Being gay in Russia is an excercise in aphasia. Russia is gay. You are not. Russia is not gay. You are. Nizhinsky. Prokofiev. Ballet, faberge, imperial chic, pastel colors, dresses with gems, luxury living, state apparatus and you. Leading artists, leading club owners, leading everything is gay. Yet they are not. The dichotomy of good and evil. The light and the dark. The right and the wrong. In Russian duopoly there’s only one side and whichever one it is - it’s not the one you take.
Let’s roll back to my childhood to see that intricate interplay. That balance that permeates Russian lives. You go to school. Faggots are bad. Faggots are “blue”. Faggots, arrrgh. You go home. Faggots are in the books. They are in TV. They are being crucified as first Christians on the the proverbial Roman crosses (ture story of personal discovery starts with seeing naked bodies in a German life sciences magazine GEO). They are in the newspapers (where all the sex workers are) seen when crossing the Finnish border. They are there. Yet they are invisible. Not talked about. Not noticed. Not exisiting.
You doubt yourself, you cry, you pray (dear Jesus take this away, would you?). You cry. You cry. And then you discover porn. You jerk off. You pray. You cry. You send naked pics to your schoolmate. He does not reciprocate. You are in love with a girl. Yet you are in love with a boy. You are broken. You are broken. Can anyone be truly broken?
Violent high school years. Violent university years. You don’t get yourself. No one gets you. People are people. Who cares about gays when everyone has so many things to care about? Gays. Gays. Once at night you text someone. You are carless. They take advantage of you. They ridicule you. Then they date you. Then you have your first sex. Sad, angry, pathetic, juvenile. You are happy. You are angry. It’s still you. May be you are gay after all?
How much do we love our first loves? How much do we hate them? For everything they brought to us. For everything they took from us.
You grow up. You go to work. May be you go to work together? At least if you move to another city you can start everything anew. New friends. New apps. New discoveries. You work for an American company. Gays are good. Gays are bad. Gays are schhhhhhhhh. Where is me? Who am I? Where do I end? Where do I begin? Why love is so hard and why being loved is so hard?
You are taken advantage of. You take advantage of. A friend has a sex with you. You fall in love. You fall and you fall. You reflect. You grow. You keep loving. You fall in love. You fall out of love. You cry. You cry and you are not even wearing high heels or a good dress. Pathetic. You love. Love hurts.
Everything hurts. Then everything does not.
Being gay in Russia is an excercise in aphasia. The culture is gay. Yet it’s not. We grow up in false stereotypes of masculinity and femininity. We think strong is good. Good is just. Just is right. And when we are right we are strong.
Yet it’s all a farce. Reality is a farce. Conceptions are a farce. Oppression is a farce, We are all wearing high heels. We are oppressing the oppressed.
Gay, straight, a single mother, a retired person, a social worker, a coal miner. What makes our struggle different? What makes it the same? How many straight friends I know who struggle with their identity. Tons. How many gay friends I know who struggle with theirs. Tons. Aren’t gay rights the same as rights of all these groups? Are they?
Next year I am organizing Prides around the world. Prides. Me. Young Russian. Gay Russian. What is Pride? What is gay? What it is the future of my country? Where do we begin?