Whatsapp hotline for LGBT+ World Cup attendees created in response to worrying report findings
A Diversity House and Whatsapp safety line has been established after homophobic chants were recorded at a record high by Russian crowds by an anti-discrimination organisation.
After Fare found that twelve homophobic chants took place targeting the LGBT+ community in Russian football over a three month period, the charity stepped in to offer sanctuary to queer fans who are attending this year’s tournament.
The executive director of the initiative said that Russia and FIFA have “missed valuable opportunities” to tackle the rampant homophobia present in Russia today, and has launched an advice guide for fans travelling to Russia for the matches.
“There are reasons to hope that the World Cup authorities will not allow serious violent incidents to take place by using all the resources of law enforcement agencies and special services,” said the Executive Director of the Fare network, Piara Powar.
“However, the football authorities in Russia and FIFA have missed valuable opportunities and time to deliver lasting change in Russia.”
While fans have received death threats over email and Russian Militia have insisted that they will patrol the World Cup, fans have been “strongly advised” to not display their sexuality in public.
Fans can wear rainbow badges on their clothing, but could face fines up to £1200 for waving a rainbow flag in public.
Gay, lesbian and bi fans who travel with a romantic other could be arrested by the police if they are seen being affectionate towards each other in public.
Fans are urged to call a WhatsApp hotline is being set up to help support visiting minorities in Russia with issues of discrimination to report or who require other urgent help. The line will be active from the start of the World Cup on + 7 916 948 11 08.
“People do the weirdest stuff to gay people in Russia now,” a Russian source, who is a lesbian, told PinkNews.
“Cossack militias will certainly attack gay fans.”
The militias in question said that they will patrol games to stop gay men kissing.
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Oleg Barannikov, a coordinator of Cossack volunteer guards said: “If two men kiss at the World Cup we will ask the police to pay attention to them, and what happens next is up to the police.
“For us values above all mean Orthodox Christianity and family.
“We Cossacks have gone through too much for those values to be just thrown away.”