Ok, set the scene. You’re out at a coffee shop, having a catch up with your friend when a guy walks past. It’s like a scene from a movie; everything goes slow motion, he turns towards you and your eyes catch. He smiles with one corner of his mouth before looking away. He carries his coffee a few tables away and sits right in your eye-line. He’s in your eye-line, how can you not look at him?! Once your friend leaves he comes over and you chat a little. He’s funny, he’s disarmingly charming and oh my GOD is he hot! You smile, you flirt a little, you swap numbers, you know the drill.
A few days later you meet up for a date. It’s just casual, just a couple of drinks. You talk and get to know more about each other. He’s a trainee teacher and is interested in ice hockey and action movies. The time flies and soon he offers to walk you home.
You reach for his hand.
When you set the scene you imagined yourself as yourself didn’t you? A 20-something female in good ol’ England, about to cosy up with a hunky straight guy? Now imagine that you are a man and the date is also a man, and you are not in England. But in Russia.
Not so cute and fuzzy anymore.
I don’t know how many of you are aware of the new law brought in by the Russian government this year, but it is an archaic and sickening one. It is officially called ‘Article 6.13.1′ or colloquially ‘the anti-gay law’. It is a law banning ‘propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations to minors’. This means gay people are restricted in their actions and how they live their lives. Any kind of outwardly homosexual activity can be punished. There has also been a large rise in vigilante groups who attack gay or ‘suspected gay’ people on the street and publicly humiliate them.
So now imagine you’re on the street and you reach for your date’s hand. Up ahead, in the dim glow of the street light, there are a group of men waiting. What happens next? I think you can guess.
From Russia For Love is a theatrical event taking place on Sunday 27th October at 6pm. It will be held at Marylebone Gardens in London. The event is a promenade performance with snippets of Russian love scenes in various rooms. Each love scene is taken from a Russian play, book or poem and will be acted by same sex couples instead of the traditional male-female. All money raised will go to Stonewall UK’s International Team and the Russian LGBT Network.