Russian LGBT activist waves rainbow flag at World Cup opening game

Kathmandu (Pahichan) June 16 – The president of the Russian LGBT Sport Federation has taken a stand at the World Cup.

In support of the struggling LGBT community in the country, Alexander Agapov waved a rainbow flag symbolising gay rights at the opening match of the World Cup on Thursday.

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Every time his home team of Russia scored, Agapov waved the flag, despite the potential risk to his safety if spotted by anti-gay supporters inside or outside of the stadium.

A close-up view shows the official match ball for the 2018 World Cup football tournament (MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty )

“I believe you should practice what you preach and, if I’m telling LGBT football fans to be visible, then I should do it myself,” Agapov told the Associated Press.

“Each time the Russian team scored a goal I was waving the rainbow flag … I was showing my support.”

A general view of the Luzhniki stadium on August 29, 2017 in Moscow, Russia. (Lars Baron/Getty)

In a bid to show support, England fans will display a Pride football banner when the English side play against Tunisia on Monday.

Di Cunningham, organiser of Three Lions Pride, an English LGBT soccer fan network, will unveil the banner.

“The FA definitely wants it to be seen and wants us to go,” Cunningham said.

A photograph taken on May 30, 2018 shows the FIFA World Cup 2018 flag in front of the Kremlin in Moscow. - The FIFA World Cup 2018 tournament kicks off on June 14, 2018. (Photo by Mladen ANTONOV / AFP) (Photo credit should read MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images)
The FIFA World Cup in Russia starts tomorrow. (MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty)

“They have endorsed it. To create the banner we had to clear the use of the image’s rights with them. We will also be wearing specially designed scarves with the same design. Both have the FA’s endorsement. It’s a very limited run. We are not allowed to sell them or make any more of them. The FA wants the visibility and association with LGBTQ+ inclusion.”

LGBT activist Peter Tatchell was arrested on the first day of the World Cup for protesting Chechnya’s concentration camps where gay men were allegedly killed and abused for their sexual orientation.

Hours later, the team at the Peter Tatchell Foundation tweeted: “Peter Tatchell has been released. I’ve spoken to the Consulate Gen. who says he has been bailed & treated well.

“Thank you for the all the good wishes. Let’s remember the awful plight of LGBTs in Russian & Chechnya.”

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