Russia’s brutal anti-gay legislation has been all over the headlines lately, but we haven’t really seen a human side of who all the anti-gay legislation that’s being passed in the country is affecting. Photographer Anastasia Ivanova’s project “From Russia With Love” pairs photography of lesbian couples with their own accounts of their relationships and their experiences as gay Russians. The project just debuted in the evocatively-named queer arts journal Muff Magazine.
The photographs are beautiful, but the women’s statements are heartbreaking. One couple, Olgerta and Lisa, say they have been activists for 15 years, but “a lot of the things that were achieved in Russia over the last century have been wiped out in the last two [years].” Other couples say that, “The way we live makes us outlaws,” and that, “Our future is simple. We must leave.” They desire simple things: to hold hands in public, to have children, and to be able to love freely. Right now those things are nearly impossible for gay couples in Russia. Let’s hope that a look at how these laws impact real people will bring about a more humanistic approach in mother Russia.