By Daniel Reynolds
Originally published on Advocate.com February 07 2014 5:00 PM ET
A number of organizations are using the power of images and social media to advocate for LGBT people during the Sochi Olympics.
Google, which often changes its search page ‘doodle’ to reflect events or holidays, surprised the online community last night with image of outlined figures in athletic poses, showcasing a range of Olympic winter sports across the backdrop of an LGBT pride flag. The tech giant also quoted a section of the Olympic Charter, the fourth principle of Olympism, which has been utilized by LGBT activists to pressure the IOC to investigate the legal implications of Russia's nationwide ban on so-called gay propaganda. The search engine displayed the rainbow on its international pages, including Google.ru, translating the text from the Olympic Charter into Russian.
A coalition of LGBT organizations including Athlete Ally, All Out, and GLAAD, have teamed up to launch Principle 6, a campaign that puts pressure on the International Olympic Committee to uphold the promise that “sports does not discriminate on grounds of race, politics, gender, or otherwise.” Many Olympians, including Greg Louganis and Belle Brockhoff, have joined the campaign, which also partnered with American Apparel to create a line of clothing line to support Russian LGBT groups. A red ‘Principle 6’ image, specifically tailored for social media, can be downloaded by supporters for use as a Facebook image or banner.
Other media organizations have also gone rainbow to show their solidarity. British station Channel 4 has modified its logo so that its number appears as a rainbow spectrum. The network will also air a musical pro-LGBT ad, posted below, throughout the day of the opening ceremonies.
Likewise, The Guardian also went over the rainbow on its online news site, posting a modified logo with a rainbow-colored "g" in its title.
A number of artists have used their medium as a form of protest. Anna Goodson used the power of illustration to curate a series by several visual artists to this effect. They include quintessential Russian imagery, including the turrets of its most notable architecture. All of them are a way of showing dissent toward Vladimir Putin's so-called gay propaganda ban and other laws that make life untenable for LGBT people in Russia.
In order to send a message directly to LGBT Russians and the families, Family Equality Council has created its own ROYGBIV campaign, #ToSochiWithLove, which encourages supporters to Tweet photos and messages of love to this community. Photographs can also be uploaded online to the LGBT organization's website, which reminds visitors: "LGBTQ Russians are facing fear, intimidation, and persecution during the Winter Olympics. Show them they are not alone."
Even Advocate.com created its own illustrative display of support that can be shared on social media. Our team altered the colors of the Olympic rings to reflect the LGBT rainbow, along with a hashtag: #championequality.
Let your true colors shine this Olympic season, and help promote the creative advocacy of these organizations.