In the last few months, Russia has become notorious for its antigay stance. Vladimir Putin’s regime has passed “gay propaganda” laws that effectively ban people from discussing anything in support of LGBT people, and now gay people and their allies live in fear of prosecution and attack—especially from the neo-Nazi anti-gay group Occupy-Pedofilyay, a group led by former skinhead Maxim Martsinkevich, which uses online personal advertisements to lure gay boys to buildings where they detain and humiliate them. The group films the boys being harassed and then uploads the videos onto the internet.
Russian queers cannot run to the police for help, since most likely, none would be given. Few gays are able to leave Russia, so they live within a country that hates them. Apart from activists protesting in Moscow and Saint Petersburg, most gays have either gone into hiding or attempted to mask their identity, making it difficult for Westerners to know what it’s really like to be gay in Russia. But one brave gay Russian teenager is changing this with @ru_lgbt_teen, a Twitter account about being a gay teen in Novosibirsk, the third most-populated city in Russia.