The terrible stories flowing out of Russia right now are horrendous. I have been planting pansies for eight years around the world at the site of homophobia, I now have a lot of flowers to plant all over Russia, though according to this deeply unjust law I would be arrested for the promotion of gay rights. An outrage.
In the absence of visiting Russia my response has been a series of ‘posters’ of virtual plantings in Moscow suggesting what I would do if I had the means, support and opportunity of visiting Russia to plant my little symbols of resistance. The “PUTIN – PUT A PANSY IN IT” Poster has now been seen by over 30,000 people on Facebook and has encouraged an influx of likes and comments on my “Like” Page.
What is apparent is that the situation is becoming worse as more reports of homophobic hate crime continue with ever more shocking and tragic consequences. Though Russia is by no means unique in passing homophobic laws the fact that this country is due to host the Winter Olympics in 2014 suggests that the world is sanctioning Russia’s policies. Stephen Fry has equated Putin with Hitler, a dramatic and shocking comparison that sends shivers down the spine. There have been demonstrations and various actions globally that call for the world’s governments to challenge these wicked laws.
Mine is just a tiny contribution, I don’t have the answers to this horrendous situation. Do we sanction Russia? Do we boycott the Winter Olympics? Do we demand that they’re moved to a country with a kinder government? Do we write letters or sign petitions? So many answers are needed. I only have questions.
My contribution will be to continue creating images like this one, which intend to share the notion of The Pansy Project: A tiny artwork, just my response to my own experiences of homophobia. Stephen Fry suggested that we need a symbol of resistance; perhaps a pansy is as good as any, planted around the various venues in Sochi or just pop a pansy in the mouths of athletes to show that they will not stand for homophobia.
I will not be silenced by homophobia.
Put a Pansy in it!