TheJournal.ie uses cookies. By continuing to browse this site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Click here to find out more »
Dublin: 13 °C Monday 23 April, 2018
Advertisement

Russian 'anti-gay fever' flag shares its inspiration with Irish No campaign

A Mammy, Daddy and their kids have been causing an awful stir this week.

ssmlogos Source: La Manif Pour Tous/Mothers and Fathers Matter/United Russia

BACK IN 2013, at the start of the French campaign to legalise same-sex marriage, an unusual collective with a striking set of symbols emerged in opposition to the plan.

Anti-gay marriage activists of all stripes and backgrounds convened under the umbrella group “La Manif Pour Tous.”

The group’s name (“the demo for all”) was a parody of “le mariage pour tous” (“marriage for all”), the phrase used by French Justice Minister Christiane Taubira to describe her legislation.

Their logo and flag – a man and woman holding hands with a boy and girl, using the colours pink, white and light blue – reflected the gentle and inclusive approach the group attempted.

Despite these efforts, the movement was at times infiltrated by far-right extremists, which led to violent clashes with riot police during protests in Paris.

MPT Source: La Manif Pour Tous

Its chief spokesperson was Frigide Barjot (real name Virginie Tellene) an eccentric former comedian and performance artist who had converted to Catholicism and become a socially conservative activist.

Although La Manif Pour Tous included founders and representatives from the clergy and France’s large Muslim community, it presented itself as secular and concerned mainly with the rights of children.

France Protest Children at a protest in Paris in February 2014. Source: Associated Press

Throughout the winter and spring of 2013, hundreds of thousands marched throughout France, often bringing their kids along and happily declaring their love for the LGBT community, while opposing the expansion of marriage and adoption rights.

In classical French style, the group emphasised high concepts such as “otherness” and “filiation”.

At rallies, children carried banners featuring the faces of babies accompanied by slogans like “I need a daddy and a mammy.”

If all this sounds familiar, you’re on the right track.

Much of the French campaign against same-sex marriage appears to have been taken up in Ireland this year – the relatively soft and inclusive tone, gay spokespersons, de-emphasising religion, and of course, the logo itself.

In particular, the group Mothers and Fathers Matter adopted a set of symbols that were strikingly similar to those of La Manif Pour Tous.

manifmfm Source: La Manif Pour Tous/Mothers and Fathers Matter

Their official logo consisted of a man and woman holding hands with two children, and their unofficial colour code for public events and campaign literature was – you’ve guessed it – pink and light blue.

The group also frequently emphasised the rights and interests of children during the referendum debate.

According to one activist from La Manif Pour Tous Ireland, and the “Irish Sentinels” (named after a French anti same-sex marriage group known for its silent vigils), the connection with the French movement is not a formal one.

But we have promoted some of their big marches with posters and the sentinel-style vigils in front of the French embassy in Dublin.
Apart from the Twitter accounts, we were individually involved in the recent marriage referendum campaign.

Ludovine de la Rochere, president of La Manif Pour Tous, told TheJournal.ie she wasn’t aware of any Irish group using a design similar to theirs, and hadn’t licensed the exact logo to any Irish group.

We have a partnership with La Manif Pour Tous in Italy, Finland and Germany. But in Taiwan and Peru, there were associations that didn’t ask us for permission before using the logo.

‘Flag for straights’

0b41bb6093afa097c5e6ec5ce2611ffd Source: United Russia

Now, this week, it was the turn of Russia’s ruling political party, United Russia, to co-opt “mammy, daddy, and the kids”.

The Moscow branch of President Vladimir Putin’s party on Wednesday unveiled a new “flag for straights,” in time for the national Day of Family, Love and Fidelity.

PastedImage-73191 Source: svetlanakorbakova via Instagram

Featured in red, blue and white (the colours of the Russian flag) are, once again, a man and woman, this time holding hands with two sons and one daughter, where in the French and Irish iterations there was a gender balance.

The hashtag that accompanies the logo translates as “a real family”, and United Russia official Aleksey Lisovenko was unapologetic in declaring that the campaign was intended to “prevent gay fever” from taking hold in Russia.

As reported by the Moscow Times, he told the Izvestia newspaper:

This is our response to same-sex marriage, to this mockery of the concept of the family. We have to warn against gay fever at home and support traditional values in our country.

PastedImage-65034

When it was put to him that the “real family” was a rip-off of the French logo, Lisovenko reportedly claimed it had been done with consultation and cooperation of La Manif Pour Tous.

Ludivine de la Rochere, angrily denied this, and told Le Figaro:

That’s false. He never had [our permission]. Even if this man had asked for our permission, he wouldn’t have got it.
We condemn all forms of homophobia. There is no link between us and this political party.
Our flag, if it can be defined, represents the right of children to have a father and a mother. This gentleman’s opinions are despicable to me.

Rochere went on to suggest La Manif Pour Tous would take legal action against the party of Putin, stating that the logo is internationally registered intellectual property.

In 2013, Russia outlawed “gay propaganda”, and effectively banned public displays of LGBT pride and solidarity, as well as protests to lobby for further rights within the largely homophobic society.

TheJournal.ie contacted Mothers and Fathers Matter by phone and email for this article, but did not receive any response. 

Read: Where in the world is it hardest to be gay? (And what can Ireland do to help?)>

Read: The No campaign’s posters keep getting defaced and ripped down>

  • Share on Facebook
  • Email this article
  •  

About the author:

Dan MacGuill

Read next:

COMMENTS (179)