Trolling in Russia

There are no Homosexuals in the USSR

19721001-07The Russian government has never liked to admit that anything as ‘decadent’ as a homosexual could be living within the confines of the Soviet Union. But of course, if such a thing as a Russian homosexual does exist, it must be admitted that he hardly has the opportunity to live anywhere else. So what is the truth of the matter?

I have always been amused to contrast the prevailing Soviet Government attitude with that of certain gay publications in the West, who state that certain areas in Moscow, notably Red Square and the square in front of the Bolshoi, are two of the gayest cruising patches on earth. A discrepancy, you might say! But the truth is this: that in the summertime the vast majority of those trolling at midnight in Moscow are Americans or their ubiquitous counterparts, the Japanese. And in the winter, at twenty degrees below zero centigrade, you can keep yer outside cruising!

So what about the Russian homosexuals? Do they exist and if so, where would you find them? The answer is, I’m afraid, that you won’t find them, though they might find you! And it is probably true that there is a lower incidence of male homosexuality in the USSR than in the West.

Consider the structure and prevalent attitudes of society for a start. To use ‘sexist’ terms, it’s as if the whole of society has taken two paces towards the ‘male principle’ – in other words, if little Oedipus Oedipanovitch has made a sub-conscious decision to follow closely in his mother’s footsteps, and his mother happens to be a bricklayer or a crane-driver, the psychological effects may well not be as far-reaching as those upon his counterpart in the West, whose mother could be anything from a plain Mum to a top grade fashion model (but not, probably, a crane driver).

Thus it follows that a certain type of male homosexual may indeed have been partially (and only partially) eradicated in the Soviet Union. But conversely, if this has happened, then it also follows that the incidence of female homosexuality could be higher in the Soviet Union than in the West, especially when you consider that there is a very serious national shortage of men. Unfortunately, there are no statistics available.

The Russian people seem to regard homosexuality as being very rare. When I was in Russia, one intelligent friend of mine said that he thought that there were no more than one or two homosexuals in every ten thousand Russians. But another Russian friend, a nurse, said that she suspected that it was nearer one in a hundred. Bearing in mind, though, that the majority of British people also seem to regard homosexuals in Britain as being rarer than they actually are, then perhaps these Russian estimates are nothing to go by, and are merely indication of a prevalent attitude.

After all, the general British public are only becoming more aware and tolerant now that homosexuals in our society are becoming less worried about being recognised for what we are. Whereas in Russia it is still exceedingly dangerous for a Russian to let it be generally known that he is homosexual. All homosexual acts in the USSR are, for a start, illegal. And although it does not always follow that a person convicted of a ‘homosexual offence’ will be sent to a prison (or worse!) it does normally follow that anyone who is discovered to have homosexual leanings will be generally excluded from all positions of responsibility within the state. And since the state runs everything in Russia, a Russian homosexual knows that once he has made a false move, all chances of a decent career are gone.

Which is why there appear to be no homosexuals in Russia. To put it bluntly, the chances of a homosexual factory worker in Russia 1972 are comparable to those of an English country vicar in the reign of Queen Victoria. If not worse. And with such an official attitude, coupled with the fact that in many Russian cities, almost all apartments are shared between two or three families and there is no privacy, the chances of cementing any sort of permanent gay relationship are nil.

So next time you hear the claim that “There are no homosexuals in Russia” remember that what it really means is that homosexuals in Russia have no chance at all to live freely and love as they want to – that there are very few practising homosexuals in Russia, and an awful lot of very unhappy people.

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