The stories in Gay Propaganda—a collection of testimonies by LGBT Russians about finding love and making their way in modern society—are dull, dull, dull, which actually drives home the book’s point and helps make it one of the most exciting and necessary publications I have ever seen.
Gays in Russia are being harassed, disenfranchised, and even legislated against. Putin has gone so far as to sign a law banning “gay propaganda,” by which he means all public tolerance of homosexuals. How do you even begin to resist this kind of persecution?
With a book, of course.
The people profiled in Gay Propaganda tell their own stories in plain terms. Vasili breaks up with his boyfriend. Olga and Maria get pregnant. Oleg and Dmitriy meet through online dating. It’s everyday stuff. But in the context of Russia’s campaign of hate, the choice to live openly and unapologetically becomes dangerous, brave, triumphant.
Gay Propaganda is a simple book for complicated times. It douses a socio-political firestorm with humility, defiance, and love. It’s more than a book—it’s a step toward basic human rights.
– Brian Hurley