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Queering Paradigms VIII

Queer-Feminist Solidarity and the East/West Divide

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Edited By Katharina Wiedlack, Saltanat Shoshanova and Masha Godovannaya

Queering Paradigms VIII brings together critical discourses on queer-feminist solidarity between Western, post-Soviet and post-socialist contexts. It highlights transnational solidarity efforts against homophobia, transphobia and misogyny. It engages grass-roots activists and community organizers in a conversation with scholars, and shows that the lines between these categories are blurry and that queer theorists and analysts are to be found in all spheres of queer-feminist culture. It highlights that queer paradigms and theories are born in street protests, in community spaces, in private spheres, through art and culture as well as in academia, and that the different contexts speak to each other.

This anthology presents some of the radical approaches that emerge at the intersection of activism, community organizing, art and academia, through transnational exchange, migration and collaborations. It is a celebration of alliances and solidarities between activism, community building, art, culture and academic knowledge production. Yet, the collected work also brings forward the necessary critique of Western hegemonies involved in contemporary queer-feminist solidarity activism and theory between the ‘East’ and ‘West.’ It is an important thinking about, thinking through and thinking in solidarity and the East/West divide, setting new impulses to fight oppression in all its forms.

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10 Migrating Russian-speaking LGBTIQ+ Activists: On Displacement, Sense of Belonging and Transnational Activism (Pauliina Lukinmaa / Aleksandr Berezkin)

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Pauliina Lukinmaa and Aleksandr Berezkin

10 Migrating Russian-speaking LGBTIQ+ Activists: On Displacement, Sense of Belonging and Transnational Activism

Introduction

This chapter1 analyzes transnational Russian-speaking LGBTIQ+2 activists’ stories of migration. We follow six Russian-speaking LGBTIQ+ activists’ cross-border migratory paths in connection to their transnational←263 | 264→ activism, especially in Saint Petersburg, Russia but also in other countries. Migration by LGBTIQ+ people from Russia to other countries has risen since 2013 (Coming Out 2018),3 however, with the exception of a few studies (Stella 2015; Stella, Moya, & Gawlewicz 2018; Mole 2018), it has been studied only rather scarcely. This seems surprising, since research as well as transnational human rights advocates have demonstrated an increased interest in the LGBTIQ+ activist movement in Russia after the recent introduction of homophobic legislations4 (Kondakov 2013; Healey 2015; Stella & Nartova 2016; Andreevskikh 2018) and the increasing oppression against civic activism and civil society organizations (CSO)5 (Romanov &←264 | 265→ Iarskaia-Smirnova 2015: 362–364; Dauce 2015: 58). Furthermore, studies dealing with Russian speaking LGBTIQ+ activists’ transnational activism (Andreevskikh 2018) rarely include migration in their analysis (Mole 2018). The suppressive legislation (Andreevskhikh 2018; Mole 2018) led to an increased mobilization in LGBTIQ+ activism. In this sense, the legislation also had positive side effects. Neither Western academia nor media have considered the diversification and internationalization of Russian-speaking LGBTIQ+ activism but have rather focused, as Virkkunen (2010: 95) notes, on ‘the violence and arrests of the pride movement in Russia.’

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