San Francisco, CA — October 30, 2013 — Shocked by the rise in Russian anti-gay violence fueled by the Olympic host nation's anti-gay laws, LGBT equality T-shirt company FCKH8.com will directly reach Russia's children with a pro-gay coloring book that showcases a lesbian family and gay kiss during the week of the Olympics. Activist are protesting the "gay propaganda" law that makes it a punishable crime to say anything positive about being gay when someone under 18 years old might hear, see or read it. With its "Gay OK" message, the specially-created "Misha and His Moms Go to the Olympics" will be mailed directly to homes with children in both Sochi and Moscow. Activists are taking the action of breaking the law and directly mailing the books to children to confront the anti-gay hysteria that is sweeping the country. The illegal action is also being taken to circumvent President Putin's attempt to quash international media scrutiny during the sporting February events with his ban on human rights protests and free speech in Sochi.
"Russia has made it a crime for any pro-gay words to be spoken and that law is about to be broken." said FCKH8.com founder, Luke Montgomery. "The message of this coloring book is to let kids in Russia know that being gay is normal. Beating and imprisoning people just for being out of the closet, or arresting them for simply saying that it's OK if someone in their family is gay, is an attack on human rights and a trashing of the Olympic spirit. We're going to be breaking this homophobic law and there's nothing the government can do to stop it."
All 10 Coloring Book Photos: bit.ly/1aHBEkd .
The activist T-shirt company's rainbow-covered coloring book, printed in the Russian language, tells the story of a Moscow boy named Misha and his two lesbian mothers going to the Olympics. It shows the boy meeting friends from around the world, one with a mother and father, and another who has two legally married dads who are shown exchanging a small kiss with the Olympic flag in the background. Other pages that children can fill in with crayons depict Russian police beating a gay couple for holding hands and a page highlighting two straight female Olympic medal winners kissing on the winner's platform to protest the anti-gay law. Also included is a page showing a terrified Misha being taken out of his home by police as the recently proposed law to forcibly remove children from homes with gay parents would do. The book concludes on a happy note with Misha dreaming of a Russia where his family is treated equally and the boy proudly wearing a T-shirt sold on the FCKH8.com website that reads, "Some Chicks Marry Chicks. Get Over It."
Activists are using consumer data to identify homes with children and will be mailing the coloring books in multiple styles of plain wrappers to avoid detection and seizure by authorities. Like the various methods of disguising the books for mailing, the printing location for the illegal books is being kept a close secret. FCKH8.com is working with activists inside Russia on the project and is keeping their identities secret to protect them from arrest and prosecution.
As part of the online social media campaign to share the book's message and evade the Russian authorities efforts to stop it, the book is being offered as a free printable PDF download at FCKH8.com which allows anybody to print out their own copy. Detailed photos of the coloring book and its pages are viewable on the FCKH8.com Facebook and Tumblr pages where the group hopes to garner 100,000 Facebook "Likes" and reblogs on Tumblr to spread the word. Photos include a smiling 5 year-old boy wearing a T-shirt with Russian text that translates into "GAY OK" using crayons to fill in the drawing of two legally married gay dads kissing.
"Being lesbian and gay is normal and OK. Beating and jailing people for being out of the closet or supporting their gay family members is not OK. Talking about gay people does not make kids 'turn' gay anymore than talking about left-handed people makes kids left-handed." stated Montgomery. "This is a cruel and stupid law, and we'll break it to make its attack on basic human rights the story of the Sochi Olympics. We're hoping thousands can join us online at FCKH8.com to speak out against this homophobic violence." He adds, "Every single one of our equality T-shirts we offer on our website is banned and illegal in Russia because of this law. We're not sitting by while brave civil rights voices in Russia are brutally beaten and censored."
The group also plans to distribute thousands of wristbands to Olympic spectators that read "GAY OK" in both Russian and English to further flout the law. Activists are upset that the International Olympic Committee has not heeded calls to move the games and will distribute the bands at Olympic events in Sochi allowing attendees from around the globe to support equality in defiance of local law. The rainbow-colored wristbands are currently being sold on the FCKH8.com website to help fund distribution during the Olympics. A line of Russian language LGBT rights tees has also been added to the site's offering of slogan-covered T-shirts.
FCKH8.com is a for-profit T-shirt company with an activist heart and a passionate social change mission: arming thousands of people with pro-LGBT equality T-shirts that act as "mini-billboards" for change. Started in 2010 with comedic viral videos that captured millions of views on YouTube,FCKH8.com has shipped over 150,000 equality tees, tanks and hoodies to supporters in over 100 countries. T-shirts emblazoned with bold messages like "Some Chicks Marry Chicks, Get Over It," "Straight Against Hate," and "Legalize Love" have been publicly talked about by celebrities including Jane Lynch, Adam Lambert, Perez Hilton, and Zac Efron - who's raved about his own "Some Dudes Marry Dudes, Get Over It" shirt in the press. With over 280,000 followers on Facebook and 40,000 on Twitter, FCKH8.com has given over $250,000 to the equality cause through directly funded projects and donations to LGBT charities.
Note: Use of the Olympic logo and mark are protected political commentary speech permitted under "fair use" laws. The coloring book is a not a product for sale.