Russia Allows Rainbow Flags at 2018 FIFA World Cup

by Ryan Lynch

South Florida Gay News

Sunday December 10, 2017

Russia will allow rainbow flags to be displayed during the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Russian soccer officials said the symbol of LGBT inclusion will not be cause for arrest, according to Gay Star News. This comes despite a anti-gay propaganda law that makes the display of these symbols in public illegal.

'There will definitely be no ban on wearing rainbow symbols in Russia," Russian Football Union official Alexei Smertin told GSN. "It's clear you can come here and not be fined for expressing feelings. The law is about propaganda to minors ... I can't imagine that anyone is going to go into a school and speak."

Previously, Russian officials have enforced the anti-gay propaganda law at other sporting events. At the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia, there was a ban on rainbow-related symbols.

According to GSN, activist Vladimir Luxuria was arrested twice during the 2014 Olympics. Once was for holding an LGBT protest sign and once was for wearing a rainbow dress to a hockey game.

Some humans rights groups, like FARE, have approved of the decision.

"He's giving some reassurances and I think in the end that's all that people want," FARE executive director Piara Powar. "People want to know that they can come here safely, that they will be protected, that they are wanted."

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