Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Nikolai Przhevalsky! Day 13 of our Celebration of Russian LGBTQ Pride: An Olympic Counter-Programming Event #OlympicShame #RussianPride #CheersToSochi

Nikolai Przhevalksy (1839-1888)

Nikolai was an explorer, "one of the most well-known Russian celebrities of the 1870s and 1880s" who would return from his adventures with collections of exotic plants and animals.

He was known for both exploring central and far eastern Asia and for bringing along on his journeys handsome young men he was in love with (Like Pyotr Kozlov, who carried on the explorations after Nikolai died.)

Interestingly, the Russian government commissioned the men Nikolai loved as lieutenants in the army, which gave them a salary.

This entry on Przhevalsky gives more details on his expeditions: General Nikolay Przhevalsky was Imperial Russia’s most famous explorer. He made four equestrian journeys in Central Asia, crossing the Gobi desert, the Tian Shan mountains and exploring northern Tibet before dying on expedition in today’s Kyrgyzstan. An avid naturalist, Przhevalsky is credited with making hundreds of discoveries including the wild Bactrian camel and the Przhevalsky horse, which is named after this famous Long Rider. 

Nikolai's books about his travels and adventures were translated into other languages and "avidly read in England and America."

The Przhevalsky Horse - the original wild horse - was discovered by him during an expedition in Mongolia, and is named after him.

Nikolai Przhevalksy being a famous explorer, a Russian, and a man who loved other men is something to celebrate!

I read about Nikolai on pg. 372 of Queers In History, and on page. 350 of Simon Karlinsky's chapter on "Russia's Gay Literature and Culture: The Impact of the October Revolution" in "Hidden from History: Reclaiming The Gay and Lesbian Past" Edited by Martin Duberman, Martha Vicinus & George Chauncey, Jr.


To Consider:

Look at how the Olympic machinery leapt into action when the snow was getting too soft - how they got all this salt from Switzerland in 24 hours - just in time to save the day. 

Interesting how when it comes to the human dignity and equal rights of LGBTQ people, there isn't that same sense of urgency - and there needs to be!


Add To The Celebration:

Who are the Gay, Lesbian, Bi, Trans and Queer Russians you'd like to celebrate? Tell me your favorites in comments, or by twitter, 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!

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