BAR: Russian Lesbian Explains
Gay Life in St. Petersburg
Staff writer Matthew Bajko of the Bay Area Reporter interviewed Polina Savchenko last week about gay life in St. Petersburg and her appearance tomorrow night, March 30, for a presentation and chat with local activists at the gay community center on Market Street.
Matthew's piece hit the paper's blog today, whets the appetite for meeting this brave lesbian leader and gives me a fuller picture of what life is like for her, in a country where democracy and gay activism are in their infancy stages.
I hope to see a warm welcome mat laid out for our guest from abroad from our beautiful Bay Area community. Come hear Polina speak and strengthening global gay solidarity.
Big thanks to Matthew and the paper for giving Polina's chat this wonderful pre-event promotion. From the BAR blog:
There isn't a clearly defined gayborhood like San Francisco's Castro District or Chicago's Boystown. But that doesn't mean St. Petersburg is bereft of a gay scene.
The Russian city, long considered a liberal bastion amid the sprawling Eurasian state due to its proximity to Western Europe, boasts gay nightclubs, poetry and music events geared toward lesbians, and various underground parties for LGBT locals and visitors.
"No, no neighborhood would be specifically a gay neighborhood in St. Petersburg. The cultural gay and lesbian life is very developed I think. There is a lot of things to do," Polina Savchenko told the Bay Area Reporter in a phone interview last week. "There is a very rich culture but very much underground."
Savchenko, 36, is the assistant general manager of Vykhod, which means Coming Out in Russian. Formed by a group of 15 people in 2008, the organization received its official registration from Russian authorities a year later, the first LGBT group to do so. ...
She is also the projects coordinator for the Russian LGBT Network, an affiliation of LGBT groups from 14 regions across the country that work together to share ideas and lobby for freedom of assembly for groups working on LGBT issues. ...
She is grateful to have an opportunity to speak with local LGBT activists and is looking forward to the discussion Wednesday night. ...
"I am very thankful to be awarded this opportunity to bring this information to American activist community," said Savchenko. "I believe the work we do is very deep, fundamental work that will bear fruit in the long-term."