Athletes Seem to Defy Russia’s ‘Anti-Gay Propaganda’ Law With a Kiss

Whether or not they meant this as a protest remains to be seen.
Is this an act of protest? (Photo: Paul Gillham/Getty Images)
Aug 18, 2013· 0 MIN READ
A Bay Area native, Andri Antoniades has previously worked as a fashion industry journalist and a medical writer.

The 2014 Sochi Olympics are shaping up to be one of the most controversial sporting events in decades, given the Russian government's punitive attitude towards displays of homosexuality or shows of support for gay causes.

But the country's anti-gay propaganda law, which went into effect earlier this summer, still didn't stop Tatyana Firova and Kseniya Ryzhova from publicly kissing at a televised sporting event.

It happened on the podium, when the two were receiving a gold medal in the Women's 4x400 relay at Moscow's World Athletics Championship yesterday.

The kiss appears to defy the country's anti-gay propaganda law, though whether or not it was an intentional protest or just a show of congratulations remains hotly debated among news organizations and social media sites. Regardless, the two could face legal consequences for it.

Russia isn't alone in its struggle to overcome homophobia that's both culturally ingrained and legally mandated. The U.S. continues its own battle with LGBT discrimination, much of which is spurred by outmoded fears about "What will happen to society if gay people are treated as equals?"

Whatever the athletes' true intentions, the answer is pretty much what you see in this picture—more people will love each other, and fewer will feel ashamed about who they are. As it should be.