April 11, 2012, 11:41 am
Masha Gessen's profile photo on FB
I spent a lot of years living in Soviet Russia and wrote my first book on Queer in Russia. Back then there was a joke:
In America, you send your gays to Camp San Francisco. Here we send our gays to Camp Siberia.
It wasn’t funny because it was more or less true (not to mention insane asylums, forced electroshock conversion therapies, etc.). Alas, the Russia of Vladimir Putin is an equally grim place to be queer.
Recently several regions have passed laws that make it illegal to disseminate “homosexual propaganda to minors.” Both the U.S. and the E.U. have expressed concern that the law will violate the human rights of Russia’s lgbt citizens. Last Thursday, such human rights violations occurred when two men protesting this law were arrested in St. Petersburg.