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    Posted August 16, 2013 by
    Moscow, Russian Federation
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    How to be gay in Russia


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     Russian fashion designer tkuznetsova has her own experience of the controversy over gay rights in Russia. She shared her thoughts with iReport in a bid to raise awareness of the issue, particularly in light of next year's winter Olympics in Russia. "We must respect all races, beliefs, nationalities and sexual orientations, whether we host a hugely expensive Olympic games in our country or not," she said. "So I think every country should boycott the Olympics, because it is our only chance." She also remains pessimistic about the future for gay people, and gay rights, in Russia. "I do not know when a liberal person will be allowed to the government and will educate and grow Russian people in tolerance and respect for each other," she says sadly.
    - sarahbrowngb, CNN iReport producer

    Hello, dear readers. I was asked to tell my "thoughts on the subject of gay rights in Russia, particularly in light of the winter Olympics due to be held in Sochi next year" I tried to put my thoughts together, hope you will find them interesting or these insider comments will help you to create an impression of our situation.


    First to say, I am 24 years old gay woman, so I can speak at first hand. It was never ok to be gay in this country. You're either bullied if you're a boy at school or just mocked but I am a strong positive person so I've never worried about it.


    Then social life, internet community. there are very strict division onto parts: Ones who are aggressively rude and you could assume they are those people who smash gays with barstools at gay clubs and strike them with knives.
    Opposite to them are people who are rather gays themselves or have gay friends, they are very nice and supportive when we standing up for our rights (which is useless because Putin is a dictator, and he holds all the country in his fist).


    And there is a group of people who say they are "not against us or our rights, but just stay in closet and you won`t receive any harm". They are the most dangerous, I think, because they really do not understand that their statements are really our rights violation and they are much more numerous than the first group.


    This situation was all the time about the same but later, thanks for Putin's fears of losing his throne, situation changed. He implemented "divide and rule" principle starting with gays community and gay tolerant group. he needed to make: 1) multiple conflicts in society to distract people from economic problems, bribing and lawlessness in government and all its branches. 2) a lever with which he could afflict progressive people (who are his enemies in his situation) and couple of still existing free press representatives (such as "Dozhd"("Rain") internet-TV).


    And what can I say on this situation? He actually got both of those! Soldiers are smashing cute gay guys right in front of policemen and nobody cares.


    You know, I am quite tall (more than 6ft) so sometimes people think I am a guy and very often I hear behind my back: "faggot!". So when I walk with my girl, holding her hand, I am thinking one thought: whether anybody will smash my face because I'm a lesbian, or they will think I am a gay man (because of my appearance, clothing etc) and that will be their cause. We even laughed at this "win-win" situation once.


    I am a fashion designer, so the second lever could be used on me also, because fines for "homosexual propaganda" for entrepreneurs could be as high as one million Russian currency, which is about £20,000. I must be thankful that I do not have huge business or high popularity yet because if my word could count, I would already had a lot of fines charged, or my business closed.


    Also crazy churchy-grannies with crosses were always very aggressive and they not only yell, but you know, any giant cross always has a chance of getting stuck into your skull.


    About the Sochi Olympic games? I am sure we must respect all the races, beliefs, nationalities and sex-orientations, whether we host a hugely expensive Olympic games in our country or not. So I think every country should boycott the Olympics, because it is our only chance.


    I've never been interested in politics before last Duma's elections. And when I got to know the process, I was so disappointed and broken, I just didn't want to live anymore. And then in the presidential elections everything repeated. And I was dreaming that the United Kingdom would come and make out of us a New Singapore and there would not be bribing, theft and murdering in politics.


    And all the time I was wondering why, when other countries suffer of their dictators so much, the world sees it, and yet when we are suffering, it seemed nobody knows about it? Now when the horror came so far, and all my rights (not only as a human being, but as a homosexual human being also) are being violated, finally I see: They care.


    Thank you for reading this article, and thank you for your interest in gay rights in Russia, we need your support so much!


    There is a campaign to sign right now!


    And please, at any chance look up for similar campaigns and help us with your vote whenever you can!

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