Whether or not there will be a Pride House at the World Cup hosted in Russia this summer is unclear after media reports threw the question upside down over the weekend.
A report surfaced over the weekend from Russian publication Fontanka claiming that an LGBTQ refuge at the Russian-held World Cup, called “Pride House,” would pop up.
Over the weekend Pride House International released a statement encouraging the presence of a so-called World Cup Pride House but also offering caution about the optimism around the installation.
“Pride House International does have a history working with local LGBT+ activist organizations to develop safe spaces for LGBT+ fans, athletes, and allies,” Pride House International told Sky Sports, “and we have been in talks with local activist groups to strategize around the 2018 World Cup but this initiative in St. Petersburg is unknown to us.
It’s hard to believe the Russian government would allow a Pride House like this, unless they are cracking under the pressure of Western governments. In Russia, “propaganda” could be construed as just about anything, even holding hands with your boyfriend on the street. An entire installation geared toward supporting LGBTQ people at this year’s highest-profile event in all of Russia? No-brainer.
Regardless, legal protections for LGBTQ people in Russia are sparse. Gay sex has been legal for a couple decades, yet assaults on people for engaging in the activity also seem to be completely tolerated, if not encouraged, in at least the Russian state of Chechnya.