Despite Russia’s anti-LGBTQ laws, a Pride House for LGBTQ athletes will be open during the 2018 World Cup.
Pride Houses were first set up in the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. They’re designed to be a place for LGBTQ athletes, coaches and distinguished guests to gather.
Since then, they have been a major staple of many international sporting events, with one noticeable exception being the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, after the Russian authorities banned it. However, despite being present at so many sporting events, this will be the first Pride House at an international football event.
Pride House International have confirmed that they are planning on having a venue in an undisclosed location in St. Petersburg. The venue is being organised by the Russian LGBT Sport Society.
However, unlike in the past, this one will be operating without government support. Usually, governments give financial support to the venues, with Scotland providing £25,000 during the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
Fears were raised about LGBTQ people attending the World Cup after a guide warned gay couples not to hold hands in the country.
“The guide will advise gay people to be cautious in any place which is not seen to be welcoming to the LGBT community,” said Piara Powar, executive director of FARE.
“The same message is there for black and ethnic minority fans – do go to the World Cup, but be cautious.
“If you have gay fans walking down the street holding hands, will they face danger in doing so? That depends on which city they are in and the time of day.”
Power continued: “The guide will also include some detailed explanations of, for example, the actual situation of the LGBT community in Russia. It is not a crime to be gay but there is a law against the promotion of homosexuality to minors.
“Issues relating to the LGBT community are not part of the public discourse. Gay people have a place in Russia which is quite hidden and underground.”