Apple Watch’s Pride background disappears in Russia

pride apple watch

Apple has always been keen to emphasize their progressive, equality-based business ethos, but this might not go down well in every country.

In June, the tech firm created an LGBTI background for the Apple Watch so owners around the world can wear that rainbow on their wrists for Pride.

As long as they’re not in Russia, that is.

If you set the location on your watch or iPhone to Russia and select the Pride background, the rainbow colors vanish.

Technology news site The Verge reported that numerous Reddit users and posts on Apple help forums have been flagging this issue for months.

One of the site’s senior editors put this to the test, posting a video of changing a watch face to the Pride colors, then switching user region to Russia.

The globally recognizable LGBTI banner disappears.

Twitter user and iOS developer Guilherme Rambo (@_inside) has pointed out: ‘The Apple Watch pride face is hardcoded to not show up if the paired iPhone is using the Russian locale.’ 

Another victim of the ‘gay propaganda’ law

This is likely to do with Russia’s notorious ‘gay propaganda’ law.

The law purports to protect children from imagery which could be considered as normalizing homosexuality and LGBTI culture in Russia.

Since its implementation in 2013, the law has been used to justify clampdowns on the LGBTI community.

The first minor was prosecuted under the law last month.

16-year-old Maxim Neverov was fined 50,000 rubles (the equivalent of around $760) for posting pictures of partially nude men embracing each other on social network site Vkontakte.

LGBTI rights activists said this was the first time someone who is not actively involved with campaigning for LGBTI rights and awareness was prosecuted under the law.

Neverov said he would appeal the decision.

The law is just one element of Russia’s overall woeful LGBTI rights record, where the authorities regularly clamp down on LGBTI rights marches, awareness campaigns, and protests.

Russia is ranked Europe’s second least LGBT-friendly nation by ILGA-Europe.

However, Russia hasn’t been completely devoid of the Pride colors.

During the World Cup which was hosted in Russia, six activists took to the streets of Moscow sporting their national football shirts to form the rainbow flag.

The project, named The Hidden Flag, was a protest against Russian anti-LGBTI discrimination and the ‘gay propaganda’ law.