"There are still countries in which homosexuality is persecuted, sometimes even by jail sentences, and in which the rainbow flag is forbidden. Russia is one of these countries."
By
Samuel Leighton-Dore

10 Jul 2018 - 10:08 AM  UPDATED 10 Jul 2018 - 10:56 AM

A group of football fans from South America have taken a creative approach to showing their support for members of the LGBTIQ+ community in Russia during the FIFA World Cup.

Through their project Hidden Flags, the six friends coordinate different coloured football jerseys to recreate the rainbow flag and photograph it in various public settings - often with law enforcement nearby.

"When Gilbert Baker designed the rainbow flag in 1978, he did so to create a symbol and an icon for the LGTB community," the group's website reads.

"A symbol, recognisable across the world, that people could use to express their pride."

It continues: "Unfortunately, 40 years later, there are still countries in which homosexuality is persecuted, sometimes even by jail sentences, and in which the rainbow flag is forbidden. Russia is one of these countries."

"Because of this, 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."

The friends, who are from Spain, The Netherlands, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina and Colombia, are documenting their trip, visiting iconic Russian locations in order to "fight against a struggle that will never be silenced".

For audiovisual editor Vanesa Paola Ferrario, the opportunity to be involved in the project was one not to be missed.

"I said yes immediately and then ran home and cried in my flat," she writes on the group's website.

"For me, Russia is a symbol of homophobia, with a government that allows discriminators to be protected by the law, and somewhere where people aren’t free to love."

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She adds: "I was interested in this project because it allows us to use our voices for those that cannot. An idea that is subtle and yet so powerful at the same time."

"And I loved the reinterpretation of FIFA’s own shirts (an association known for its issues with male chauvinism). These are the steps we have to take to move the world forward”.

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