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Here’s How A Group Of Activists Secretly Broke The Homophobic Law Banning Gay Propaganda In Russia

thehiddenflag.org

While LGBTQ+ rights have come a long way in recent years, there are still so many countries in which the gay community is subject to persecution and even death. At least 10 countries have the death penalty if you are found to be homosexual including Sudan, Nigeria, and Afghanistan.

In Russia, the current host of the World Cup, being gay isn’t a death sentence, but promoting it is illegal. Russia has strict laws about “the promotion of homosexuality” and waving the iconic rainbow flag is one of them. Being found guilty of spreading gay propaganda in Russia could land foreign visitors in jail for up to 15 days before being deported. But a group of LGBTQ+ activists used their time, and jerseys, at the World Cup to defy the law.

Six activists, four from Latin America, are bringing awareness to LGBT rights by displaying the rainbow flag in a very subtle way.

CREDIT: Twitter/@harleivy

The group is part of an organization Federación Estatal de Lesbianas, Gais, Trans y Bisexuales (FELGTB) that invited six activists from all over the world to highlight the discriminations against gays that are still going on today.

“Because of this, we have taken advantage of the fact the country is hosting the World Cup at the same time as Pride Month, to denounce their behavior and take the rainbow flag to the streets of Russia,” the group said on its website. “Yes, in the plain light of day, in front of the Russian authorities, Russian society and the whole world, we wave the flag with pride. How? In a way that no one would ever suspect. Football shirts.”

The six activists have been posing all over Russia wearing football shirts that fall in line with the rainbow flag colors.

CREDIT: Instagram/@lolamullenlowe

The colors includ the countries of Spain, The Netherlands, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina and Colombia, and are worn by Marta Márquez, Eric Houter, Eloi Pierozan Junior, Guillermo León, Vanesa Paola Ferrario, and Mateo Fernández Gómez.

Last year Alexei Smertin, a Russian soccer official, had said that the LGBT flag would be welcomed during the World Cup, however, that has not been the case.

“There will definitely be no ban on wearing rainbow symbols in Russia,” Smertin told The Guardian last year in anticipation of the World Cup in Russia. “It’s clear you can come here and not be fined for expressing feelings. The law is about propaganda to minors. I can’t imagine that anyone is going to go into a school and propagate that way to children.”

But that ordinance has not been followed. The video above is proof of that, and last month a Gay Rights activist was arrested when he expressed outrage of how the gay community was treated in Russia.

While the project — titled Hidden Flag — looks really amazing, at least one activist says he was really scared about what could happen if they got in trouble.

CREDIT: Twitter/@harleivy

Gómez, wearing the Colombia jersey, said the whole experience was not as fun as it looks.

“I was scared shitless,” he said on Instagram. “Still I was in Russia only for 3 days, of which I spent 15 hours retained in customs in the airport. But now I’m free to be myself. In Russia people don’t have that basic right.”

He adds that “out of this scary, marvelous, cool, humbling experience” he was able to meet five activists that he is now bonded with for life. “I got to meet what I can now call my gay/straight brothers and sisters in arms. Beautiful, good hearted, strong people. 3 days with you keeping the flag in order always being last in everything, taught me more than a life time of what I can now call gay privilege.”

See more pictures by clicking on #TheHiddenFlag.


READ: The LGBTQ+ Flag Just Got Updated And Its Generating Mixed Responses

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25 Most Instagrammable Spots in Latin America

Things That Matter

25 Most Instagrammable Spots in Latin America

ryadoug/Instagram

For anyone who’s ever been there, it should come as no surprise that travel to Latin America is one of the greatest joys in life. There is so much to do and so many countries to visit that I often don’t know where to start. Do I go to the cities? To the beaches? To the ruins? With so many options, there really is no such thing as a bad trip to Latin America.

