What It's Like To Be Young, LGBT And Vilified In Russia

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Gay Voices Senior Editor, The Huffington Post

Photographer Misha Friedman takes a look inside “The Iron Closet.”

 

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New Yorkers can get a no-holds-barred look at Russia’s beleaguered lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth as part of Brooklyn’s annual “pop-up” photography festival.

Photographer Misha Friedman, whose images have appeared in Time Magazine and The New Yorker, is bringing his exhibit, “The Iron Curtain,” to Photoville, which opened Sept. 10 in Brooklyn Bridge Park.

Friedman’s photos, presented by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, represent work that the photographer conducted over several years in Russia, he told The Huffington Post in an interview. His work with individual subjects lasted “several days to years,” he said.

Russia’s stance on its LGBT residents came under intense scrutiny last year in the wake of global speculation as to how its controversial “gay propaganda” law would impact foreign athletes participating in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, as well as attendees. It also sparked the ire of Elton John, Lady Gaga and Madonna, among other A-list stars.

While the global focus has receded somewhat in the meantime, Friedman said that Russia’s LGBT community is facing more discrimination than ever. In fact, three of the subjects in his “Iron Curtain” photos have since had to leave Russia, he said, because of their sexuality.

“Just because something is not in the news does not mean its not happening,” he said.

Now in its fourth year, the 2014 edition of Photoville runs through Sept. 20, and features more than 70 exhibitions. Head here for more details.

MISHA FRIEDMAN
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