The online LGBT community is letting Russia's largest political party know that gay love can't be offset by promoting the hetero kind, devising its own ironic campaign to lampoon the party's new straight-pride flag.
In an effort to counter rainbow-colored "gay fever" radiating from across the North Atlantic following the US Supreme Court's nationwide legalization of gay marriage last month, the Moscow branch of President Vladimir Putin's ruling United Russia party released a "heterosexual flag" on Wednesday that depicts a nuclear family — husband, wife, and three kids — alongside a hashtag that translates to "#RealFamily."
"This is our response to same-sex marriage, a mockery of the concept of family," said Alexey Lisovenko, deputy head of the party's Moscow branch, in remarks quoted by the pro-Kremlin daily Izvestia. "We have to warn about gay fever at home and maintain traditional values.
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The flag was unveiled yesterday at Russia's annual Day of Family Love and Faithfulness festival, which promotes traditional family values. Its release follows Lisovenko's launch last month of a campaign to outlaw the use of the rainbow LGBT flag online and materially across the country.
"The United States must have gone completely mad and now its gay delirium is threatening the entire civilized world," Lisovenko wrote in a Facebook post last month announcing his push to ban the rainbow flag.
The Russian government made the dissemination of "gay propaganda" illegal 1993. The federal law is ostensibly "for the purpose of protecting children from information advocating for a denial of traditional family values." Same-sex marriage is also illegal.
Social media pundits were quick to note that United Russia's hetero-pride flag essentially appropriates the design of a flag adopted by the "Manif Pour Tous" movement in France, which also opposes gay marriage. The only difference in the Russian version is the insertion of an extra child between the parents and the mother's slightly wider waist.
Lisovenko later told Russian media that his party, which holds a majority in Russia's Duma, worked with the approval of the French designers to create the flag.
The online ripostes from the LGBT community came quickly and zestfully, with some social media users immediately doctoring the flag to reflect same-sex couples in place of the husband and wife, or appropriating the hashtag to their own modern families or their favorite family units on television.