From Russia, For Love – Supporting the LGBT Community in Russia.

October 14, 2013 4:00 pm

Russia_gay_lgbtIt has been well shown in the media recently, the Russian anti-gay law. If you’re not clear on what this law is and what it means, I will explain. The law that was passed in the June of this year is to stop “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations to minors”. It is just the legalisation of what has been happening in Russia for a long time. It has only been legal to be gay in Russia since 1993, far behind the legalisation of homosexuality in many other European countries. But from the long history in Russia of the persecution of gay, bisexual and transgendered people it is safe to say they may as well as kept the old law banning same-sex relations. The new law effectively bans any kind of gay activity, from being publicly affectionate to gay pride events. It is such a broad law that it is difficult for LGBT communities to know what they can or cannot do. Gay rights activists are in danger from the government and the general community. Legally, ‘making same sex relations attractive’, ‘creating non-traditional attitudes’ or ‘equating the social value of traditional and non-traditional relationships’ is punishable with large fines, suspension from work and campaigns, and jail followed by deportation if you are not a Russian citizen. Gay and transgendered people are attacked and verbally abused in the streets every day while innocently going about their business. Putin and the government claim that homosexuality is a direct threat to society, and it has even been said that it is equally as damaging as paedophilia.

For many people the world over, whether gay or not, it is a horrifying step for a world super power to take. For me, being a person with close gay friends and working in a very open, gay-friendly environment, it is difficult to know what to do. I want to be able to do something, but feel I am unable to. It is such a huge situation to fight alone. And this is where the Russian LGBT fundraiser comes in.

From Russia, For Love is a theatrical fundraiser being held in Marylebone High Street, London on Sunday, October 27th to raise funds for the UK gay rights organisation Stonewall (which also works internationally) and the Russian LGBT Network. The proceeds will be split equally between the two organisations.

russia-lgbtThe evening will start at 6pm and will be a promenade performance so if you do come along, wear some comfy footwear! Audience members will be able to walk from room to room, discovering different scenes and love stories along the way. Each scene is taken from a Russian play, poem or book. Each is a love scene. And each scene is played by same sex couples. Russian writers are among the best in the world and some of the most touching, most heart-wrenching scenes are from Russian classics. The evening promises to be a stirring, emotional event. S0 do keep some tissues handy about your person!

There are a number of theatrical companies involved with From Russia, For Love from both the UK and abroad, including The Copenhagen Interpretation, Teatro Vivo and, the brains behind the operation; Culturcated Theatre Company. Actresses Carolyn Pickles and Simone McAullay, known for TV drama Broadchurch are supporting the cause and will be acting a scene from Chekhov’s “The Seagull”. As we would like the audience to arrive at the venue with an open mind, I won’t go into too much detail about what to expect and how the evening will work. As I’ve already said, it will be a promenade performance and appropriately for the occasion ‘non-traditional’ theatre. Each room will have a different atmosphere, a different story and a different interpretation of Russian classics. Be prepared for a fresh take on familiar, well worn pieces and have a whole new meaning attached to them!

It is not just about same-sex love scenes, though of course this is the main premise. There will also be hard-hitting monologues, the chance to mingle with other guests and meet new people, all of whom will be coming together for the same cause, live music, dancing and the opportunity to be a part of the campaign against Article 6.13.1, which is the infamous Russian anti-gay law. If you do wish to be a part of the campaign against the anti-gay law, you can have your photo taken with a sign saying “I’m Against Article 6.13.1” or you may record a short video telling the world why you are against it. Both of these actions are important for the Russian LGBT Network’s overseas support and visibility. It’s all about raising awareness and creating a bigger support network for the Russian LGBT communities and bringing about more resistance to the law.

RUSSIA-GAY-RIGHTS-PROTESTFrom Russia, For Love brings together theatre companies and performers from the UK and abroad to present an evening of Russia’s finest love scenes all performed with same-sex couples; an evening of secret assignations, deserted hallways, snatched whispers over the samovar, the ache of a love unspoken, and the ecstasy of finally making your declaration, against the odds.

Stonewall UK’s international team have recently employed a Russian speaking member to push for the UK government and EU to address global gay rights issues. They express their thanks for the support From Russia, For Love is giving them in their quest for equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people both in the UK and the world over.


From Russia, For Love will be taking place on October the 27th at Marylebone Gardens, 35 Marylebone High Street, W1U 4QA. Nearest tube stations are Baker Street and Regent’s Park.

The evening starts with live music and drinks at 6pm. Tickets are £20 and are available via this link

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Or on Twitter @fromrussia4love

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