With the collapse of the USSR, Russian society experienced a sexual revolution in which it became possible to discuss, create, and consume sexuality in new ways and on a greater order of magnitude than had been previously possible. This revolution included gay men, who published newspapers and magazines including nude photography, lewd caricatures, and erotic fiction. The editors of these magazines understood this production of Russian gay erotica not simply as a way to boost circulation but also as part of a wider project of the development of a national gay culture in their country. This talk will feature viewing and discussion of these materials and their significance, focusing on what they tell us about these would be gay culture-builders.
Franziska Yost is a doctoral candidate in the Department of History at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is currently finishing her dissertation explicating the production of LGBTQ identity in Russia during the 1990s.