Pride House International announced its Same-Sex Hand-Holding Initiative, a campaign which comes in response to Russian anti-gay laws introduced back in June. The campaign calls on athletes, staff, media, officials, spectators, sponsors, vendors, and fans – to take every opportunity to hold hands with a person of the same sex.
“The very first thing the members of the Pride House International coalition did was to ask our Russian counterparts for their leadership on our campaign,” said Lou Englefield, Director of Pride Sports UK and PHI coordinator.
“Any response, no matter how well-meaning, would be inappropriate without the input of LGBT sportspeople in Russia”.
Konstanin Yablotskiy from the Russian LGBT Sports Federation is part of Pride House International, and was instrumental in conceptualizing the Same-Sex Hand-Holding Initiative.
Yablotskiy said: “Long after the 2014 Olympics, we in Russia will continue to live under this horrible law. For a few weeks we have the opportunity to bring the attention of the world to the situation in Russia. The Same-Sex Hand-Holding Initiative enables everyone to get involved with a simple yet iconic gesture. We know from gestures like Usain Bolt’s lightning stance the impact of such images that are simple, replicable, and identifiable”.