Friday, 28 February 2014

Gone But Not Forgotten

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Gone But Not Forgotten - in 2013

Christopher Robson was an Irish civill rights activist and co-founder of GLEN (Gay & Lesbian Equality Network). (1)

He also founded Gay Health Action, the first group responding to the AIDS crisis in Ireland, Dublin Lesbian & Gay Men's Collective, who campaigned against violence, harassment and discrimination in the 1980s, and the Campaign for Equality, which successfully lobbied from multi-ground equality legislation in Ireland. (2)

He died on 23 March 2013, leaving behind his partner of 35 years Bill Foley. The GLEN website contains a tribute to him. (3)

Chrisie Edkins, a transgender singer and parent who campaigned worldwide for trans equality, was found hanged at her home by her girlfriend on 10 June 2013. (4)

One of her dreams was to see a Gay Pride event staged in her home city of Southampton. As a musician, Chrisie had performed live at gay pride events around the globe.

To celebrate her life and that dream, her funeral was planned to have the feel of a ‘mini’ gay pride event, according to Abby, her younger sister. Mourners were asked to wear LGBT pride colours and wear a wristband produced in Chrisie’s memory.

Her family said Chrisie had struggled to cope with personal issues in her life that were not connected to her transgender campaigning and had been suffering from ‘severe depression’ in the months leading up to her death. She leaves behind two daughters from a relationship before her transition.

On 30 October 2013, a Coroner returned a verdict of suicide. (5)

There are some lovely photos of Chrisie on Tumblr. (6)

Carol Ainscow, who was part of the revival of Manchester city centre, died from a recently diagnosed brain tumour aged 55 on 19 September 2013. (7)

Her property company Artisan transformed flats, bars and restaurants on Canal Street, had been battling a brain tumour. She was only diagnosed after feeling unwell following a holiday in August.

Bolton-born Carol was instrumental in regenerating run-down parts of Manchester, including the Village and West Gorton. With business partner Peter Dalton, she opened Manto, one of the first openly-gay bars on Canal Street, in 1990 and went on to own several bars and restaurants.

During the 1990s and 2000s she helped transform the village into a vibrant district, while building up Artisan into a multi-million pound business. (8)

Sean Morrin died on 21 September 2013, aged 48. He was a gay rights and human rights activist based in Derry in the north of Ireland. He worked full time with The Rainbow Project (9), a gay and bisexual men's organisation in Northern Ireland.

He was Chairperson of Survivors Northern Ireland, a member of the Management Committee of Men's Action Network (MAN), The Male Link and The Nucleus, and a member of the Northern Ireland LGBT Unison Group. (10)

Philip Chevron (born Philip Ryan), who played guitar for The Pogues, died on 8 October 2013, aged 56. He had been treated for head and neck cancer in 2007 and was given a clean bill of health in April 2012. A new tumour appeared in August 2012, however, and was deemed inoperable. (11)

In 1976, Chevron founded one of Ireland's first punk bands, The Radiators from Space. Their songs were later covered by folk singers including Christy Moore and Mary Coughlan. In 1984 Chevron joined The Pogues following the release of their debut album, Red Roses for Me, initially on a temporary basis. He was a full-time member by the time they recorded their second album, Rum, Sodomy and the Lash. Chevron later recalled his unrequited love for his heterosexual accordionist bandmate James Fearnley; though romance was not meant to be, esteem was unaffected. (12)

Although The Pogues' songwriting was dominated by Shane MacGowan, Chevron contributed one of the band's best-loved songs, Thousands Are Sailing.

In later years, he became The Pogues' unofficial spokesperson and resident expert on the reclusive MacGowan - frequently visiting online fora and directly answering questions from fans. In 2004, he personally oversaw the remastering and re-release of The Pogues' entire back catalogue on CD. He toured regularly with The Pogues, who reunited after a successful reunion tour in 2001. (13)

[Ed. note: I looked at 9 online obituaries for Philip Chevron, including such august organs as The Rolling Stone, Billboard, The Guardian and The Independent. The only one to reference Chevron's sexual orientation was Mojo.] 

Lou Reed died on 27 October 2013 from liver disease at the age of 71. (14)

He first came to notice as guitarist, vocalist and principal songwriter of the Velvet Underground. The band was a commercial failure in the late 1960s, but later gained a considerable cult and is one of the most widely cited and influential bands of its time - hence Brian Eno's famous quote that, while the Velvet Underground's debut album only sold 30,000 copies, "everyone who bought one of those 30,000 copies started a band."

