People on Instagram have begun geo-tagging pictures of same-sex smooches to the Kremlin — the fortified government building at the heart of Moscow, Russia — along with the hashtag #KissForLGBTQRights in response to a campaign started by the Brazilian organization, Sexuality Outside The Box. The Kremlin-tagged photos are a protest against the Russian government’s silencing of LGBTQ citizens and activists following the passage of a 2013 law banning so-called “gay propaganda.”
Sexuality Outside The Box, “a social justice project that seeks to make the debate on gender and sexuality issues visible in various parts of the world,” originally started the photo campaign on May 3, stating:
“In Brazil, despite the enormous violence against the LGBTQIA population, we can fight for our rights, But our community in Russia can not and therefore needs our help…. In Russia, LGBTQIAs are being shut up by the Putin government…. freedom of expression is increasingly restricted. Therefore, we will make the biggest digital kiss in the world at the place where public protests of LGBTQIA get people throw in jail: the Moscow Kremlin.”
Since then, hundreds of Instagrammers have begun posting images of same-sex smooches — both self-portraits and images from art and pop-culture — in accordance with the campaign. Here’s some pics from the campaign:
While the campaign helps raise awareness (and we always love seeing pictures of LGBTQ couples kissing), it’s questionable whether the Russian government will ever see the images. The original campaign also omitted any mention of the Russian government’s role in the ongoing anti-LGBTQ purge in the semi-autonomous western region of Chechnya.
Sexuality Outside The Box has since modified the hashtag campaign as a way to oppose homophobia in public spaces generally and has asked people to geo-tag their kisses to the Pillory in Salvador (Pelourinho in Portuguese), a historic spot in western Salvador, a city in the Brazilian state of Bahia.
The group wrote, “Salvador is the third city with the highest number of gay couples and Bahia is the second Brazilian state with the most murders by homophobia.”