John M. Becker

New Olympic Pride Flag Tells Russia: The World is Watching

Filed By John M. Becker | February 18, 2014 8:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: flags, geekiness, Gettysburg Flag Works, Olympics, Russia, Russian anti-LGBT laws, Russian propaganda law, Sochi, Sochi 2014

the-world-is-watching-russia-pride-flag.pngAs die-hard Bilerico readers know, I'm a huge flag nerd. And when my love of flags intersects with my passion for LGBT equality, I'm a happy camper indeed.

So naturally, I geeked out hardcore when I found out about "The World is Watching" (at right; click image to enlarge), a new flag from a company called Gettysburg Flag Works that was designed specifically to send that message to Putin's Russia. It's a rainbow flag with a pair of binoculars over it, with the Russian white-red-blue tricolor in the lenses and the text "The World Is Watching" on the top.

CEO Mike Cronin said that he and his company designed and commissioned the flag in the run-up to the Sochi Olympics because they wanted to help give supporters of Russia's LGBT community a banner to fly.

"As the energy of the Sochi Olympic games built, so did the anti-gay message associated with them," Cronin said. "Since every successful movement in history had a flag to rally around, we decided to create one for those in the forefront of this conversation." He also pointed out that flags play an outsized role at the Olympics, where they're used everywhere from the Parade of Nations to the medal ceremonies.

Cronin said he hopes the flag will be used not just during the Games, but beyond: "While this flag was designed as a response to the Sochi Olympics, it is also our hope that it will be used after the event to keep attention on the treatment of LGBT people in Russia, and be part of the legislative changes we would like to see," he said.

As I poked around Gettysburg Flag Works's website, I found an impressive array of LGBT-related flags, banners, and other items. I asked Cronin why his company was so committed to the LGBT community.

"We recognize the value in diversity," he replied. "Flags inspire pride and because of this, nearly every group of people has one (or many) that they rally around. The LGBT community has many flags and each of them has their own unique meaning so we have chosen to make and offer as many as possible. It is our goal to allow people to show their pride through our products."

To check out Gettysburg Flag Works's "The Whole World is Watching" protest flag, click here.

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