Recently countless discussions about the life of Russian LGBTQI people are held around the world. While the organizers claim that they’re expressing solidarity, as a Russian trans* woman I feel demeaned and frustrated by these events. I read about some foreign activists and politicians inventing strategies how to “save” us here, but they don’t ask us whether we want to be saved this way. I read about “experts” attending these events who have very superficial knowledge of the situation. And I’d like to ask: what do all these people have to do with Russian LGBTQI movement that makes them welcomed to such events while actual Russian activists are not invited?
But when they invite us, we’re not allowed to talk freely. That was the case with the conference “Gold for equal rights” in Berlin (1-2 Febryary), where I was invited as a speaker, however these were the German activists who defined the program and the themes each participant to speak about, that’s why I couldn’t express my opinion about whatever besides trans* issues. I was even more disappointed to learn that these German activists responsible for the organizing of the event were so unfamiliar with LGBTQI activism in Russia that they had to ask Transgender Europe for the names of trans* activists they had to invite. If you have no idea on what’s going on, why would you feel eligible to organize a conference in that field?