Article / I report on LGBTQ asylum seekers from Russia, and the first-ever pride parade on Brighton Beach.
Artem Nevinchanyi is a striking figure: tall and rail thin with olive skin and haunting green eyes that have a piercing seriousness rarely encountered in a man his age. In 2005, when Artem was a seventeen-year-old living in a small Siberian city, he spent winter break visiting his older brother, Denis, in Kaliningrad. The two were on their way home from celebrating the Russian Orthodox New Year in a cafe when they were attacked by three homophobes on a bridge. Denis, a large, fit man recently discharged from the army, was the only person at the time to know Artem was gay. He tried to protect his brother, ordering him to flee the scene. Artem ran to call the police. The following morning, Denis was found dead. That day, Artem not only lost his sole confidant, but also his parents, both of whom continue to blame him for his brother’s death.
Five years later, Artem moved to Moscow, where life as a gay man was easier than it was in Siberia. But, the situation soured for him there, too. In April 2015, three men followed him home from a gay nightclub and beat him senseless in front of the lobby to his apartment building, screaming, “You’ll die here tonight, faggot.” He escaped with a broken nose, broken ribs, and several hematomas. He went to the hospital, where he had to file a police report, but the Moscow police refused to record the incident as a homophobic hate crime. Two weeks later, he got on a plane to New York, where he is currently seeking asylum.
Read the article in The Awl.