Reed began his solo career in 1972. He had a hit the following year with Walk on the Wild Side, but never attained the commercial success its chart status promised. Reed was known for his distinctive deadpan voice, poetic lyrics and for pioneering and coining the term ostrich guitar tuning. (15)

In 1956, Reed, still a teenager, was given electroconvulsive therapy, intended to cure his bisexuality (16); he wrote about the experience in his 1974 song, Kill Your Sons. In an interview, Reed said of the experience:
"They put the thing down your throat so you don't swallow your tongue, and they put electrodes on your head. That's what was recommended in Rockland State Hospital to discourage homosexual feelings. The effect is that you lose your memory and become a vegetable. You can't read a book because you get to page 17 and have to go right back to page one again." (17)

About that time, however, he stepped back from his declared, or at least implied, bisexuality. (18)

In 2003, Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time included two albums by Reed as a solo artist, Transformer and Berlin. (19)

Ray Gosling speaking at a
meeting of Croydon Area Gay
Society, 2 December 2008;
Photo by Ross Burgess
Ray Gosling died on 19 November 2013, aged 74. He was an English broadcaster, journalist, author and gay rights activist. (20)

He wrote and presented several hundred television and radio documentaries and regional programmes for BBC Radio 4 and Granada Television from the 1960s to 1980s on quirky aspects of life in different British towns and cities. His later documentaries focused on his personal life and his emergence as a gay activist. He was described as "one of the most uniquely talented figures in the history of British broadcasting." (21)

Gosling was an early pioneer of the modern British gay rights movement, first becoming involved in the 1950s, and working with Allan Horsfall in the North West Homosexual Law Reform Committee of the late 1960s, which later became the Campaign for Homosexual Equality (CHE). Horsfall and Gosling ran a website together called Gay Monitor (22) which is partly a history of CHE and partly an account of more recent cases of discrimination against gay men.

On BBC’s Inside Out on 15 February 2010, he claimed to have killed a lover in an act of euthanasia. He was briefly arrested, but the claims were false and he was later given a suspended sentence for wasting police time.

On 14 September 2010, he was given a 90 day suspended sentence at Nottingham Magistrates' Court.

6.; See also:
16. Lou Reed - Walk on the Wild Side: The Stories Behind the Songs, Chris Roberts 2004
17. Lou Reed quoted in Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk, Legs McNeil & Gillian McCain, Grove Press 1996
18. - by Tom Robinson
21. By Robert Chalmers in a piece in The Independent on 40 September 2012:

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Thursday, 27 February 2014


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Naomi Jacob (1884-1964) was an English author, actress and broadcaster.

Although not well known nowadays, in her day Naomi Jacob was a well loved and respected figure despite her eccentric manner.

Her relationships with other women were an open secret but never publicly disclosed during her lifetime. No-one could dim her enthusiasm for her work nor the kindness that many saw in her.

She started her working life as a student teacher in Middlesbrough, but soon left that to become an actress in revue. About that point she unfortunately contracted tuberculosis, which affected her for the rest of her life. As physical activity had become more difficult, Jacob channelled her creative efforts into writing - novels, non-fiction, biographies and newspaper columns.

Britten (left) and Pears (right).
Benjamin Britten (1913-1976) was an English composer, conductor and pianist. He was a central figure of 20th century British classical music, with a range of works including opera, other vocal music, orchestral and chamber pieces. His best-known works include the opera Peter Grimes (1945), the War Requiem (1962) and the orchestral showpiece The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra (1945).

His personal and professional partner for almost 40 years was Peter Pears, the English tenor. Togethey they founded the Aldeburgh Festival in 1947 and the Britten-Pears School of music in 1972.

It was in honour of the centenary of his birth that music was chosen as the theme for LGBT History Month 2014.

Brewed in celebration of the centenary by Adnams of Southwold
(a few miles along the Suffolk coast from Aldeburgh)
A recording of an informal concert of traditional English songs given by Britten and Pears in 1964 to an audience of friends at the Riverside Studios, London, is available on BBC iPlayer.

James Baldwin was born in Harlem, New York City, in 1924 and died in 1987. He offered a vital literary voice during the era of civil rights activism in the 1950s and '60s. The eldest of 9 children, his stepfather was a minister. At 14, Baldwin became a preacher at the small Fireside Pentecostal Church in Harlem. After he left high school, he moved to Greenwich Village. In the early 1940s, he transferred his faith from religion to literature. Go Tell It on the Mountain (1953), his first novel, is a partially autobiographical account of his youth. His essay collections [Notes of a Native Son (1955), Nobody Knows My Name (1961) and The Fire Next Time (1963)] were influential in informing a large white audience.

