Bombs and blasphemy: the risks of watching gay art in Russia

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11/05/2019

Whenever the play “Out of the Closet” is performed, Russian drama company Teatr.Doc has to take extra precautions: the audiences’ passports are checked to ensure everyone is at least 18 and the process is filmed to prove the law has been followed. There is no nudity and few obscene words in the play, which is about Russian gay men coming out to their parents. But it is an offense to distribute “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relationships” to minors under Russian law. “Teatr.Doc is like a besieged fortress today,” Anastasia Patlay, director of the documentary play, told the audience before the lights were dimmed to start the show in Moscow. “We are not happy about it. But, apparently, it’s a symptom of the situation we live in.”

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