We all remember All The Things She Said, the 2002 single from the Russian faux-lesbian duo, which featured a lot of girl-on-girl snogging in the rain, right? There’s also been speculation that they are performing at the Winter Olympics opening ceremony. Wait, what?
2. Michael Lucas (née Andrei Lvovich Treivas)
Oh, only one of the biggest gay porn stars in the world. Lucas was born in Moscow and has starred in the most expensive gay porn film ever made. He is now an LGBT rights activist and writes for The Advocate and Pink News.
4. Sergey Zverev
Sergey Zverev is a very famous stylist and hairdresser who has recently branched out into pop stardom. Hounded by the paparazzi, Zverev divides opinion in Russia but is one of its foremost celebrities, on the cover of most gossip magazines. Literally makes no sense.
5. Same-sex saunas
Spending time in a same-sex banya (sauna) is one of the most widespread, everyday activities in Russia. Sweaty naked dudes whipping each other, women rubbing coffee onto each other’s naked bodies (it’s to boost circulation). Not in the least bit homoerotic, amirite?
11. Central Station club
Central Station is Russia’s biggest gay club in both Moscow and St. Petersburg. In November, Central Station was hit by a tear-gas attack, and it has previously been the scene of a shooting which left bullet holes in the door. The landlord of the premises has tried to push the club owner out by switching off electricity and water.
12. Dima Bilan
Dima Bilan is another mega popular popstar. That’s him, above. He also won the Eurovision Song Contest, which isn’t at all gay. In 2012, Bilan signed an open letter protesting against Russia’s impending anti-gay laws, along with other Russian celebrities. While Bilan isn’t gay, or has never said he is, there’s been widespread speculation about his sexuality. But what really matters here is that he looks good in a towel, and that Russia’s biggest-selling artist is this camp.
16. Slava Mogutin
Slava (the above is a work of his) is a Russian photographer and writer whose work explores gay life. In 1995 he left Russia after being beaten up in Gorky Park in Moscow and being charged with “open and deliberate contempt for generally accepted moral norms”. He also tried to register the first same-sex marriage in Russia. He was granted political asylum by America and now lives there. Check out his work here.
18. Which reminds me of Boris Mosieev
The openly gay, wildly popular, surgically-enhanced entertainer. The video for his song Tattoo features gay naked dudes pouring water over each other, and the video for I Cannot Lose You, also features gay naked dudes, this time taking their pants off. This is a very popular Russian recording artist. He tweets about hot Abercrombie & Fitch guys.
20. Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
One of the best composers the world has ever known was most definitely homosexual. His love letters to his servant Aleksey Sofronov and Vladimir Davydov are available to read online. Putin has admitted that Tchaikovsky was gay, but that Russians loved him “despite” this. However, the Russian culture minister, Vladimir Medinsky, just flat out denied Tchaikovksy’s sexuality.
21. That kiss on the podium
Even if athletes Kseniya Ryzhova and Yulia Gushchina issued angry denials that their kiss had been any kind of protest, it was still pretty hilarious to see two women having a cheeky smooch in front of the world’s press right after Putin’s anti-gay propaganda laws had passed.
23. Alexander Kargaltsev
The gay Russian artist moved to America to escape the state’s homophobia and has worked on a book entitled Asylum about other Russians’ decisions to move abroad to escape persecution for their sexuality. He works in photo and video. Find him on Twitter. (The above is his work, not him).
24. Alla Nazimova
A famous theatre and film actress who moved to the US and is thought to have inspired Lady Gaga, Nazimova was well known to have had relationships with women, even at the height of her Hollywood powers. Apparently she had a code for her girlfriends; they were in her “sewing circle”. She lived with her partner Glesca Marshall from 1929 to 1945.
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