From 1948, Baldwin made his home primarily in the south of France, but often returned to the USA to lecture or teach; in 1957, he began spending half of each year in New York City. His novels include Giovanni's Room (1956), about a white American expatriate who must come to terms with his homosexuality, and Another Country (1962), about racial and gay sexual tensions among New York intellectuals. His inclusion of gay themes resulted in a lot of savage criticism from the Black community. Eldridge Cleaver, of the Black Panthers, believed that Baldwin's writing displayed an "agonizing, total hatred of blacks". However, Going to Meet the Man (1965) and Tell Me How Long the Train's Been Gone (1968) provided powerful descriptions of American racism.

As an openly gay man, he became increasingly outspoken in condemning discrimination against lesbian and gay people. - Includes a video 'mini-biography' and a few other video clips. - In a clip from Take this Hammer (1963), Baldwin considers the question, 'Who is the nigger?' - In this film (c. 44 mins), Baldwin's Nigger, from 1969, James Baldwin and Dick Gregory, US comedian and activist, speak at the West Indian Student Centre in London on the Black experience in the USA and how it relates to the Caribbean and Great Britain. There are some interesting questions from the audience.

Sir Alan Bates CBE (1934-2003) had numerous homosexual relationships throughout his life, including those with actors Nickolas Grace and Peter Wyngarde, and Olympic skater John Curry. In 1994 Curry died from an AIDS-related illness in Bates's arms. Even when homosexuality was partially decriminalised in Britain in 1967, Bates rigorously avoided interviews and questions about his personal life, and even denied to his male lovers that there was a gay component in his nature. Yet, in his acting, he took on a number of roles with an aspect of homosexuality or bisexuality. - Abridged extract from Otherwise Engaged: The Life Of Alan Bates by Donald Spoto, 2008

WH Auden (Wystan Hugh) (1907-1973) As a young man he was influenced by the poetry of Thomas Hardy and Robert Frost, as well as William Blake, Emily Dickinson, Gerard Manley Hopkins, and Old English verse. Educated at Christ Church, Oxford, his ability as a poet was immediately apparent, and he formed lifelong friendships with two fellow writers, Stephen Spender and Christopher Isherwood.

He is admired for his technical virtuosity and an ability to write poems in nearly every imaginable verse form and for his intellect, which drew easily from an extraordinary variety of literatures, art forms, social and political theories, and scientific and technical information. He often mimicked the styles of other poets such as Dickinson, WB Yeats and Henry James.

He visited Germany, Iceland, and China, served in the Spanish Civil war, and in 1939 moved to the US, where he met his lover, Chester Kallman, and became an American citizen. His own beliefs changed radically between his youthful career in England, when he was an ardent advocate of socialism and Freudian psychoanalysis, and his later phase in America, when his central preoccupation became Christianity and the theology of modern Protestant theologians. A prolific writer, Auden was also a noted playwright, librettist, editor and essayist. Generally considered the greatest English poet of the 20th century, his work has exerted a major influence on succeeding generations of poets on both sides of the Atlantic.

WH Auden was a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets from 1954 to 1973, and divided most of the second half of his life between residences in New York City and Austria.

Thirty years ago on 10th April 1984, HM Customs & Excise set Operation Tiger in motion. This involved a raid on the premises of Gay’s The Word, the UK’s first (and now only surviving) lesbian and gay bookshop. They also raided the homes of the shop’s directors.
They seized all the shop’s imported books, as well as retaining thousands of pounds worth of other imported books at their ports of entry.

The Customs & Excise used the Customs Consolidation Act 1876, clearly determined to avoid the much more realistic provisions of the Obscene Publications Act 1959.

The 1959 Act allows for the defence of publications on the grounds of literary or artistic merit. However, it only applies to documents published in the UK. The Customs Consolidation Act, on the other hand, does not allow such a defence to be applied to imported material. - Gay’s The Word’s website

Derek Jarman, the English artist and film director, died on 19th February 1994 of an AIDS-related illness. Jarman was outspoken about homosexuality, his public fight for gay rights, and his personal struggle with AIDS.

He was diagnosed as HIV+ in 1986 and discussed his condition in public.

About his garden:

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Some LGBT Russians

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Some LGBT Russians
Compiled by Chris Park from various sources

There are a number of LGBT people from Russia who have not only contributed greatly to both Russian and World Arts and Science. Here are just a few.

