”
Fans have been assured by officials that they will be allowed to bring the Pride flags into the arena and Agapov says he’s had no significant run-ins. The real danger is homophobic radicals who have no qualms about attacking those who they perceive to be gay.
The English Football Association (FA) will be in Vogograd on Monday. They have allowed its symbol to be used in support of LGBT rights when England meets Tunsia.
The soccer LGBT fan network Three Lions Pride will unfurl the flag by its organizer Di Cunningham.
“The FA definitely wants it to be seen and wants us to go,” Cunningham said. “They have endorsed it. To create the banner we had to clear the use of the image’s rights with them. We will also be wearing specially designed scarves with the same design. Both have the FA’s endorsement. It’s a very limited run. We are not allowed to sell them or make any more of them. The FA wants the visibility and association with LGBTQ+ inclusion.”