April 21, 2018

Pride House International Statement Regarding Recent Media Reports of a Pride House in Russia for the 2018 World Cup

On behalf of the Pride House International (PHI) team of trustees, we’d like to clarify some questions arising out of recent media reports claiming that there will be a Pride House at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

First, we at PHI were initially made aware of this initiative when a piece was published in USA Today on April 20, 2018, reporting on an “unofficial Pride House” in St. Petersburg led by an unnamed Russian activist group. Pride House International does have a history working with local LGBT+ activist organizations to develop safe spaces for LGBT+ fans, athletes, and allies and we have been in talks with local activist groups to strategize around the 2018 World Cup but this initiative in St. Petersburg is unknown to us. We would be delighted to hear from the local organizers about their plans.

Shortly after the USA Today piece (for which we were never contacted), other media outlets including The Advocate, Pink News, and Gay Times picked up the story, including inaccuracies such as the claim that this would be the first Pride House at a major football event (there were Pride Houses at the World Cup in Rio in 2014 and at the Women’s World Cup in Vancouver in 2015). In at least one story, it was reported that “Pride House International have confirmed that they are planning on having a venue in an undisclosed location in St. Petersburg.” This is untrue; we at Pride House International were never contacted for comment on this issue.

To sum up, although we at Pride House International are learning about these plans for the first time, we would invite the local Russian activist group to reach out to us for support. We also invite any publication that wishes to report on these events to contact us for comment or to check the facts.

Keph Senett, Trustee, Pride House International