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893) (1) was the first Russian composer whose music made a lasting impression internationally. His works included symphonies, concertos, operas, ballets, chamber music, and a choral setting of the Russian Orthodox Divine Liturgy. Later in his career, he made appearances as a guest conductor in Europe and the United States. One of these appearances was at the inaugural concert of Carnegie Hall in New York City in 1891. Tchaikovsky was honoured in 1884 by Emperor Alexander III, and awarded a lifetime pension in the late 1880s.

Despite his many popular successes, Tchaikovsky's life was punctuated by personal crises and depression. His homosexuality, which he kept private, has traditionally been considered a major factor, though some musicologists now downplay its importance. His sudden death at the age of 53 is generally ascribed to cholera, although there is some debate as to whether it was accidental or self-inflicted.

Tchaikovsky had clear homosexual tendencies; he sought out the company of other same-sex attracted men in his circle for extended periods, "associating openly and establishing professional connections with them." Portions of his brother Modest's autobiography, where he tells of Pyotr's sexual orientation, have been published, as have letters previously suppressed by Soviet censors in which Tchaikovsky openly writes of it. Modest was also homosexual.

While scholars argue about how comfortable he was about his sexual orientation, it is clear that Tchaikovsky was aware of the negative consequences should it become public knowledge.

Sergei Diaghilev (1872-1929) is best known in the West as a ballet impresario, for organising Russian ballets and bringing them to world attention. In Russia he is also known as the mastermind behind the World of Art, a group of artists, a series of regular exhibits, and a journal; he organised and promoted the World of Art group during his liaison with the painter, Dmitry Filosofov. Filosofov eventually left Diaghilev, who then met the dancer, Vaslav Nijinsky. In their five year affair, Diaghilev placed Nijinsky at the centre of such masterpieces as The Rite of Spring, Afternoon of a Faun, and Daphnis and Cloe. (2)

His homosexuality unquestionably influenced the artistic mission of the Ballets Russes, which he founded, with its promulgation of the exotic, the sensual, the androgynous, the aesthetic of 'the other'. His glorification of the male dancer and the male body paved the way for the acceptance of male dancing and revolutionised ballet in the 20th century. (3)

Vaslav Nijinsky (1889-1950) (4) was a dancer and choreographer. He is considered the greatest male dancer of the early 20th century, celebrated for his virtuosity and for the depth and intensity of his characterisations. He could perform en pointe, a rare skill among male dancers at the time and his ability to perform seemingly gravity defying leaps was legendary.

He choreographed ballets which pushed boundaries and stirred controversy: L'aprèsmidi d'un faune (1912); Jeux (1913); and Till Eulenspiegel (1916). In The Rite of Spring, (1913), Nijinsky created choreography that exceeded the limits of traditional ballet and propriety. For the first time, his audiences were experiencing the futuristic, new direction of modern dance - and not everyone liked it.

In the early years on the 20th century, it seems that in Russia there was a heavy sexual trade in ballet dancers. Some dancers accepted fees from interested ballet patrons for making introductions. In 1907 one such dancer introduced Nijinsky to Prince Pavel Lvov, and Nijinsky entered upon what was probably his first sexual relationship, with the blessing of his mother, who discouraged his heterosexual interests - she felt that marriage would impede his career - but was proud to see her son with so fine a figure as Prince Lvov. But Lvov soon tired of Nijinsky and began introducing him to others, including, in 1908, Sergei Diaghilev.

Alla Nazimova (1879-1945) (5) was an American film and theatre actress, a screenwriter, and film producer. She is perhaps best known as simply Nazimova, but also went under the name Alia Nasimoff. She was born Miriam Edez Adelaida Leventon in Yalta, Crimea. She emigrated to the United States from the Russian Empire, becoming a naturalised US citizen in 1927.

Nazimova as Marguerite Gautier in Camille, 1921

Between the years of 1917 and 1922 Nazimova wielded considerable influence and power in Hollywood.[3] By all accounts she was extremely generous to young actresses in whom she saw talent and became involved with at least some of them romantically. The list of those Nazimova is confirmed to have been involved with romantically includes actress Eva Le Gallienne, director Dorothy Arzner, writer Mercedes de Acosta, and Oscar Wilde's niece, Dolly Wilde. Bridget Bate Tichenor, a Magic Realist artist and Surrealist painter, was also rumoured to be one of Nazimova's favoured lovers in Hollywood from 1940 to 1942. Tichenor claimed their intimate relationship angered Nazimova's longtime companion, Glesca Marshall. It is Nazimova who coined the phrase "sewing circle" as code to refer to lesbian or bisexual actresses of her day who concealed their true sexuality. (6)

Nazimova lived with Glesca Marshall from 1929 until her death in 1945.

