Is Russia Safe for Queer Travelers? – Nomadic Boys

Author: , September 15th, 2018

Russia for queer travelers

Editor’s note. We had some trepidation about posting this, given Russia’s current role in world affairs. But sunlight is the best disinfectant, and Russia is home to an active queer community, however suppressed it may be. So we decided it was important to shine a little light on that community.

Stefan’s coming out song in February 2003 was “All The Things You Said”, a pop hit by Russian girlband t.A.T.u, who were marketed as a lesbian couple. For the video of this song, the two band members, Lena Katina and Julia Volkova, were running around in the rain dressed in school girl outfits and making out.

Obviously the band were (quite successfully!) targeting a very specific heterosexual male demographic. But despite this, the very fact that such a public homosexual image was being shown and accepted across Russian society in the early 2000s, speaks volumes about attitudes to LGBTQ in Russian society…so what the hell went wrong since?!

Just before travelling on the Trans Siberian across Russia in 2014, almost every other person warned us “you better be careful in Russia boys, probably best avoid going altogether!”

With hindsight we are so glad we ignored this advice.

Yes, we were nervous when we first touched down at Domodedovo airport in Moscow. After all, we all know Russia has a terrible reputation for LGBTQ rights, particularly in light of the awful anti-gay propaganda law passed in 2013. Nonetheless, we were absolutely fine during our travels there. We were even pleasantly surprised that there are thriving gay scenes in Moscow and St Petersburg.

This is our advice about travelling safely in Russia for gay travellers based on our first hand experience exploring the country as a same sex couple.

Is it legal to be gay in Russia?

The good news first: it is legal to be gay in Russia! In fact it has been legal since 1993. In addition, the age for sexual consent (16 years old) has been the same for both straight and gay couples since 1993, except in Chechnya. It’s also legal for a single gay man to adopt, you can change your legal gender, and gays are allowed to serve in the Russian military (under a “don’t ask don’t tell policy) unlike in some European countries like Cyprus, which has a total LGBT ban in its army!

Another surprising fact about Russia is that gay men are allowed to donate blood without any restrictions. In the UK, we are required to have 3 months of no sexual relations before we can even be considered.

By AUTHOR – Full Story at SOURCE

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Moscow Gay Pride Permit Denied for Ninth Year

Author: , May 25th, 2014

RussiaIn an unsurprising but upsetting turn of events, Moscow officials have denied Nikolai Alexeyev, an LGBT activist, the right to organize a gay pride parade in the city for the ninth year in a row. The country’s “gay propaganda” law is the likely culprit for this year’s refusal, but years past are murkier. Still, Alexeyev is determined to let his rainbow flag fly.

ILGA Europe reports:

Nikolai AlexeyevNikolai Alexeyev vowed to move forward with the event on May 31 even if it meant doing so without permission, according to news portal Gay Russia. Alexeyev told Gay Russia that the parade proposal was rejected on the basis of a federal law banning the propagandizing of non-traditional sexual relations around minors.

A spokesperson for the Regional Security Department’s public events office told The Moscow Times by telephone Tuesday that Alexeyev had been refused permission to hold the parade.

By Joseph Ehrman-Dupre – | Russia Gay Travel Resources | Other Gay Travel Events

Toronto to Host Pride House During Russian Olympics

Author: , December 1st, 2013

TorontoToronto is carrying on an Olympic tradition that had its beginnings in Vancouver, but has been outlawed for the Winter Games in Sochi. Both Vancouver, in 2010, and London, for the 2012 Summer Olympics, had a Pride House – a safe space and resource centre for gay athletes, coaches, volunteers and visitors. But Russia denied an application for a Pride House in Sochi, where the anti-gay climate is sure to be one of the stories of the Games.

And so Toronto will host its own Pride House in February, to celebrate the Games and shine a spotlight on Russia’s anti-gay laws.

“We hope to use that as an opportunity to raise awareness for LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) peoples human rights in Russia, to celebrate the Russian community, and the LGBT community in Russia in ways that we don’t see happening now,” said Barbara Besharat, of PrideHouse Toronto.

Authored By Lori Ewing – See the Full Story at Edge Boston

Click here for gay travel resources in Ontario.

Atlantis Cruises Boycotts Russia

Author: , November 22nd, 2013

Gay Caribbean CruisesI’ve just returned from my weeklong Atlantis Cruise to Mexico, which was fabulous as always. I want to thank Benny Cartwright for filling in for me with this “Out & About” column while I was away!

Some significant news was announced while I was on board. During the VIP Alumni reception Tuesday night, Atlantis CEO Rich Campbell outlined the new cruises in store for 2014, including the return of the popular Baltic European cruise. This time, however, one port of call that had always been included in the past was pointedly excluded for the 2014 cruise: St. Petersburg, Russia.

