Published On: Wed, Nov 29th, 2017

Gay fans warned about holding hands while in Russia for World Cup

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Gay fans traveling to the 2018 World Cup will be advised to refrain from public displays of affection, such as holding hands, while in Russia next summer.

Transgender fans and people of certain races will also be urged to exercise caution while visiting Russia, a country that is far less welcoming to LGBT and minority communities than others in western Europe and the Americas.

FARE – Football Against Racism in Europe – an organization that has partnered with FIFA to combat discrimination in and around soccer, will publish a comprehensive guide for traveling fans that will educate them on homophobia and racism in Russia.

gay flag

Homosexuality is no longer a crime in Russia, but it is not accepted by large portions of the country’s population. A 2013 bill introduced a law that prohibits open discussion of homosexuality. It forbids schools from educating students about homosexuality.

The law classified discussion of “non-traditional” relationships as propaganda.

Piara Powar, FARE’s executive director, speaking Tuesday ahead of the release of the organization’s guide, explained its purpose: “The guide will advise gay people to be cautious in any place which is not seen to be welcoming to the LGBT community. The same message is there for black and ethnic minority fans – do go to the World Cup, but be cautious.”

“If you have gay fans walking down the street holding hands, will they face danger in doing so?” he continued. “That depends on which city they are in and the time of day.”

“Issues relating to the LGBT community are not part of the public discourse,” he said. “Gay people have a place in Russia which is quite hidden and underground.”

Since the “gay propaganda” law was introduced, hate crimes against LGBT people in Russia have doubled.



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