A Ukrainian immigrant who arrived stateside in 1990 with her husband, children and mother, Yelena Goltsman was deeply closeted when she joined Manhattan’s gay and lesbian synagogue, Congregation Beit Simchat Torah in 1995.
Today, the media executive leads RUSA LGBT, a New York-based support group for Russian-speaking gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. She has also become one of the most prominent voices calling for a boycott of the 2014 Winter Olympics to protest Russia’s new anti-gay laws, such as the regulation against “homosexual propaganda” among minors.
Goltsman now lives in Brooklyn with her wife; the two married in a Jewish ceremony in 2011. “My adult children are married now, and they and their spouses are very supportive of our marriage and of LGBT causes in general,” she said.