Overview

Gay Propaganda brings together original stories, interviews and testimonial, presented in both English and Russian, to capture the lives and loves of LGBT Russians living both in Russia and in exile today. Available in February 2014, in time for the Winter Olympics in Sochi, the book is a provocative riposte to Russia’s recently passed and ill-defined ban on “homosexual propaganda.”

As part of a strategy to consolidate political control in ...
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Gay Propaganda: Russian Love Stories

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Overview

Gay Propaganda brings together original stories, interviews and testimonial, presented in both English and Russian, to capture the lives and loves of LGBT Russians living both in Russia and in exile today. Available in February 2014, in time for the Winter Olympics in Sochi, the book is a provocative riposte to Russia’s recently passed and ill-defined ban on “homosexual propaganda.”

As part of a strategy to consolidate political control in Russia following massive pro-democracy protests that shook the government, President Putin’s ruling party decided it needed an enemy to unite the country. Hoping to manipulate backward but widely-held prejudices, it opted to demonize gays and lesbians. As a result, in June 2013, Putin signed a bill banning any and all “propaganda” of so-called non-traditional relationships. Quite predictably, in the months that followed, attacks, firings, and hate crimes have spiked across Russia, and the state-sanctioned campaign shows no sign of abating. The Russian Duma is now debating a law to take children away from gay and lesbian parents.

As the world’s media turns its attention to the host country of the Winter Olympics, the stories gathered in Gay Propaganda offer a timely and intimate window into the hardships faced by Russians on the receiving end of state-sanctioned homophobia. Here are tales of men and women in long-term committed relationships as well as those still looking for love; of those trying to raise kids or taking care of parents; of those facing the challenges of continuing to live in Russia or joining an exodus that is rapidly becoming a flood.
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Editorial Reviews

Next Magazine - Jameson Fitzpatrick
Reading Gay Propaganda feels like getting to know a bunch of new friends at an intimate dinner party, listening to the revealing sort of stories that give you a true sense of someone’s spirit—and Gessen and Huff-Hannon’s fine editing allows the unique personality of each person interviewed to shine through on the page. Particularly personable are the couples’ courtship narratives, capturing the “No, no, you tell it!” quality of every meet-cute tale.
The Independent - Arifa Akbar
Judging from the true accounts in Gay Propaganda: Russian Love Stories, it seems as if Soviet bigotry is still ensconced in the Kremlin. Where Pussy Riot's punk performances have shown what waves a high-octane protest can make, this book presents another way for state repression to be resisted: by telling one's story and distributing it.
The Rumpus - Stephen Markley
Gay Propaganda: Russian Love Stories is absolutely illegal under the new Russian law, but it stands as a testament to the idea that the best defense against bigotry and narrow-mindedness is a good offense: take some humanity and shove it in your face.
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Product Details

  • BN ID: 2940149425105
  • Publisher: OR Books
  • Publication date: 3/20/2014
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 737,866
  • File size: 9 MB

Meet the Author

Masha Gessen is an award-winning journalist and author of many books, most recently Words Will Break Cement: The Passion of Pussy Riot (Riverhead, February 2014). She is a lesbian mother who is abandoning her home in Russia because of the anti-gay laws.

Joseph Huff-Hannon is a celebrated campaigner and writer who has been published in The New York Times, The Guardian, Salon, and elsewhere. He works with the international advocacy group Avaaz.org. He is one of the founding campaigners of global LGBT rights group, All Out.
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