Still, if you’re trying to pick where to go, then there are a few places I might suggest: Some of the most Instagrammable spots in Latin America! These are the places that you see over and over again when searching the #traveltuesday photos and drooling every week (wait, am I the only one that does that?) and the places that you might not have even realized exist. From the stand-bys like Machu Picchu in Peru to the  Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia to Atacama Desert in Chile, here are the 25 most Instagram-worthy spots in Latin America that you absolutely will NOT want to miss. In fact, I think you should start packing your bags and camera equipment ASAP.

1. Havana, Cuba

CREDIT: msirinagonzalez/Instagram

It’s easier than ever to be an American and travel to Cuba, and you should take advantage while you can. I loved strolling through the streets of Old Havana, taking pictures of buildings and food and people. And, of course, the vintage cars.

2. Machu Picchu, Peru

CREDIT: ryadoug/Instagram

This is probably the number one spot in South America, and for good reason. The 15th century Inca citadel is a splendor and continues to be one of the most beautiful spots in the world.

3. San Juan, Puerto Rico

CREDIT: parliamentmeyer/Instagram

Although Puerto Rico suffered greatly during Hurricane Maria and recovery is still slow, San Juan remains a beautiful city to visit. Plus, by going there, you will put some much-needed tourism dollars toward’s Puerto Rico’s economy… And that’s definitely a great thing.

4. Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia

CREDIT: backpackersenameriquelatine/Instagram

Located in the southwest of Bolivia, this is the world’s largest salt flat. It is an incredible place to visit and taking an Instagram photo of you jumping up in this spot is the thing to do. Trust me on this one.

5. Merida, Mexico

CREDIT: abcpottery/Instagram

Merida is the largest city in the Yucatan and also the capital of that region, known for its beauty just off the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. As a bonus, besides the city, you’ll want to check out the Mayan Ruins nearby because they are truly incredible and worth seeing.

6. Easter Island, Chile

CREDIT: @photography_by_ko/Instagram

This Chilean Island lies in the southeastern Pacific Ocean and was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995. The thing to see here, of course, is the Rapa Nui National Park and the monumental statues of the early Rapa Nui people. 

7. Los Glaciares National Park, Argentina

CREDIT: thebarefootaussie/Instagram

The glaciers in Argentina are a sight to behold. This is actually the largest national park in Argentina, and has many beautiful sights and vistas. The thing you’ll really want to see is the giant ice cap in the Andes, which is the largest outside of Antarctica, Greenland, and Iceland.

8. Angel Falls, Venezuela

CREDIT: odigransabana/Instagram

You’ll definitely want to take a selfie at the world’s highest uninterrupted waterfall that reaches the height of 3,211 feet and has a plunge of 2,368 feet. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site as the water drops over the edge of the Auyán-tepui mountain in the Canaima National Park.

9. Torres del Paine, Chile

CREDIT: marcograssiphotography/Instagram

This National Park in the southern Chilean Patagonia has mountains, glaciers, lakes, and rivers. Basically, everything you could ever want for a truly magical Instagram photo. The views are breathtaking, so make sure you stay there long enough to catch the sunset.

10. Caño Cristales, Colombia

CREDIT: historiassencillas/Instagram

This is a Colombian River that is located in the province of Meta. It’s often called the “River of Five Colors” or the “Liquid Rainbow” because of its striking colors. It’s considered one of the most beautiful rivers in the world,  so what are you waiting for before heading there ASAP?

11. Amazon River, Brazil

CREDIT: senior_golf_lady/Instagram

The Amazon River is the largest river in the world by discharge volume of water, but travelers know it for being so incredibly beautiful. If you travel along the river, you’ll want to pay attention to the natural wildlife and have your camera out because, well, there will be tons of photos to take.

12. Lake Titicaca, Peru

CREDIT: camilla.pos/Instagram

Technically, this deep lake in the Andes is on the border of both Peru and Bolivia. It is actually the largest lake in South America, based on volume of water and by surface area. And isn’t it so gorgeous?

13. Sucre, Bolivia

CREDIT: ophelie_ddl/Instagram

The constitutional capital of Bolivia (versus La Paz, where the government sits) is located in the south-central part of the country, and a very cool, temperate city year-round. One of the reasons that it is such a lovely Instagram-worthy spot is that there are beautiful houses and streets, plus the mountains behind too. 

