From Vlad’s lipstick to queer beer and gay mountains, it could only be our 10 favourite rainbow-themed protests so far against Russia’s anti-gay laws.
It’s already an iconic image up there with the Obama “Hope” poster. And this lash-tastic portrait of the Russian president will dominate the next fortnight as the Winter Olympics take place in Sochi against a backdrop of pro-gay protest. Oddly enough there is also a pro-Putin group called “Putin’s Lipstick Army” – a movement made up of “young, smart and beautiful girls” who promise to “rip it up for Putin”.
The tech giant unveiled a rainbow-themed “Google doodle” on the eve of the Sochi Games, accompanied by a passage from the Olympic charter: “The practice of sport is a human right. Every individual must have the possibility of practicing sport, without discrimination of any kind and in the Olympic spirit.” The rainbow logo is also visible on Google.ru inside Russia.
Germany’s official Winter Olympics kit has been unkindly described as “a cross between a pot-bellied pig and a parrot”. As it was unveiled in October it was widely seen as a political message to Russia, although designer Willy Bogner said the colours were simply “inspired by the great atmosphere of the times”.
British beer company BrewDog has brought out a range called “Hello my name is Vladimir” which mocks Russia’s anti-gay laws. The promotional blurb reads: “Hello, my name is Vladimir. I am a beer for uber hetero men who ride horses while topless and carrying knives.”
New Zealand’s Blake Skjellerup is one of only a handful of openly gay athletes competing in Sochi. The speed skater is unlikely to win a medal, but he’ll be wearing his own rainbow pin badge with pride. This week he tweeted: “I have decided that the month of February is officially ‘Hug a Vladimir Putin’ month.”
Did you know Wimbledon tennis legend Björn Borg now sells pants? Well he does – and rainbow-coloured ones at that. And his Swedish clothing company recently splashed adverts in the Moscow Times featuring a stack of undies beneath the caption Björn Borg says da! (Borg says yes!)
Canada’s Institute of Diversity and Inclusion has set the homo-erotic bar high with this YouTube clip, billed as the “gayest ad ever”. It comes with the slogan: “The Games have always been a little gay. Let’s fight to keep them that way.” It’s soundtracked by the Human League’s Don’t You Want Me, so everyone’s a winner.
Anti-Putin demonstrators around the world took part in a day of action earlier this week. These balloons were released in Rio, Brazil, where the next summer Games take place. Rio Gay Pride is one of the most famous on earth and attracts a million visitors.
Jon says it’s one of his oldest ties but it somehow managed to work its way to the top of the pile ahead of Wednesday’s Channel 4 News, as Dispatches presenter Liz MacKean reported on the violence and intimidation facing gay people in Russia in 2014. Watch Hunted on 4OD.
And Channel 4 has resprayed its logo in time for Sochi. “This is a typically Channel 4 way of celebrating the start of the Winter Games and showing our support to all of the athletes out in Sochi, gay or straight,” said Dan Brooke, chief marketing officer. The channel has also connected with its inner Soho cabaret with the release of a special song, Gay Mountain. We think it’s probably something to do with gay pride and mountains. Be proud!
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