The time has come for the sixth international queer pride festival of Russia, QueerFest 2014. This year, QueerFest is going back to its original slogan – “The Art of Being Yourself” – as it is truly becoming an art to be proud and openly express your identity in Russia.
Taking place September 18-27 in St. Petersburg, QueerFest, one of the largest public LGBT events in Russia, celebrates its sixth year in the context of increasing pressures on civil society and the LGBT community. In view of ever diminishing spaces for freedoms, QueerFest becomes an island for safety and self-expression for many.
This year, the audiences will discuss how tolerance can be taught to kids, and will make an excursion into early Soviet homosexual subculture of Petrograd. Special guests of the festival – Manifesta 10 Biennale exhibiting this fall in St. Petersburg – will join the group in discussions on queer art, and the interrelation between art, society and politics. Audiences will enjoy dance performances and photo exhibitions. Traditionally, the festival will be closed with a concert against homophobia, this year headlined by the Swedish singer Jenny Wilson.
As always, complications are to be expected.
“We expect bomb threats, visits from extreme right group members and orthodox activists, ‘provocations’ with minors, and harassment of the organization. Threats already fill the internet. And yet, it feels that we’ve already succeeded, as the spirit of celebration and pride is in the air and will be with us these 10 days. Everything is so gloomy throughout the year, it feels good to set aside a time when the LGBT community, our supporters and allies, can join together to openly and publicly celebrate our work, our identities, and our lives!” says Polina Andrianova, one of the festival organizers.