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A Kiss To Protest Russia’s Anti-Gay Laws?

Gold medallists team Russia celebrate at the women's 4x400 metres relay victory ceremony during the IAAF World Athletics Championships at the Luzhniki stadium in MoscowKseniya Ryzhova and Tatyana Firova shared a rather unexpected kiss on the winner’s podium at the World Athletics Championships after they won the women’s 4×400 relay. The pair took the gold. The Russian athletes may have been protesting Russia’s anti-gay laws by locking lips.

Their kiss came after Swedish athlete Emma Green Tregaro was told to change the color of her fingernails. She had painted them in the colors of the rainbow in protest of the anti-gay laws in Russia.

Pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva has not commented upon the kiss, but did react to the fingernail polish saying that it was disrespectful and that “If we allow to promote and do all this stuff on the street, we are very afraid about our nation because we consider ourselves like normal, standard people.”

She later claimed that she’s not anti-gay.

Russia’s anti-gay laws have come into the media’s focus lately as buildup to the 2014 Olympics began in earnest. When the so-called gay propaganda ban was voted upon, the press largely ignored it. The law has wide-spread support in Russia.

Russia has also been suffering from a massive amount of racist and antisemitic violence in recent years with armed ultranationalistic thugs beating up and assaulting anyone who they deem to be an enemy of the state- and these can include Jews, Muslims, LGBT people, Blacks, Asians and just about anyone who is not an ethnic Rus.

Konstantin Yablonskiy, the co-chair of the Russian LGBT Sports Federation, has been critical of the idea of a boycott of the Olympics or moving it out of Russia. He said that “It’s not a constructive way to solve such a problem.” He called on people to, instead, show solidarity by wearing rainbow stickers and pins or holding hands with someone of the same sex during the opening ceremonies.

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One Response to A Kiss To Protest Russia’s Anti-Gay Laws?

  1. Lawrence

    August 18, 2013 at 6:15 pm

    Russian athletes have been kissing each other on the lips — men on men, women on women — as long as I’ve been watching international competition (some 50 years), and it has generally had nothing to do with either sexuality or protest. It’s a cultural sign of affirmation, encouragement and collegiality, about on a par with NFL players patting each other on the butt after a play. It simply means “nice job.” However, it seems to me it could be a custom others might copy for their own purposes and their own meaning, eh?