14. Valparaiso, Chile

CREDIT: livingaloha123/Instagram

This city is one of Chile’s major seaports, and located northwest of Santiago. Besides the beautiful seaport views, you might also enjoy walking through the streets of this city. It’s a bit magical to go here, so make sure you visit ASAP.

15. Vinicunca Rainbow Mountains, Peru

CREDIT: francescosgrazzutti/Instagram

Located in the Andes Mountains, Vinicunca is an absolutely gorgeous place to visit. It’s not yet known by many tourists, so you’ll want to visit the Mountain of Seven Colors pretty soon. And yes, you’ll pretty much feel like you’re inside of a Disney movie when you’re here.

16. Tulum, Mexico

CREDIT: creative.cowboy/Instagram

Located on the Caribbean coast of Mexico, one of the most incredible things to see in Tulum is where the archaeological ruins meet the beach. The city itself is also a splendor to visit, with tons of markets, great food, and incredible people. And yes, beautiful Instagram-worthy places for a photo.

17. Baños, Ecuador

CREDIT: jfiorent/Instagram

In central Ecuador, you can find the adorable little town of Baños. Located on the foothills of Tungurahua volcano, this is known as the “Gateway to the Amazon” because it is the last big city in the mountains before reaching the jungle and the towns located in the Amazon River basin. 

18. Huacachina, Peru

CREDIT: jordhammond/Instagram

This incredible little village is a small oasis surrounded by sand dunes in southwestern Peru. It is built around a small natural lake in the desert and often called the “oasis of America” because it is a resort for local families from nearby Ica, along with being a tourist destination for its unique beauty.

19. Iguazu Falls, Brazil

CREDIT: drtourismokung/Instagram

On the border of Brazil and Argentina, there is no wrong place to view Iguazu Falls from. This is the largest waterfall system in the world and will absolutely thrill you with its enchanting beauty. You might be so captivated that you actually forget to take a picture, though.

20. Atacama Desert, Chile

CREDIT: atacamaexcursiones/Instagram

This incredible piece of land on the Pacific Coast of Chile, west of the Andes mountains, covers about 600 miles. It is actually the driest desert in the world. It also happens to be an incredible piece of land that is truly beautiful. Time for that Instagram trip through Chile, huh?

21. Río Celeste, Costa Rica

CREDIT: michellegalvantv/Instagram

If you go to Costa Rica, then you should definitely plan to head to the Tenorio Volcano National Park. That is where you will find the Celeste River, which is known for its beautiful turquoise water. It also borders several hot springs and a large waterfall, and only takes an hour to hike from the park’s entrance to the waterfall. 

22. Cartagena, Colombia

CREDIT: ft_howtospendit/Instagram

Founded in 1533, the city of Cartagena in Colombia is one of the most gorgeous and historic cities in the country. From the brightly-colored streets to the historic buildings, you’ll pretty much be walking around and taking pictures the whole time. It’s okay, no judgment.

23. Concepcion, Paraguay

CREDIT: elchad/Instagram

Lying next to the Paraguay River with plenty of nature to see, you’ll want to head to this town in the north of the country to explore. There’s a lot to do here, but most likely you’ll want to wander around and snap photos with your camera phone the whole time. It’s okay, it’s worth it.

24. Isla Margarita, Venezuela

CREDIT: go.plamplam/Instagram

Primarily known for its fishing and tourism, this little island located on the Caribbean Sea is a great place to relax, sip on a cocktail beach-side and… Well, enjoy your time. Between the beach and the mountains, there is plenty to see and Instagram.

25. Pedra do Telégrafo, Brazil

CREDIT: trilhar.rj/instagram

The cliff known as Pedra do Telégrafo is the world’s most Instagram-worthy rock. Yes, really! The views here look amazing and kind of scary, but it’s actually an optical illusion when people hang off this famous rock. Plus, did I mention the the views here are amazing? Bring on the cameras!

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