Russian Lesbian Writer Fired:
Ignored Putin's Flying Cranes Stunt
out Russian lesbian journalist and public intellectual Masha Gessen, pictured, stretches back the late 1980s when we were involved with several East Coast chapters of ACT UP, when she and her family resided in the United States.
In the early 1990s, with the Soviet Union still standing, if wobbly, she brought pioneering Russian gay activist Roman Kalinin to America for a speaking tour. We collaborated on Kalinin's visit to Washington, DC, including an event at the old Lambda Rising Bookstore.
Since her return to Russia, I've followed her journalistic career and criticism of Vladimir Putin, admiring her courage in speaking truth to a terrifying power known for killing political opponents and assassinating reporters.
Moscow Times has the details:
The Vokrug Sveta (Around the World) travel monthly terminated its
contract with Gessen seven months after she got the job because, she
said, she refused to send a reporter to cover an expedition where Putin
would release some endangered Siberian cranes.
"I'm leaving Vokrug Sveta #thankputinforthat," Gessen wrote on her Twitter on Monday.
The official reason for the contract termination is "a disagreement
over the separation of powers between the editorial and the management,"
she told Kommersant-FM. She said the management had asked her to send
a reporter to cover the expedition but she had objected.
Siberian cranes, known for their snow-white feathers, are the most
critically endangered of the world's 15 crane species, with only 3,200
birds thought to exist in the wild. Gessen said in the interview that
she did want to write about Siberian cranes — but without Putin.
Gessen, who authored a Putin biography titled "The Man Without
a Face," is a renowned critic of the Kremlin and a columnist for The New
Googling for news of Gessen that mention either gay or lesbian, as in she is out about her lesbianism and that a lesbian journalist has been fired thanks to Putin, turns up zero results. There are dozens of English-language article about getting sacked, with none reporting on the L word part of her identity.
Her blog at the New York Times site also omits mention of her being a lesbian, and so far she has not written about her firing on that blog.
Obscuring Gessen's out lesbian status in the the widespread coverage is troubling, a point I would hope to find agreement on with her.