After reports of a gay world cup fan being beaten and suffering brain injury, and dire travel warnings being issued to western gays attending events, it didn't bode well for world cup events. However, I guess for the sake of the world cup, Russian authorities have said that the rainbow flag will be allowed at the world cup games. This despite Russian law itself prohibiting the flying of the rainbow flag under it's gay "propaganda" legislation.
So taking advantage of this, the head of the Russian LGBT sports federation Alexander Agapov attended a game in Moscow waving the rainbow flag. Surprisingly it went OK, and nobody was arrested.
Alexander Agapov, the president of the Russian LGBT Sports Federation, held up the rainbow flag — a symbol of the gay rights movement — during Putin's speech at Luzhniki Stadium before Russia beat Saudi Arabia 5-0 on Thursday.
"I believe you should practice what you preach and, if I'm telling LGBT football fans to be visible, then I should do it myself," Agapov told The Associated Press. "Each time the Russian team scored a goal I was waving the rainbow flag ... I was showing my support."
Agapov said security staff had no problem with the flag but he did receive abuse from another spectator outside the stadium, who said "I don't want that kind of world."
Agapov's federation holds sports events for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender athletes but he said he can't advertise them without hiring security because of the risk of attacks.
Russian officials have said the rainbow flag would be allowed at World Cup venues, even though a 2013 law bans so-called "propaganda" of homosexuality to under-18s. In practice, it's been used to stifle debate or to prevent people from displaying symbols of gay identity in any public context where a child could conceivably see or hear. New York Times
While the President is giving his speech. A #rainbowflag is at the stadium at the opening match! #lgbt #wc2018 #russia pic.twitter.com/M9dTjx3xJF— Alexander (@Konijnvanolland) June 14, 2018