Campbell said that while the people of St. Petersburg were always friendly and welcoming to us in the past, and that the immense cultural attractions made it an obvious port of call under normal circumstances for any Baltic cruise … these were no longer normal circumstances. The hostile anti-gay attitude of the current Putin regime has made Russia an unacceptable destination for a gay cruise, and he expressed hope that the economic effect of the decision would in some small way help to bring about change in the current sad state of affairs there.

Authored By Jim Winsor – See the Full Story at SDGLN

Click here for gay travel resources in Russia.

One Lesbian Couple Fought Anti Gay Prejudice on Russia Trip

Author: , November 20th, 2013

Lesbian Trip to RussiaSarah and Laura sent us this photo from their visit to Russia. ‘We went to Moscow a few years ago, and it was beautiful,’ said the girls. ‘It was really interesting being in a country that was SO different from where we are from – there were guards everywhere!

‘At our hotel, we asked for a king bed, but were given twins. Every night we pushed them together, and when we came back every day we’d find them separated again.

‘It was before Russia was in the news for their anti-LGBT views and laws… good thing because we can’t help but think our bed-moving antics would have more consequences lately!’

See the Full Story at Gay Star News

Click here for gay travel resources in Russia.

Pride House to Sneak Into Russian Olympics

Author: , October 31st, 2013

Sochi Winter GamesWhile Vladimir Putin may have no interest in LGBT people having a place at the Olympics in Sochi, Pride House International may have found its own way of promoting gay rights.

Their intention is to overcome the ban on a Pride House to work with national houses at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games.

That way, there could be a Pride House to promote LGBT diversity in sport and sneak past Russia’s choice to not have an official one at their event.
Lou Englefield, coordinator for Pride House International, explained: ‘Various National Olympic Committees traditionally create a venue to promote their national teams and offer hospitality for officials, athletes, and fans.

Authored By Joe Morgan – See the Full Story at Gay Star News

Click here for gay travel resources in Russia.

Russian Gay Group Plans Games After Sochi Olympics

Author: , October 30th, 2013

RussiaA group in Russia has announced plans to hold a “gay games” in Moscow just days after the Winter Olympics take place in Sochi in February 2014.

Russia has been heavily criticised because a federal bill banning gay “propaganda”, which was signed into law by Russia’s President Vladimir Putin in June.

It prescribes fines for providing information about homosexuality to people under the age of 18 – ranging from 4,000 roubles (#78) for an individual to 1m roubles (#19,620) for organisations.

Authored By – See the Full Story at Pink News

Click here for gay travel resources in Russia.

Putin Rolls Out the Welcome Mat for Gays at the Olympics. Sort Of.

Author: , October 28th, 2013

Russian President Vladimir PutiRussian President Vladimir Putin is saying gays are welcome at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

With his country’s widely-criticized anti-gay propaganda law still in place, Putin on Monday (28 October) for the first time appeared to be making some kind of gesture to the LGBTI community as the worldwide sporting event draws closer.

‘We are doing everything, both the organizers and our athletes and fans, so that participants and guests feel comfortable in Sochi, regardless of nationality, race or sexual orientation,’ Reuters reports Putin telling Thomas Bach, the head of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

Authored By Greg Hernandez – See the Full Story at Gay Star News

Click here for gay travel resources in Russia.

Sochi’s Gay Scene Thriving

Author: , September 30th, 2013

Sochi Winter GamesA man named Ravil catapults onto the dance floor and starts stomping out the lezginka, the arrogant rooster strut of the Chechen national dance.

Ravil’s spontaneous performance is made even more unusual by the fact he’s in one of the two gay clubs in Sochi, the southern Russian town that will host the Winter Olympics amid Vladimir Putin’s harsh crackdown on gays. The morality campaign – centered on a law banning gay “propaganda” – has threatened to overshadow the games as it provokes an international outcry.

Paradoxically, Sochi is a far cry from the conservative lifestyle that the president is trying to promote.

At club Mayak, for example, the dancers are as diverse as the city itself: a Muslim who is a former market butcher, an Armenian who owns a strip club in a nearby town, a Ukrainian who loves to sing like Whitney Houston and dress like Adele.

See the Full Story at the Wisconsin Gazette

Click here for gay travel resources in Russia.


Russia Convicts Gay Filmmakers, Bans Them From Country for Three Years

Author: , July 24th, 2013

St. Petersburg, Russia Gay Pride 2012The first foreign tourists charged under Russia’s draconian “gay propaganda law” have been banned from the country for three years. Whatever will they do with themselves?

The four Dutch citizens were in the northern city of Murmansk filming a documentary about Russia’s spate of anti-gay laws, though they claimed they were there to “acquaint themselves with Russian culture.” That little White Russian lie led the Russian Federal Migration Service to blacklist them from the country.

“The Federal Migration Service has banned the citizens of Holland from entering the country for three years, as the declaration of their purpose of stay in the Russian Federation did not correspond to what they were doing,” it said in a statement obtained by Gay Star News.

Authored By Lester Brathwaite – See the Full Story at Queerty

Click here for gay travel resources in Russia.