A group of gay climbers brought up symbols of the LGBT+ movement and of Ukraine and left them on a hard-to-reach rock near Vladimir Putin Peak in the Tien Shan mountains in Kyrgyzstan. This was their protest against Putin’s homo- and transphobic, imperial and neo-colonial regime.
Before this group of gay climbers, in the same year of 2022, two other Russian climbers, because of the outbreak of war in Ukraine, climbed Putin Peak and hoisted a Ukrainian flag on top of it as a sign of support for the Ukrainian people. However, in less than a few days, the flag of Ukraine was put down by climbers from Kyrgyzstan.
In order to make it difficult to remove the symbols of Ukraine and LGBT+, gay climbers placed rainbow and Ukrainian flags on a hard-to-reach rock near the summit, so that they would be still visible to everyone, attempting to reach the summits, but difficult to remove them.
In addition, gay climbers, together with the local LGBT+ organization Kyrgyz Indigo (indigo.kg), organized the Pride on the rocks in Chunkurchak, gathering the local LGBT+ community and teaching them the basics of rock climbing.
Gay climbers hoisted flags on a rock near Putin Peak as part of the Pink Summits campaign (pinksummits.com/en). This campaign tackles prejudice and hatred against LGBT people. As part of the campaign, a queer team of mountaineers ascends the highest peaks of all continents, so-called Seven Summits and organizes diverse events for LGBT+ rock-climbing and mountaineering communities.
The Pink Summits team has already been on the highest peak in Europe and Russia, Elbrus, with a rainbow flag. Back then, while trying to cross the state border between Georgia and Russia, they were stopped and interrogated by the FSB, the secret services of Russia.
The team was also on Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest point in Africa, on Mont Blanc, the highest mountain of the Western Europe, and on Mount Kosciuszko in Australia. In January 2023 they plan to climb Mount Aconcagua in South America, which is the highest peak on the planet outside of Asia.
Because of his LGBT activism, Dastan, a founder of the Pink Summits campaign, has experienced physical abuse, threats and harassment. Through his campaign, he wants to show that the hatred and violence made him only stronger. Dastan and his team want to inspire other LGBT people to fight for their rights, freedom, love and life in spite of injustice and cruelty.