Advocates for equality reclaim #CheersToSochi on Twitter

Update: Shortly after this post was originally published, @McDonaldsCorp tweeted the following message: "#CheersToSochi is about sending Olympians messages of good luck. We support human rights & all athletes. Learn more:"

In a move that demonstrates social media as a space for advocacy, as well as the wide range of support for LGBT people in Russia, McDonald's experienced a huge response after they launched "#CheersToSochi" this week.

 The fast food giant encouraged followers to use the hashtag on Twitter in preparation for the upcoming Winter Olympics, of which McDonald's is a major corporate sponsor. Instead, individuals and organizations alike are using #CheersToSochi as a way to support Russia's LGBT advocates and speak out against the country's anti-gay, so-called "propaganda law." The law aims to silence the community and its supporters, and has also enhanced a culture of anti-LGBT violence.

McDonald's introduced the hashtag a few days ago (which in internet time, means about a century has passed), but the conversation is continuing in full force. Check out some of the ways people are sending their Cheers to Sochi:

Additional corporate sponsors of the Olympics have been included in the online discussion as well:

In response to the unanticipated direction in which their campaign has gone, both the @McDonalds and @McDonaldsCorp accounts have seemingly ceased using the hashtag, but are still putting out positive messages about the Olympics in Sochi. Instead of including the phrase "#CheersToSochi," however, the tweets simply end in a shortened link to a website about McDonald's "Cheers To Sochi" campaign. And also this special shout out, earlier today:

According to a recent article in The Huffington Post, addressing these sponsors is an important element in speaking out against the treatment of LGBT people in Russia: "In August 2013 HRW's Worden told Michelangelo Signorile that they could have stopped Russia's anti-gay law -- and didn't."

What are your thoughts the Olympics and Russia's anti-gay law? Share your support for the global LGBT community by tweeting your own #CheersToSochi.


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As a Major League Baseball umpire for the past 29 seasons, Dale Scott has worked three World Series, three All-Star Games, two no-hitters and numerous playoff games. He is also the first out active male official in the MLB, NBA, NHL, or NFL, and the first Major League Baseball umpire to publicly say he is gay while active.