The Russian pride festival Queerfest celebrated its 10-year anniversary of being part of St. Petersburg landscape, and finished on a high note on Saturday, September 29 with a concert by a Russian singer Dana Sokolova, enjoyed by 800 guests.
Despite two fake bomb threats, the festival was attended by a record 2800 people, and got more than 50 000 views online.
Queerfest met with no impediments from the authorities. The festival organizers submitted a complaint regarding the bomb threats, which is a criminal offense under the Russian law. The investigation by the police is in progress.
Every year, the festival becomes a space of freedom of expression for LGBT* people from St. Petersburg and regions of Russia, and an opportunity for activists and groups from the regions of Russia to share their work with new audiences. This year's Open Space program hosted 11 LGBT* activists and initiatives from St. Petersburg, Moscow, Bashkiria, Volgodonsk, Bishkek.
The topic of the festival, "I Am Proud of My Culture", allowed guests to explore the experience of the intersection of our identities and our religions and traditions, discover what we have brought into culture, arts, science, and sports, and discuss our impact on sexual liberation, emancipation, equality, and human rights throughout history. Guests enjoyed a photo exhibition “Transgender Military” by Jeff Sheng, exhibited for the first time, a workshop “Just Sex: Mapping Your Desire” from Grindr for Equality, a discussion of radical feminism and inclusion of transgender people, an historical foray into the Russian drag culture, and much more.
We would like to share with you some of the videos and photos from the festival:
“Anniversary Queerfest is taking place in St. Petersburg”, by Radio Svoboda.
Photos from events are here.
Queerfest takes place at central locations of the city, open and welcoming to the general public, visited by 10-15% non-LGBT guests.
We thank our partners, colleagues, and friends for making these exciting, eventful, and fruitful 10 years possible!