Ikea prints almost 200 million copies of its monthly catalog. But while the furniture is always the same, the smiling faces sometimes change. Last year, the flatpack giant took out all the women from its Saudi edition. And this month, Ikea’s Russian division deleted a feature about a British lesbian couple, citing that country’s ridiculous “gay propaganda” law.
An Ikea spokesperson told a Swedish newspaper: “We have two guiding principles in the communication we distribute from Ikea. The first is home interior design. The second is following the law.”
Well, LGBT activists aren’t very happy with that legalistic attitude. They feel Ikea should have published anyway, whatever Vladimir Putin might think. Oleg Jelezniakov, a Russian exile living in the U.S., told the Huffington Post: “It’s ‘small’ decisions like these that sustain the large scale-ignorance and phobia towards millions of gay men and women worldwide.”
Protesters recently went to an Ikea store in Brooklyn to make the point. There, they staged a photo-shoot for an alternative catalog called IQEA, and promoted a forthcoming book about LGBT Russians titled Gay Propaganda: Russian Love Stories.
Jelezniakov added: “It’s that ‘little’ act of erasing that invalidates the very existence of many, only because of their sexual orientation.” The book and these pictures help put LGBT Russians back in the frame.