Sofia Vasilyevna Kovalevskaya (1850-1891) (7) was the first major Russian female mathematician and the first woman appointed to a full professorship in Northern Europe. She was also one of the first women to work for a scientific journal as an editor. Despite her obvious talent for mathematics, she could not complete her education in Russia; women were not allowed to attend universities at the time. In order to study abroad, she needed written permission from her father (or husband), so she contracted a "fictitious marriage" with Vladimir Kovalevsky, a young paleontology student who would later become famous for his collaboration with Charles Darwin. They left Russia in 1867.

In 1869, Kovalevskaya began attending the University of Heidelberg, Germany, which allowed her to audit classes as long as the professors gave their approval. After two years, she moved to Berlin, taking private lessons from Karl Weierstrass, as the university would not even allow her to audit classes.

In 1874 she presented three papers - on partial differential equations, on the dynamics of Saturn's rings and on elliptic integrals - to the University of Göttingen as her doctoral dissertation. With Weierstrass's support, she gained a doctorate in mathematics summa cum laude. She was the first woman in Europe to hold that degree. Her paper on partial differential equations contains what is now commonly known as the Cauchy-Kovalevski theorem.

After some financial ups and downs, Vladimir, who had always suffered severe mood swings, committed suicide in 1883.

That year, with the help of Gösta Mittag-Leffler, whom she had known as a student in Berlin, Kovalevskaya was able to secure a position at Stockholm University. The two women had an intimate "romantic friendship" that lasted until Kovalevskaya's death.

In 1889 she was appointed Professor Ordinarius at Stockholm University, the first woman to hold such a position at a northern European university. After much lobbying on her behalf (and a change in the Academy's rules) she was granted a Chair in the Russian Academy of Sciences, but was never offered a professorship in Russia.

She died of influenza in 1891, aged 41.

Masha Bast, a Russian lawyer (8), is used to facing formidable tasks. As the chairwoman for the Association of Russian Lawyers for Human Rights, she has worked on some of the most high-profile and politically sensitive cases in the country. She helped defend protesters implicated in violence at a 2012 opposition rally in Moscow; young men accused of taking part in a violent nationalist rally in 2010; and the so-called Primorye partisans, dubbed the "Russian Rambos" by the media after they targeted corrupt policemen in the Far East.

Only recently, with those cases having come to an end and her client in the Bolotnaya case having been released, has she found time to fully embrace another, deeply personal project: living her life as a woman. In September 2013, Bast publicly announced that she would no longer be living her life as Yevgeny Arkhipov, but as Masha Bast. She invited people to follow her progress on Facebook as she undergoes hormone treatment and surgeries, and also said she would answer any questions that they may have about her journey.

Since then, the couple has begun working to raise awareness about her and the transgender community in Russia as a whole.

At a time when LGBT life in Russia is increasingly marginalised and violence toward the LGBT community is on the rise, Bast's public announcement came as quite a shock to some. But she wouldn't have it any other way, saying she's happier now than ever.

1. - includes an audio file made in Moscow in January 1890, by Julius Block on behalf of Thomas Edison, with Tchaikovsky as one of the speakers. He is, of course,
speaking Russian.
3. Who’s Who in Gay & Lesbian History, ed. Aldrich and Wotherspoon, Routledge 2001, p. 127.
6. - see also Alla Nazimova and the "Sewing Circles", Past2Present 2009,, p49.
8. Taken from a longer article on The Moscow Times website:
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Wednesday, 26 February 2014

LGBT Russia

ЛГБТ Россия (LGBT Russia)
by Chris Park

Over the next few pages, I have collated a few snippets about a number of LGBT Russians. Let’s start with:

