“To Russia With Love” part deux

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Belgian fashion designer Kristof Buntnix has come up with a fabulous way to wear your gay proudly in Russia: 17 patterns of Russian symbols and motifs grace his new collection of boxer shorts, aptly named “To Russia with Love.”

While the response to Russia’s anti-gay legislation has been fierce, and those advocating for change many, Buntnix’s boxers are the only to manage making a political statement about Russia sexy.

After putting out a call out on Facebook asking for volunteers for a photo-shoot of the new line, Buntnix picked out models with a “Russian” look- muscular, blonde, and aloof. A few photos from the shoot are available on the designers website, and look fantastically homosexual.

The idea is to make Russian Gay Propaganda- a calendar featuring the boxer shorts will be released September 28 at The Dominican Hotel in Brussels.

Buntnix used popular images of the Russian state – the hammer and sickle, russian dolls, and Russian pike fish – a reference to Putin’s hunting trips which receive so much media coverage. The gay pride rainbow graces many of the designs in order to celebrate queers, and to make sure the message is clear- this is a celebration of homosexuality within and despite of the Russian state.

The designer did not originally take offense to the Russian legislation, saying that he didn’t mind if Putin had something against homosexuals, and didn’t take it personally. “That is everyone’s choice. I too do not want to love everyone. I decide for myself what my preferences are and with whom I want to hang around,” said Buntnix on his blog.

But it was witnessing the violence of young queers getting beat up on video and posted on the internet for all to see that incited the designer to action. “To humiliate, attack and torture people is really going too far,” said Buntnix.

He knew he had to craft a response. So he got to work on the gay Russian boxers, which are now available for sale on his website. His hope is that gays in Russia who are silenced and shut down will have a way to express their queerness and have a great time doing it.

“It is truly a quiet revolution,” wrote Buntnix. “Just imagine that you live in Russia where you cannot be gay, but under your clothing you are still able to wear a pair of protest shorts. Is that not a nice thought?”

Nice indeed.

429Magazine

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