Russian activists will host a month-long digital Pride celebrating queer culture and creativity across the globe.
Hosted by Moscow-based mag O-zine, the online-only event will sidestep both social distancing measures imposed by the Covid-19 crisis and on-the-ground hostility to the LGBTQ community.
More than a dozen musicians and bands will be joining festivities throughout the month, with performances from Róisín Murphy, Manizha, Pussy Riot, Dorian Electra, SADO OPERA, and SVRNY. Russian LGBTQ activists will also give talks and hold events online.
In the physical world, the history of Russian Pride events is brief and troubled. Records show that the first-ever Moscow Pride was held in 1998, but attempts to host a government-approved Pride have been continuously rejected by the authorities. Other celebrations meanwhile have been violently disrupted by the far-right since 2006. Hopes of holding a peaceful Pride parade were dashed again under the country’s so-called “gay propaganda law”, which has effectively barred queer expression in mainstream media, education, and public spaces since 2013.
“In Russia, we’ve never had Stonewall, and Pride in the streets is not a safe option,” say O-zine’s founders, journalist Dmitry Kozachenko and queer sex educator Sasha Kazantseva. “This is why we are going to shout about ourselves through IG and other social networks. For the whole month of June we’ll be publishing talks from Russian LGBTQ+ activists and performances from LGBTQ+ musicians.”