‘We’re not hiding’: Gay and lesbian Russians say a cultural shift is underway

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06/21/2021

When Lisa Androshina threw her first lesbian party in Moscow in 2017, she had low expectations. “We wanted to just gather with our friends and just listen to cool music,” Androshina, 34, told NBC News. “We didn’t plan to do anything serious.” She booked a bar that she said was often empty and invited her friends and some DJs. After a few parties, her event, called LVBZ, grew in popularity. Androshina, who lives in Moscow, said about 500 people now attend the quarterly LVBZ nighttime dance, which features DJs from around the world. Despite the government’s anti-gay restrictions and the country’s conservative views on LGBTQ issues, some lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer Russians, like Androshina, are publicly sharing their identities and forming community, particularly in the country’s largest cities. This has spawned a cultural shift, albeit a small and partially underground one.

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