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ASU Alum Brad Reed Nelson Brings LGBT Rights Awareness to Winter Olympics

As all eyes are on Russia for the upcoming 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, a former ASU Sun Devil is making sure the gay rights discussion remains a visual one.

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ASU alum Brad Reed Nelson is the leader of a new grassroots campaign, Straighten Out the Rainbow. Since last year, the now Colorado-based artist has been taking the the topic of equal rights to T-shirts with a design he calls the "Russian Bear Bow."

The shirt, which features two bears wearing ushankas (the traditional Russian ear-flapped fur caps) and straightening out a rainbow, is intended to start a dialogue, one that Nelson hopes will rectify the misguided way that equal rights for gays and lesbians is being handled.

"The Human Rights Campaign is so ambiguous if you're not in the know," says Reed Nelson. "We want a banner you can wear that could explain your sense of equality."

Leading up the 22nd Winter Olympics, which begin February 7, Reed Nelson and his team at Board by Design are distributing shirts from the Straighten Out the Rainbow campaign to Olympic athletes and commentators, including Olympic silver medalist and NBC broadcaster Christin Cooper, in the hopes of gaining more exposure.

For non-Olympians, the Russian Bow Bear shirts are available online for $30, with $5 of each purchase benefiting the It Gets Better Project.

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