Alwin van der Velden and Gustavo Pelogia admit that they won't be visiting Russia anytime soon. The Amsterdam game developers, who are not gay, have created a new online game in which players can give Russian President Vladimir Putin a much needed makeover.
Putin, currently hosting the Sochi games in Russia, has received worldwide condemnation for signing draconian laws, which make it a crime to "promote" homosexuality to children in Russia. The country has since seen a nationwide surge in anti-gay violence.
"We decided to create a game after Putin made some ridiculous statements about gay rights and the spread of gay propaganda," Pelogia told SFGN, speaking from the Dutch capital. "With this game we want to make use of humor to raise awareness of this subject."
The game, Putin Gay Dress Up, allows players to present images of Putin, which would no doubt make him cringe. "You can dress Putin up in all sorts of gayish clothing items," Pelogia explained. "When you're satisfied with the results, you can upload it to the public gallery. In two days, over 60,000 people have played the game and over 2,000 Putin creations have been uploaded to the gallery."
Images include the head of state sporting leather attire, in his underwear, and in drag. In Putin in Drag: What Transmisogyny Looks Like? posted at Transadvocate, Trans activist Cristan Williams questioned whether or not mocking Putin for looking female constituted transphobia. Comments to the post were divided, though a number of Transadvocate readers stated that the Dress Up game gives Putin a slap in the face by presenting him as something he hates.
Pelogia reports that the feedback he's gotten have been overwhelmingly positive. "The game has been picked up by numerous Russian websites, so lots of visitors keep coming in," he said. "Yesterday our servers even broke down because of all this traffic. We think it is funny and hope that Putin isn't offended too much. Maybe the gay rights discussions can pick up after he responds."
To play Putin Dress up, or to check out the hilarious gallery, please visit: PutinGayDressUp.com