Russian LGBT Voices
Alexander Kargaltsev is an openly gay Russian artist, writer, photographer, actor and film director. In Russia, Alexander was physically and verbally attacked over 15 times for being gay, both by Russian government officials and by private parties while government officials either refused to help or advanced a culture of tolerating attacks and constant discrimination against LGBT people. He is based in New York.
Oleg Dusaev & DmitriyStepanov are a couple seeking asylum in the United States. In Russia, Oleg was the host of an arts and culture show, and Mitja was a psychologist. After coming out, they have traveled to New York City, and are currently in the asylum process.
Anastasia Smirnova is coordinating advocacy efforts on behalf of a coalition of Russian LGBT organizations in regard to the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi. She is based in Russia.
Manny de Guerre is a founding organizer of the Side by Side LGBT Film Festival in St. Petersburg. She has carried out extensive research in Russia concerning the importance of the arts and culture in terms of its social, political, and psychological significance.
Anton Krasovsky is a Russian political journalist and television personality. He was editor-in-chief of pro-Kremlin cable channel Kontr TV until he came out as gay on air, for which he was fired.
Masha Gessen is a Russian journalist/LGBT activist, who has just left Russia with her partner and three children to live in the U.S., due to the increasingly negative policies of Putin and the State Duma. She was being named specifically as someone the laws were targeting, including the proposed law to take away children from LGBT parents. She is currently coming out with a book entitled Gay Propaganda, a collection of LGBT Russian love stories.
Yelena Goltsman & Nina Long are the co-presidents of RUSA LGBT, a network for those who identify with Russian-speaking and LGBTQ cultures, fighting for social justice, human and civil rights for LGBTQ people in America and in the Former Soviet Union. They are based in New York.
United States-based LGBT organizations, advocates
Sarah Kate Ellis is the President of GLAAD, the nation’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) media advocacy organization. GLAAD has been working with LGBT leaders in Russia for several months. GLAAD has been one of the leading voices commenting on the public outcry around the 2014 Winter Olympics with a range of appearances in mainstream news and sports media. She is based in New York.
Omar Sharif Jr. is an Egyptian-Canadian actor, public-figure, and grandson to international icon Omar Sharif. He faced a barrage of condemnation, criticism and threats of violence in the Arab world after he wrote a commentary in which he came out as gay in 2012. Most of this negativity was spurred on by the Arabic media’s demonization of his identity. He is based in New York.
Julie Dorf is Senior Advisor for the Council for Global Equality and has been a leader in the LGBT rights movement for twenty years.
Wade Davis is the Executive Director of the You Can Play Project, which advocates for LGBT equality in the professional and amateur sports communities. Davis is a former NFL player who is one of a small number of openly gay men to have played professional sports.
George Gellis is the president of the No More Fear Foundation, a volunteer support system for LGBT asylum seekers in the United States. No More Fear provides legal, medical, and psychological assistance, as well as English language classes, and resettlement counseling for LGBT people seeking asylum in the United States.
Hudson Taylor is the Executive Director of Athlete Ally, an organization focused on ending homophobia and transphobia in sports by educating allies in the athletic community and empowering them to take a stand. He is based in New York and will be in Sochi for a portion of the Olympic Games.
Ty Cobb is Director of Global Engagement for the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the United States’ largest LGBT civil rights organization. He has worked closely with LGBT activists in Russia – even traveling to St. Petersburg for strategy meetings with local leaders on how to advance LGBT rights during the Sochi Olympic Games.
Dustin Lance Black, openly gay Academy Award-winning filmmaker of Milk. He traveled with Bruce Cohen and Gus Van Sant to the Side by Side LGBT Film Festival in St. Petersburg, Russia to screen his film, MILK, and speak about the global LGBT movement.
George Takei, openly gay TV icon and LGBT advocate. He has used social media to criticize Russia’s anti-LGBT laws and show support for LGBT people.
Melissa Etheridge, openly lesbian musician. After meeting with Russian LGBT advocates, she wrote the anthem, Uprising of Love, for which the coalition takes its name. The proceeds from the song will benefit Russian LGBT advocates.
Bruce Cohen, award-winning film, television, and theatre producer. He has been one of the major organizing forces behind the Uprising of Love campaign, which has organized over 40 entertainment leaders to speak out in support of LGBT Russians.
For additional spokespeople, contact GLAAD.
GLAAD’s 24/7 resource and assistance availability
For more information, help, and guidance, please contact GLAAD. We can put you in contact with the above interview subjects, provide resources, facts and ideas to tell the stories of LGBT Russians.
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