Thanks to Emma Green Tregaro and Moa Hjelmer for supporting LGBT persons! These courageous athletes defied Russian homophobia and their message has been globally recognized as defiant and proud.
Swedish high jumper Emma Green Tregaro and 200m runner Moa Hjelmer competed with their fingernails painted in the colours of the rainbow flag used by the gay movement.
Green Tregaro posted on Instagram a photo of her fingernails painted in rainbow colours, adding a caption that included the hashtag “#pride.”
US middle-distance runner Nick Symmonds became the first international athlete to denounce the law on the country’s soil after winning silver in the 800m on Tuesday. Symmonds dedicated his medal to his gay and lesbian friends and called for equal rights for different sexual orientations.
World Champion pole vaulter Isinbayeva condemned the two Swedish women stating that they had offended Russia.
Russian LGBT activists condemned Isinbayeva’s comments, saying they would add to discrimination agaisnt homosexuals.
“Her opinion will be heard, and it will affect the opinion of society. She’s made her small contribution to the formation of homophobia,” said Artyom Prozherin, a gay 23-year-old supply manager in Moscow.
“These kinds of words build up, and as a result in some place in the country they turn into aggression, violence or suicide,” he added.
Activist Nikolai Alekseev said Isinbayeva was “one of heroes” of Russian sport. “What she says along these lines will be listened to by Russian viewers,” he said. “What some Swedish or American athletes say doesn’t worry anyone.” Both men called on international athletes to express their positions at the Sochi games.
“Everything that will attract attention to LGBT and the homophobic law will be effective,” Alekseev said. “It could be buttons, flags, statements during press conferences, interviews with Russian or foreign mass media.”
“If the championships took place without any problems, everyone would say everything is OK for us. When people are expressing themselves they understand that this is just the start, there will be much more of this in Sochi,” he added. “The foundations have been laid.”
A Levada Center poll published in March showed that 85% of Russians were against same-sex marriage and 34% thought homosexuality was a disease. Surveys have shown rising homophobic sentiment in recent years.