Soccer fans visiting Russia for the World Cup games have already received UK-government-sponsored warnings not to display affection. Now Russians themselves are threatening violence.
Over the last several weeks, the British government issued travel advisories to travelers worldwide cautioning them not to make any overt demonstrations of LGBTQ pride, and transgender tourists should have a friend with them in the restrooms to remain safe. Now anti-LGBT Russians are ramping up the rhetoric by suggesting anyone who makes a public gesture about being sexually non-conforming could end up in the hospital — or worse.
A spokesman for the LGBTQ scoccer fan club Pride in Football, Joe White, is now reporting a series of threats to English fans who plan on attending the games (scheduled between June 14 and July 15) to root for their national team Three Lions during the World Cup games.
In speaking to reporters, White told The Mirror that the threats have been reported to police.
According to White, “We’ve had people say that if they find us they’ll stab us, so it’s been a mixture; but they’re being dealt with seriously and those investigations are still ongoing.”
In 2013, Russia passed what’s been dubbed the “gay propaganda” law, intended to thwart the normalization of homosexuality among those not of consenting age. The law has been used to thwart protests for LGBT rights, and in the few that have been held since, several have ended in bloodshed.
More worrisome still is that hate crimes targeting members of the LGBTQ community have doubled over the past five years.
For the moment, White said he still plans to test the promise by some officials that rainbow pride flags won’t be banned at the World Cup, unlike at the 2014 Sochi Olympics where they were not allowed.
His goal, he told the press, is to get “some form of visibility in stadiums to show that LGBT football fans do exist and, just as much as any fan, we’re a valid part of the game.”
Last modified: June 19, 2018