LGBTQ+ activists hid the Pride flag in plain sight at the 2018 World Cup.
The Hidden Flag Project was created to protest Russia’s policies of LGBTQ+ discrimination.
“With the context of the World Cup, somebody approached me — invited me to bring this hidden flag to [Russia] to protest [that] law and the way that the LGBT community is being treated or mistreated in this country,” explained one of the activists Mateo Fernández. “I was brought to walk around with a purple shirt. There’s no other purple in the colors of any other teams. That and the purple from the shirt that I wore is not even from the main players, it’s the goalie.”
Six LGBTQ+ activists from six different countries wore their team’s jerseys and took pictures all over Moscow in the exact same color order as the Pride flag. Pulling off the project required a lot of courage.
“So once I was there and I saw — even with the context and everybody being very happy for the World Cup — there was like, like, gray space, and then I started freaking out,” said Fernández. “And every time we were together, I was like, my heart was in my throat. And I was pretty much scared.”
But the reactions and praise from people around the world made it all worth it for the group.