For mass media
THE ART OF BEING YOURSELF HERE AND NOW: QUEERFEST IN RUSSIA
The 9th annual Russian pride festival QUEERFEST, organized by “Coming Out” LGBT group, will take place in St. Petersburg September 14-24.
QUEERFEST’s road through the nine years has been rocky, most years everything was thrown in its path to prevent it from happening (thug attacks, police pressure, venue closures, fake bomb threats), while some years have been peaceful, allowing organizers to concentrate on the quality of the programming.
This year, the festival organizers are switching focus from combatting the system to the importance of people – their experience, their uniqueness, their will to live full lives.
10 days of the festival events – lectures, workshops, body practices, and concerts - are united through one common topic of how a human destiny unfolds. It is going to be very personal: each day will uncover stories of people who live their lives and look for happiness right here and now, regardless of the difficult environment they live in.
“Where Love is Illegal”, a project by the world famous human rights photographer Robin Hammond, brought by QUEERFEST to Russia, exposes the discriminatory gender politics of heteronormative societies, and how far it can go. Cameroon, Lebanon, Malawi, Malaysia, Russia, Tunisia, Uganda, South Africa, and Jamaica: love stories turn into stories of survival when captured in countries where homosexual relations and other alternative identities are banned legally or publicly.
QUEERFEST continues the tradition of publishing stories told from the first person with the collection “My Intersex Story.” Three stories are told about intersex people – three lives, three paths towards recognition and acceptance of own corporality, towards escape from fear, shame, and pain. “My Intersex Story” is one of the first publications in Russia about intersex people. All festival guests will be able to get a copy of the book.
No matter what this year entails, whether it is going to be attacks from homophobic activists and harassment by the city administration, or a trouble-free ten days, the festival will continue its mission of empowering LGBTI people in Russia to be themselves, here, and now, which in our time and our country can be an art.