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Vice Has Released A Five-Part Documentary On Being Young And Gay In Russia

"People are homophobes, they are just against us and they are not afraid of police; they are not afraid of government — they just come and kill gay people."

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A new Vice documentary, Young and Gay in Putin's Russia, has a crew traveling to Moscow ahead of the Sochi Winter Olympics to take a look at how the anti-gay policies are impacting the everyday lives of LGBT youth.

In part one of the documentary, already available for streaming online, we hear the stories of three young LGBT Russians.

As Artem explains, a gay taxi service is necessary because for gay teens, "it's difficult to live in this society." He goes on to give several examples of homophobic violence LGBT youth have encountered recently.

Artem – who is not out to his parents – isn't sure if he will ever be able to live a completely open life.

"My attitude is that I first want to accomplish something in life, and if I do, I will probably come out. On the other hand, I have plans to possibly have family by the time I'm 30. But it has to be with a woman who understands my real sexual orientation. It wouldn't be a marriage of love. It would be a marriage for the parents."

The crew then meets with Nikita Guryanov, a 17-year-old high school student in Moscow. He has his own YouTube channel spreading positive messages to the LGBT community.

vice.com

He also helps gay individuals protect themselves against online predators and vigilant groups.

As a result of his videos, Nikita has been labeled a "propagandist."

vice.com

"After the new law was passed, repression really kicked in," he said. "People would give us weird looks. They were wild. They looked at us as if we were animals."

Nikita makes it clear he is not afraid of any consequences that come from his activism.

"I don't really have much to fear. I have officially been labeled as a propagandist. But at the same time, I don't really spread propaganda. In this country, propaganda has a very abstract definition. No one really knows what it means. I don't tell people to be gay. I only give advice and share my knowledge."

"After that, I understood that I can be punched in the street, I can be punched in the nightclub, I can be punched at a demonstration. Just anywhere, because people are homophobes," said Yulia.

Everyday life for Yulia is not only more difficult, but quite dangerous as well.

"Because of this law, some conservative and aggressive people have decided that it's OK to kill gay people because we want to protect our children; we want to protect our society from these crazy gays. We've seen lots of suicides among young people since publishing that law, so it's not protecting [them]."

The first two videos of the series are available on Vice. Check out part one now:

View this video on YouTube

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