Portland #SochiSign “Gay Propaganda” Project Featured in The Oregonian Today

Sochi Sign Gay Propaganda in The Oregonian (2014)

It’s been really awesome to see the response to our #SochiSign #GayPropaganda Photobomb Solidarity Project so far! Thank you to each and every one of you who have showed up to plan gatherings at the square, taken photos, or helped us spread the word.

We love you for it.

The Oregonian caught wind of the story and met a bunch of us at Pioneer Courthouse Square today in Portland. Click HERE to read the piece on OregonLive, and be sure to comment, like and share the post!

From The Oregonian: (2/11/14)

Winter Olympics: Q Center social media project aims to raise awareness of gay rights challenges in Russia

Bolivia Carmichaels cut a striking figure Tuesday afternoon in an almost deserted Pioneer Courthouse Square.

Resplendent in a long red gown and sparkling diamante jewelry, the Portland drag queen stood beneath the square’s directional marker, twirled her rainbow umbrella and gazed at the newest signpost: Sochi, 6,182 miles.

“I got the call that they’d be taking pictures an hour ago. At first I thought there’s no way I could make it in time,” Carmichaels said. “But then I shaved and got ready, and here I am.”

She was soon joined by several other members of Portland’s LGBTQ community who had gathered as part of a social media campaign that aims to make gay rights a part of the around-the-clock coverage of the Winter Olympics. The Q Center, a North Portland non-profit that promotes LGBTQ diversity, visibility and community building, organized the campaign.

Participating is simple: “Come down to the Sochi sign, look as queer as possible and take a selfie or group shot,” said Cameron Kude, the center’s communications coordinator.

Then post your pictures on social media sites such as Twitter and Instagram using the hashtags #sochisign, #gaypropaganda and #queerpropaganda.

The idea, Kude said, is to raise awareness about Russia’s anti-gay laws and to support gay athletes competing in Sochi.

In 2013, Russian leaders adopted a law making it illegal to distribute “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations” to minors. This effectively made it illegal to suggest to children that gay people are just like everyone else or that homosexual relationships are equal to heterosexual ones. The law is widely perceived as fostering homophobia.

“It’s state sanctioned oppression,” said Logan Lynn, public relations and innovations manager at the Q Center and part of the group at the square Tuesday. “We wanted to insert conversations about human rights into the coverage of the Olympics and into people’s newsfeeds.”

The group posed in front of the Sochi signpost carrying rainbow flags and flowers, purple streamers and protest signs.

Kude said he was disheartened when he realized that unlike other cities all over the world, Portland wasn’t protesting the treatment of gay people in Russia.

He and Lynn sat down to brainstorm a local response. They wanted to make people aware, Lynn said, “that while people are talking about competitive sport, others are suffering.”

The Q Center organizers got the idea after seeing that KGW-TV, which has a studio in Pioneer Courthouse Square and as Portland’s NBC affiliate is broadcasting the winter games, was encouraging viewers to take pictures in front of the new Sochi signpost

“The response so far has been fantastic,” Lynn said. “This is truly a community-led, community-driven effort.”

Ultimately, Lynn said, “our hope is that LGBTQ Russian youth will happen upon one of our pictures and not feel so alone.”

The campaign runs through Feb. 23, the day of the Sochi closing ceremonies.

— Rebecca Koffman

Category: Community, Community Work, LGBT, life, Logan Lynn, News, Non-Profit Work, Oregon, Photos, Portland, Press, QBlog, Queer, Queer Voices, Unbelievable Stuff, Uncategorized

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