Remember, no eye contact, be cautious. Is this the street? Watch it, be careful. Don’t ask anyone, it’s dangerous! Are you sure it’s here? Yes, it’s here: next to the hot guy, with the mini-shorts and the bare chest, the one standing on the sidewalk, out in the open, by the door, hot, very Russian and very gay! And thus we entered a fantastic club in the centre of Saint Petersburg. We came out several hours later, drunk and happy, having danced the night away. Off we went, through the streets, admiring the palaces, amongst the crowd of party goers, laughing, till dawn: and the cosmos rewarded us with the pinkest sunrise we’ve ever seen, over the Neva River. Oh yes, Saint Petersburg you are so gay!
We were pretty apprehensive when we decided to go to Russia. Being an openly married couple traveling around such a homophobic country was a risk. It’s not a political thing; we believe homophobia and any phobia must be fought directly, going to a place, being there. But safety first, so we had agreed that if we didn’t feel comfortable we would take off to greener pastures. After two months in Russia we didn’t want to leave!
I’m not saying that there aren’t homophobes, unfortunately those are everywhere. I’m sure that for the LGBT community living there things must be quite different. I can’t for sure know what my fellow Gay Russians must be going through. Especially coming from Barcelona, where we can kiss, hold hands, and be gayer than Christmas anywhere anytime. So yes, we didn’t hold hands or kissed in public, and that’s not okay and it must change. Every morning before living the hotel, we would kiss and fumble each other “to last the entire day”.
However, we never made an effort to hide we were a couple, it is pretty obvious. We didn’t encounter a single problem. Every hotel gave us one bed, as requested. We were greeted professionally in every single train, plane, taxi and hotel. In fact, most Russians treated us nicely, with a smile and sincere interest. At every restaurant and coffee house (Russian food is delicious), we would sit down and check out guys, without any fear.
Moscow of course has a vibrant gay scene. We went out to a fantastic club full of gorgeous Russians and to a couple of coffee houses. Walking about we could see queer guys and girls. We even saw a beautiful lesbian with a pretty vocal anti establishment t-shirt on the metro! Petersburg too has a couple of bars and discos. In Krasnoyarsk we met a super cool couple, Dima and Andrey, and their friend, Arseni. What a treat! They took as everywhere, showed us hidden corners and partied with us. Russian hospitality at its best.
So yes, Russia is a nature lover paradise, an architect’s dream and an attack to the senses. After two months we feel we barely scratched the surface so we are definitively coming back. Don’t miss on the biggest country in the world. Don’t let people scare you, a bit of caution and an open heart will do the trick. Be sure to visit soon, such a wonderful place will for sure become the next big gay destination!