The line in the advertisement says it all: ‘celebrating our life in the free world.’
Gay immigrants from the former Soviet Union are putting the final touches on a Russian float that will be part of the 30 June New York City Gay Pride Festival.
‘This is about being truly who you are in public,’ Pasha Zalutski said to Radio Free Europe. ‘This is about getting on the float, putting on a glitzy costume, dancing to great music, greeting the crowds — just publicly, openly, unashamedly celebrating the fact that you can say to the entire world, "I’m gay."’
The float will be a first for NYC Pride. This type of public expression is proving near impossible for gays and lesbians still in Russia. Earlier this week, the lower house of country’s parliament (State Duma) passed, with a sweeping majority, a bill banning so-called ‘propaganda’ of homosexuality.
The legislation includes heavy fines for holding gay pride rallies or providing information about LGBT issues to minors. It’s expected the measure will make it through the upper house, and be signed by President Vladimir Putin, by the end of the month.
Zalutski insists what he and his colleagues are doing is more about life in the US, not the situation abroad.
‘Our motivation is to truly celebrate our freedom here,’ the translator said to Radio Free Europe. ‘We are not in it to try to transmit some very crafted message outside of the United States.’
‘Of course I wish I could tell you that we’re going to have this fabulous theme [and] a statue of Lenin dressed up as a drag queen,’ he said. ‘No, we’re not having that. Due to budget constraints we’re keeping it rather modest.’