Russia’s biggest culture and lifestyle magazine, Afisha, has published a dedicated gay issue in response to anti-gay propaganda laws currently going through parliament. The issue features profiles of 27 Russian gay and lesbian people from across Russian society including a mechanic, PR manager, doctor, baker, government official and orchestra director.
It also features interviews with prominent figures from the church, government, academia and the arts on their views on homosexuality. Afisha has a readership of over one million. Bolshoi Gorod (Big City), another lifestyle magazine distributed free, published a similar issue last April.
It’s been 20 years since homosexuality was decriminalised in Russia, however changes in attitudes have been slow. This year saw the introduction of a nationwide anti-gay propaganda law in parliament, which seeks to protect minors from “the propaganda of sodomy, lesbianism, bisexuality and transgenderism”.
The bill, perceived as part of a wider clampdown on society’s more liberal elements, passed its first reading with an overwhelming majority. The legislation has already been passed in a number of cities across Russia, including St Petersburg. In response, Venice and Milan both dropped St Petersburg as their official twinned city.