#GoWest campaign from Stockholm Pride wins award, sends to Putin

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Stockholm Pride took home the gold in the Lovie Awards “Social Media for Good” category, receiving a gold heart trophy.

The organization decided to send their award to Russian president Vladimir Putin with a message inscribed: “To a man with a heart of stone, here’s a heart of gold.”

After the court in Moscow banned Pride parades, Stockholm took the opportunity to open their doors to their neighbors in need.

The Stockholm Pride website says, “As an advocate of tolerance and respect, Stockholm Pride wants to beat the drum of justice by inviting our fellow Russians to participate in our Pride festival in Stockholm.” 

The mission of the Lovie Awards is to recognize powerful stories and campaigns from “Europe’s top web and creative networks and content publishers to cultural and political organizations and bedroom bloggers.”

In May 2013, the Stockholm Pride started the #GoWest campaign, which invited the LGBT community in Russia to celebrate Pride 2013 in Sweden, where being gay is celebrated.  

On receiving the Lovie award, chairman for Stockholm Pride, Peter Rimsby, said: “This is an homage to all the HBTQ [homosexual, bisexual, transgender, queer] activists in Russia. We couldn’t imagine a better conclusion of this successful campaign.”

“We have received great support from all around the world,” said Jessica W. Sandberg, campaign manager for #GoWest. “The reason we are sending Putin the gold heart is to once again point out that we will continue to fight for a more human Russia.”

The Go West campaign’s official Twitter asks people to compose tweets (which are translated into Russian) inviting the LGBT community in Russia to join Sweden for Pride. The idea, in addition to opening the door for queer Russians, is to make #GoWest a trending topic on Twitter—with the ultimate goal of spreading awareness on the controversial equality politics in Russia.

“Stockholm Pride is a festival where all are welcome to celebrate their love, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity or gender identity,” states the website.

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