The Gay Russians Are Coming,
The Gay Russians Are Coming!
The Gay Russians Are Coming!
There are many courageous gay people around the planet taking great personal risk to come out of the closet and organize for human rights protections for themselves and the larger community, and one of the bravest is Nicolas Alekeyev of Moscow.
He's been attempting to stage a simple gay pride march and festival for a number of years, and faces violent opponents and political barriers in his efforts to live free out of the Russian closet, and I try to stand in solidarity with him whenever I can through the web and street protests.
This week Nicolas informed me that he is coming to America for the first time and I'm so pleased he will be a visitor to our country. He will be traveling with his longtime partner.
However, I'm very disappointed to learn he will not be visiting my hometown of San Francisco. His only stop will be in Chicago and I hope everyone in that area will turn out in large numbers for his public speaking engagements, and extend to him the solidarity he more than deserves from USA gays.
Major kudos to the people of the Gay Liberation Network for organizing Nicolas's tour of Chicago.
Here is his letter, along with an excellent story in the Chicago Free Press on his impending visit:
Dear friends,I will be on my first ever US visit first week of October. I will be visiting Chicago with the kind invitation of Gay Liberation Network. The organisers of my trip arranged for me a few public speeches, on 3 October and 6 October.You can find more information here at the Gay Liberation Network site.If by any chance anyone of you can be in Chicago at the same time than me (1-7 October) I will be glad to have a chance to meet.Nikolai Alekseev
And this excerpt is from the Chicago Free Press edition of September 26:
Gay Russian leader Nikolai Alexeyev said last week that despite continuing battles with authorities over Pride parades and other public events, Russia’s gay community is moving steadily toward greater openness and freedom.
“The situation is obviously very different if you live in Moscow and St. Petersburg, compared to the rest of the country,” Alexeyev said. “It’s very difficult to live in the smaller cities and villages and even in some of the larger ones. Even in the major cities there are lots of instances of people being attacked when they go out of the clubs, and gay people are very scared to go to the police when they are attacked. …At the same time we see real progress compared to five years ago.” [...]
After he and others organized Moscow’s first Pride Parade in 2006, Alexeyev said, “The tide changed and the interest in the media began to grow. …Now we have some very good relations with some major news agencies.”
Alexeyev said GLBTs in the United States could play a role in winning freedom for their counterparts in Russia.
“The most important thing is to show solidarity with Gay Pride Day,” he said. He said he was “very thankful” for the presence of a small number of European politicians at this year’s Pride event in Moscow, but added, “To have just one representative from the United States Congress would be a very important thing. …It would have a huge impact on the future of Moscow Pride.”