Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2019-03-13
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



Gay Russian talks coming out, seeking asylum in America
by Carrie Maxwell, Windy City Times

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

When Alexander ( who requests that his last name be withheld ) was in kindergarten he, like the other kids, had crushes on his fellow students but in his case it was another boy.

The following year, Alexander moved to another city closer to Moscow and it was there that teachers and other parents started calling him a "soft character boy" because he was not interested in fighting and playing "war" with the other boys and instead wanted to hang out with the girls in his class.

"Boys from my school started bullying me and called me 'a girl,' 'sissy' and 'fag'," said Alexander. "This escalated as I got older with boys at my school beating me up after class and even though it was happening all the time I could not get help from others. I would miss a few weeks of class because the bullying would also occur while we were in the classroom."

The first time Alexander saw an adult explain LGBTQ people in a positive way was one of his middle school teachers. Alexander explained that the teacher said genes were responsible for many things, including one's sexual orientation.

"Many classmates began laughing and booing, but our teacher told everyone to keep quiet and started talking about gay people," said Alexander. "As she spoke, I heard myself in her words, 'People do not choose who they are when they are born. The child does not understand what is happening, but when they grow up, they realize that inside them there lives a person who likes someone of the same gender and there is nothing they can do about it.' That is why she was my favorite teacher."

From that point forward Alexander knew being gay was not wrong but he had to keep it a secret because of growing anti-LGBTQ sentiment in Russia. Alexander explained that there were numerous attacks on LGBTQ people but the media did not report on it. He said that this was one of the ways the government would erase LGBTQ people from society.

While all of this was happening, Alexander took a month-long trip to the Chicago in the summer of 2013 to learn English at a language school and saw how LGBTQ people lived here. When he returned to Russia he decided to "become a bit braver and open the door of my closet where I spent my 19 years."

This action made things worse for Alexander because people found out where he lived and worked and during the summer of 2014 he got attacked twice. Due to the attacks, he had to quit his job and leave college even though he only had a year left to get his degree. Alexander decided to escape Russia shortly thereafter and came to Chicago because he knew it was a safe place to live. He sent a request to the language school and got his Visa with their assistance. He currently lives in Boystown and works in hospitality.

"Since I left Russia, the situation has gotten worse because the government outlawed 'Homosexual Propaganda' which means mass media cannot write or show anything good about LGBTQ people," said Alexander. "Also, there are anti-LGBTQ purges that include persecution, imprisonment and torture for anyone who is LGBTQ or an ally of the community."

In 2015, Alexander started the asylum process.

"Once people overheard my story they told me about the National Immigrant Justice Center," said Alexander. "After an interview they decided to help me with my case. We filled out the forms and now I have a lawyer who is guiding me through the process—Timothy Knudsen."

Having to re-live the negative things that happened to him in Russia during the asylum process has taken an emotional toll on him, Alexander explained. He said he would rather start forgetting everything about his past life and look toward the future. Alexander explained that when his asylum status has been approved and he has his green card he would like to work in the airline industry as a flight attendant.

Alexander has also gotten involved with the LGBTQ community, most recently with the Legacy Project. Executive Director Victor Salvo contacted him after he saw Alexander' story in other publication and invited him to be involved with the recent induction of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky onto the Legacy Walk, including an event honoring Tscaikovsky at Ravinia.

"Ravinia was a beautiful place with beautiful people there," said Alexander. "I was asked to show the other guest what it is like to grow up in a society that does not accept LGBTQ culture at all. A lot of people were shocked when I told them Tchaikovsky's sexual orientation was erased from his biography in Russia."

Alexander said the Legacy Project does a great job in educating people about the LGBTQ community. He explained that knowledge is power and can also save lives.

"If you feel that you are alone or not understood, there is always a person that will help you," said Alexander. "In my case it was my teacher, even though she does not know about it. She made me realize I was not alone and there are millions of people like me. She also gave me the power to break the cage and leave it and that was something I did not believe could happen when I was a teenager, that I would be open about being a gay man."

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


Gay News

Anti-gay fliers criticizing Lightfoot distributed near churches 2019-03-18 - Fliers decrying lesbian mayoral candidate Lori Lightfoot appeared at a number of churches with predominantly Black congregations the morning of Feb. 17. The ...

Gay News

Homophobic attack targets Lori Lightfoot in Chicago mayoral race 2019-03-17 - Washington, DC — Homophobic fliers targeting openly lesbian Chicago mayoral candidate Lori Lightfoot were distributed on cars in key neighborhoods of the city ...

Gay News

PASSAGES Former U.S. Sen. Birch Bayh dies at 91 2019-03-14 - Former U.S. Sen. Birch Bayh ( D-Indiana )—a champion of women's rights and author of two amendments to the U.S. Constitution—died March 14 ...

Gay News

Equality Act introduced in U.S. Congress 2019-03-13 - On March 13, Democrats reintroduced the pro-LGBT measure known as the Equality Act in the U.S. House, The Washington Blade reported. Rep. David ...

Gay News

LGBTQ inclusive curriculum bill passes Illinois House 2019-03-13 - SPRINGFIELD — Students in Illinois public schools would learn about the contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in Illinois and U.S. ...

Gay News

ELECTIONS 2019. Early voting info; election judges needed 2019-03-13 - Early voting for the April 2 municipal runoff elections will take place March 18 through April 1. The Loop Super Site, 175 ...

Gay News

WORLD Brazilian video, HIV incidents down, Malaysia's problems 2019-03-12 - Brazil's far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro, has sparked outrage, disgust and ridicule after tweeting a pornographic video in an apparent attempt to hit back ...

Gay News

NATIONAL Trans military ban, Fla. candidate, inmate meets end 2019-03-12 - A federal judge in Maryland cleared the way for the Pentagon to put in place a Trump administration policy banning most transgender individuals ...

Gay News

Millions of LGBTs would gain civil rights protections under Equality Act 2019-03-12 - New estimates on the number of LGBT people who would gain protections from discrimination in employment, education, public accommodations, housing and credit if ...

Gay News

ELECTIONS 2019 Lightfoot questions Preckwinkle's comment about lesbianism 2019-03-11 - During a March 7 debate between mayoral candidates Lori Lightfoot and Toni Preckwinkle, Preckwinkle lauded Lightfoot's openness about her sexuality when moderator Carol ...


Copyright © 2019 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.








About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.