A Russian LGBT Timeline (1)
  • 16-19th century: there were many reports from Europeans of unabashed same-sex affection in public; Sergei Soloviev wrote that “nowhere, either in the Orient or in the West, was this vile, unnatural sin taken as lightly as in Russia.”
  • 17th century: homosexual relations banned within the military by Peter the Great.
  • 1832: Article 995, outlawing muzhelozhstvo (sodomy) was introduced into civil law, complete with a 5 year sentence in Siberia. However, it was largely ignored, especially among the elite.
  • The Golden Age for gays in Russia was roughly the turn of the century until 1933. During this time, important figures like Vladimir Nabokov’s father, a legislator in the original Russian Duma, argued that the state shouldn’t criminalise private sexual acts. In 1906, Mikhail Kuzhmin (2) published Wings, the first coming out book printed in Russia (3) and one of the most talked-about books of its day. In the fields of ballet, the arts, and even the Imperial Court there were various accounts of gay men living fairly openly and in 1917, when the Bolsheviks came to power and revamped the entire civil code, Article 995 was abolished and gays, women, and minorities freer than ever before. Even then, however, Kuzhmin’s poetry remained fairly bleak:
December frosts the rosy sky,

Black the rooms of this unheated house;

And we, ...

We read the Bible and we wait

We wait. And do we know what for?

Can it be for a redeeming hand? (1920)

The Bolsheviks were never comfortable with human sexuality and much of the literature of the time treated homosexuality as a curable illness; however, criminalising sodomy was seen by the Bolsheviks as backward and bourgeois and allowed only in “lesser” republics like Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Finally Stalin, in 1933, approved Article 121 as part of his (Putin-like) return to “family” values, outlawing muzhelozhstvo coupled with a 5 year sentence, or worse.
  • 1933-1993: Russian society during Stalin’s rule and throughout the Soviet period tended to understand homosexuality as part of paedophilia and muzhelozhstvo became an easy way to purge undesirables from the government. During Kruschev’s cultural thaw the focus seemed to change somewhat, from protecting children to protecting other men, most commonly in prison. Few records of enforcement of Article 121 from the 1930s through to the 1970s have been found but several thousand men were charged with muzhelozhstvo every year during the 1980s.
Pleshka - toilets under Spasskaya
Tower, Red Square - Yevgeniy Fiks,
"Pleshkas", gay cruising sites common during the Soviet period, were recently painted by artist Yevgeniy Fiks (4); ironically, pleshkas tended to be near Soviet monuments and statuary.

  • 1993-2013: With the collapse of the Soviet Union, laws criminalising muzhelozhstvo were again taken off the books, this time as an outreach to the West. The ’90s saw a relative thaw in Moscow and the larger cities with a small gay press, dance clubs, etc. Some journalists reported seeing out gay couples on the streets. Following Putin’s rise in 1999, muzhelozhstvo once more found its way into the news cycle; a law banning it was proposed in 2002 (it lost) and then the oblast (region, district) of Ryazan in 2006 passed a law now commonly known as the “anti-gay propaganda” law. Two organisations were founded in response, (5) and the Russian LGBT network (6) and a (banned) parade has been held in Moscow every year since May 2006. Steadily since 2006 when Ryazan spearheaded the anti-gay campaign and LGBT rights activists reacted, the more conservative elements of Russian society began to coalesce and leaders from various religions (as well as the mayor of Moscow in 2007) openly condemned the parades.
  • Bans on homosexual propaganda, 2006- 2013: What began in Ryazan spread, within 6 years, to 9 other oblasts including St Petersburg. Contrary to recent comparisons made between Nazi Germany and Russia, Putin did not spearhead anti-gay sentiment and did not regularly make public statements against muzhelozhstvo. These efforts have largely been grass roots and led by coalitions of religious and fringe skinhead groups which have focused primarily on paedophiles. Even so, as their popularity has grown, Putin has formally embraced the new laws, especially since anti-Putin protests gained prominence in 2012.
  • June 2013: the Russian state Duma passed a federal ban on "propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations".

Many readers will be familiar with the well publicised goings on in Russia since the passage of this new law - LGBT people beaten in the streets, outspoken LGBT people fired from their jobs, adoption rights taken away, etc. This new law goes farther than any law before in Russian history and is much savvier than the bans in the past of simple muzhelozhstvo - the new law sets the terms of the conversation, determining that any discussion of gays necessarily includes a discussion of paedophiles and the protection of children while, because sodomy is not explicitly banned, the Russian government can maintain that there is no discrimination against gay people per se.

More information at:

Sex in the Soviet closet: a history of gay cruising in Moscow
You might also be interested to read the following on the online paper, The Moscow News, by Joy Neumeyer, posted on 12 September 2013.

1. Adapted (sllightly) from Randy Potts’s timeline on BoxTurtle Bulletin:
3. Radclyffe Hall's The Well of Loneliness was not published until 1928 and while EM Forster wrote Maurice in 1913-14, it was not published until 1971, after his death the year before. Wings is still in print and available for purchase.
6. - English language version.