A message from a Russian LGBT+ activist


Working in human rights in Russia can give one a misleading sense of invincibility. Despite the dehumanising legislation and fact that the government sees enemies in its own citizens, human rights activists have learned to adapt and persevere. This is especially true for Russian LGBT+ activists, who grapple not only with legitimised state homophobia, but considerable social stigma. And yet nothing could have prepared us for what happened on the morning of 24 February, when our country invaded Ukraine. Ironically, I had never felt more Russian than I did in that moment. The immediate reaction is to dissociate yourself from it. The government’s actions are appalling, violence is never the answer, and we, as the Russian people, obviously did not choose this. This is not our war. Right?

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