As part of The Hidden Flag project, a digital ad agency from Spain called LOLA MullenLowe teamed up with FELGTB, Spain’s Federation for LGBT rights, and took secret rainbow photos around Russia during the World Cup. The activists stood together, wearing different colored soccer jerseys of different countries in the World Cup with colors in order of the pride flag. The project is meant to stand up against the country’s anti-LGBT policies.
“When Gilbert Baker designed the rainbow flag in 1978, he did so to create a symbol and an icon for the LGB community,” the website reads. “Unfortunately, 40 years later, there are still some 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.”
LOLA MullenLowe’s head of communications told BuzzFeed News that the organization wanted to come up with a safe way to protest Russia’s policies. They got the volunteers in and out of the country before the project was released.
“Russia is a terrible place for LGBTI people and we wanted it to be safe for volunteers,” Okrent told BuzzFeed. “It’s been an amazing reaction, and feeling like part of something that could hopefully make a change.”