Being gay in Russia today is dangerous. And it cost one journalist his life.
We began a recent episode of Reveal with the story of a reporter who was murdered in his apartment in St. Petersburg. He wasn’t killed for what he wrote about or investigated, but because of who he was: a gay man. Hateful anti-gay rhetoric is so pervasive in Russia that it’s heard daily on television and in speeches by politicians.
We learned what’s behind this rhetoric and heard how President Vladimir Putin uses homophobia to quash political dissent, exert influence on neighboring nations and bash the West.
But what does it look like?
Photographer Mads Nissen found himself outraged a few summers ago. Outraged to have witnessed – and captured on film – a fistfight that broke out because a young man decided to come out of the closet. Punches and slurs were thrown at the man – an ugly display of the contempt for the LGBT community in Russia.
“Since that summer day, I’ve been dedicating myself to tell the story of modern homophobia in Russia. Not only the violent attacks, but also the new, so-called anti-gay law and the everyday stigma LGBT persons in Russia are facing.” — Mads Nissen
Unfortunately, this violence is ongoing.
We partnered with Catchlight – a nonprofit that supports photography focused on key issues around the world today – to republish Nissen’s photos.