In the heat of controversy that surrounds the upcoming winter Olympics, the LGBT clothing and accessory company FCKH8 recently created a new campaign in response to Russia’s anti-gay propaganda laws.
The company plans to send 10,000 pro-gay children’s coloring books to Russia once the company’s Tumblr announcement hits 100,000 reblogs. At the time of this writing, just two weeks after the post went up, it has over 63,000 reblogs, although not all of them are in support of the planned protest.
The objective of the campaign is simply to “reach Russia’s children with a pro-gay coloring book that showcases a lesbian family and gay kiss during the week of the Olympics,” FCKH8 founder Luke Montgomery told 429Magazine.
“There have been some people that are upset about it but we are confident about the strategy and trust the activists in Russia we are working with,” he added. “This will be a major story during the Olympics and this homophobic law and the attacks on LGBT people in Russia will come into sharp focus. There were those that said African-American protests for equality in the sixties were going too far and that it would inspire a backlash. They were wrong and letting fear guide them.”
Montgomery also discussed the campaign with “The Huffington Post,” stating that the inspiration to send the books came following the seizing of FCKH8 clothing from several Russian customers under the country’s law. “Russia has made it a crime for any pro-gay words to be spoken and that law is about to be broken.”
As Russia defines its law, which supposedly does not actually make it illegal to be a gay person in Russia, the “propaganda of non-traditional relationships to minors” is punishable by a fine that ranges from United States $1,500 to $30,000—with a “non-traditional” relationship being described as one that doesn’t allow production of offspring.
Using consumer data, FCKH8 acquired the addresses of 10,000 Russian homes that have children living in them. A Russian-translated version of “Misha and His Moms Go to the Olympics” will be sent to them, discreetly wrapped in plain, brown paper.
Despite good intentions, the campaign has drawn heavy criticism from many of the company’s Tumblr followers, a lot of whom are urging them to reconsider their proposition.
“GUYS. PEOPLE WILL GET IN HUGE TROUBLE FOR JUST HAVING THESE. I DON’T THINK THIS IS THE BEST WAY TO SOLVE THESE PROBLEMS IN RUSSIA,” one follower wrote.
“I have seen thirteen year olds conceive more effective and less potentially harmful ways to promote acceptance,” said another—while still reblogging the post, which in essence further fuels (and assures) the go-ahead with the campaign.
As the time for the games closes in, Olympic president Jacques Rogge has asked the Russian government for clarification of the law and what consequences for offenders would consist of, although a responder simply noted that this would vary based on case-by-case offense.