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News & Insight

“From Russia With Love” ~ A Photo Series Profiles Lesbian Couples Living in Russia

By Hanssie on October 4th 2013

Earlier this summer, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin signed a bill into law banning “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations to minors.” This follows numerous laws passed by the Russian government in an effort to limit the rights of the country’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered citizens.

Photographer Anastasia Ivanova profiles 14 lesbian couples living under Russia’s anti-gay propaganda laws in an article for Muff Magazine.

Kate, 29 and Nina, 32

“In public, we try not to hide our feelings, and are determined to hold hands and kiss each other freely, but the gay rights situation in Russia will end badly. The way we live makes us outlaws.”


Victoria, 24 and Dasha, 27

“Outside, we always hold hands and kiss each other on the cheek. Sometimes you’ll catch a look and once we had a bad experience, when somebody threw a stone while we were walking through the park hand-in-hand…Today, we love living in Saint Petersburg, but understand that people like us can’t have a quiet life here. Hopefully one day we’ll get a Jack Russell terrier. Right now, we just want simple human happiness.”


Olga, 32 and Ulia, 28

“Although we feel freer in the city, we only express affection when we’re certain that the people around us are tolerant. There are no gay rights in Russia. Fighting for them feels like being involved in a criminal cabaret show and we don’t want any part of it. For now, we just want to live.”


Tasha, 33 and Ksenia, 39

“We’ve never had any negative reactions, but there are no gay rights here in Russia. Right now, we are looking for an ‘escape route’.”


Katerina, 20 and Zhanna, 25

“People tend to look at us with a mixture of surprise and disapproval when we express affection public. Sometimes we can hear them saying about Zhanna: “Is it a boy?” Eventually, our plan is to leave the country and move to Europe. That way, we can live our lives to the fullest and stop hiding away.”


(via @Muff Magazine)

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Hanssie is a Southern California-based writer and sometimes portrait and wedding photographer. In her free time, she homeschools, works out, rescues dogs and works in marketing for SLR Lounge. She also blogs about her adventures and about fitness when she’s not sick of writing so much. Check out her work and her blog at Follow her on Instagram

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Doede

    If you’re born with a specific genetic setup, created on purpose by your parents, Allah, God or the spirits, then why is it that some people, some governments, some groups pick out just 1 different thing and go after it? Maybe we should do the same for all the people who’re still single, I mean – only the man-woman thing is the right thing, no?

    People: this planet is too small to be intolerant, we’re all 1 family. Free your minds from incommodious thoughts. Let the gay, the lesbian, the singles, the transgenders, the man-woman couples, just everyone be a true human being on Earth and let us enjoy life, which is -for many people- just short enough.

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  2. Tyler Brown

    why did you omit the older couple? where they bit hip enough SLR Lounge?

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