|Portrait of Mikhail Kuzman, found here|
Mikhail was a famous author, composer and poet. He was Russian. He was also Gay.
He was actually famous for being gay, as his book "Wings" (Krylya) - serialized in 1906 and published in 1907 - is generally considered Russia's first gay novel.
In it, the male characters view falling in love with another man as "a natural phenomenon sanctioned by the prestigious Greek and Roman traditions. The main conflict is not whether or not Vanya will accept his homosexuality - his acceptance is virtually a given - but rather his struggle to reconcile his passion" with what he knows of the man he's attracted to.
After a soap-opera-worthy love affair with a handsome young dragoon, Vsevolod Knyazaev, who wrote Mikhail poetry and traveled with him, but then fell in love with a famous actress of the time, Olga Glebova-Sudikina (who was married to a man Mikhail had had a romance with as well!), Mikhail found love with Yuri Yurkun in 1913.
Mikhail and Yuri lived together for more than 25 years - the rest of Mikhail's life!
It's cool to note that the first officially registered gay and lesbian organization in Russia was called Krylya (Wings) after his novella.
"Love, whatever its nature, can never be depraved except in the eyes of a cynic." - Mikhail Kuzmin, Wings
Pretty cool to celebrate Mikhail Kuzmin, who used his voice and art to celebrate being openly Russian and Gay!
I read about Mikhail Kuzman on pgs. 336-337 of "Completely Queer: The Gay and Lesbian Encyclopedia" by Steve Hogan and Lee Hudson, and also in this article by Justin Torres at advocate.com, "Breaking The Ice Of Russian Repression."
Add To The Celebration:
Who are the Gay, Lesbian, Bi, Trans and Queer Russians you'd like to celebrate? Add your favorites in comments, and on the final day of the Olympics, I'll run a rainbow variety-pack post with everyone's suggestions!
Please Note: Given the situation in Russia, I'm thinking we should keep it to either people who are no longer living in Russia or are historical. I'd hate to create a list that then would be used against people by a repressive, anti-LGBTQ regime.
Having said that, there is a lot of Queer Russian heritage to explore and so many LGBTQ Russians we can celebrate!
Check out this great video of the eloquent Panti (a.k.a. Rory O'Neill) speaking out about the homophobia they face in Ireland. I particularly loved the moment at 8:45 in,
"...the word Homophobia is no longer available to gay people, which is a spectacular and neat Orwellian trick. Because now, it turns out, gay people are not the victims of homophobia, homophobes are the victims of homophobia!"
Note there is one f-bomb in this...