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Thread: Gay foreigners learning Russian

  1. #1
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    Gay foreigners learning Russian

    Hello,

    I would really like to spend a few months in Russia to improve my Russian, but I am gay man, in my 30's, I am married to another man, and I'm a bit worried about how to manage my communication/image while socializing in Russia.

    My main purpose would be to improve my Russian and discover the country and make friends, but I am worried that at some point, as soon as I get to know anyone, they will inevitably ask about my love life. I could pretend that I am straight and single, but then they would wonder how come a guy in his 30's is still single. Basically I fear that I will have trouble making friends because I won't be able to hide the truth for very long, unless I completely invent a fake past and go around saying that I have a wife and kids back home waiting for me to come back, which would be really uncomfortable for me.

    So I'd like advice from Russians living in Russia, and/or from foreigners who might have been in the same situation. Can I somehow spend 3 or 4 months in Russian, make great friends, without ever having to discuss this aspect of my life and without ever raising suspicions among my straight Russian friends?

    Thanks.
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  2. #2
    Завсегдатай Antonio1986's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by interprete View Post
    Hello,

    I would really like to spend a few months in Russia to improve my Russian, but I am gay man, in my 30's, I am married to another man, and I'm a bit worried about how to manage my communication/image while socializing in Russia.

    My main purpose would be to improve my Russian and discover the country and make friends, but I am worried that at some point, as soon as I get to know anyone, they will inevitably ask about my love life. I could pretend that I am straight and single, but then they would wonder how come a guy in his 30's is still single. Basically I fear that I will have trouble making friends because I won't be able to hide the truth for very long, unless I completely invent a fake past and go around saying that I have a wife and kids back home waiting for me to come back, which would be really uncomfortable for me.

    So I'd like advice from Russians living in Russia, and/or from foreigners who might have been in the same situation. Can I somehow spend 3 or 4 months in Russian, make great friends, without ever having to discuss this aspect of my life and without ever raising suspicions among my straight Russian friends?

    Thanks.
    Of course!
    Sexual orientation does not bother anyone.
    Enjoy your time in Russia
    Чем больше слов, тем меньше они стоят.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Antonio1986 View Post
    Of course!
    Sexual orientation does not bother anyone.
    Enjoy your time in Russia
    Thank you Antonio. I must say I was very worried after reading some newspaper articles about even shops diplaying on their front doors 'faggots not allowed' signs, like this apparently:
    http://varlamov.me/2017/samiy_dorogoi_hleb/00s.jpg

    Not sure how true this is... but this makes me fear that the general attitude toward gays is not exactly relaxed, and I hope I'm wrong...

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    Завсегдатай Antonio1986's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by interprete View Post
    Thank you Antonio. I must say I was very worried after reading some newspaper articles about even shops diplaying on their front doors 'faggots not allowed' signs, like this apparently:
    http://varlamov.me/2017/samiy_dorogoi_hleb/00s.jpg

    Not sure how true this is... but this makes me fear that the general attitude toward gays is not exactly relaxed, and I hope I'm wrong...
    It is perhaps less liberal than Netherlands, but believe me in Moscow and Saint-Petersburg there is not difference from any other European capital.
    Just relax and enjoy your vacations!
    Чем больше слов, тем меньше они стоят.

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    Quote Originally Posted by interprete View Post
    Not sure how true this is...
    This picture is true, however this businessman 'Herman Sterlingov' (Герман Стерлингов) is known for his... extravagant, close to scandalous actions. This one particular his shop sells bread for 1000 euro per bun because Herman 'bake it himself'.
    If you will not tell random bullies on the street that you a gay, everything will be ok. Province is really less tolerable and 'rednecks' can throw angry look at kissing men.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex80 View Post
    This picture is true, however this businessman 'Herman Sterlingov' (Герман Стерлингов) is known for his... extravagant, close to scandalous actions. This one particular his shop sells bread for 1000 euro per bun because Herman 'bake it himself'.
    If you will not tell random bullies on the street that you a gay, everything will be ok. Province is really less tolerable and 'rednecks' can throw angry look at kissing men.
    Thank you Alex80. Well I have no intention to kiss or hold anyone's hand, but on the other hand I was afraid of having to tell lies about my personal life whenever I would meet new Russian friends, but since this doesn't seem to be the case, I'm reassured

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    Почтенный гражданин Serge_spb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by interprete View Post
    diplaying on their front doors 'faggots not allowed' signs, like this apparently:
    http://varlamov.me/2017/samiy_dorogoi_hleb/00s.jpg

    Not sure how true this is... but this makes me fear that the general attitude toward gays is not exactly relaxed, and I hope I'm wrong...
    The sign is probably some kind of a "black humor".

    But - generally - it`s not ok to be gay in Russia. No one will know for sure unless you tell, but my advice would be to avoid provocative cloth, haircuts, conduct... Don`t smile too much to strangers (I`m not kidding). On the other hand, I see lots of lesbian girls in St Petersburg, sometimes even male couples - mostly in the city center. So the truth would be to smother the personal life questions like..

    but then they would wonder how come a guy in his 30's is still single.
    ...
    1. Busy man (high achiever with not much free time). 2. Broke up recently, still suffer, no impetus to find a new one...

    Stay safe.
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    Почтенный гражданин Suobig's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by interprete View Post
    I must say I was very worried after reading some newspaper articles about even shops diplaying on their front doors 'faggots not allowed' signs, like this apparently:
    I'd say the whole homophobia story is blow out of proportion (for political reasons probably). Russians are quite tolerant to gays. There're certain exceptions (orthodox Christians for example) but in general it's fine. Especially among younger generation.
    Alex80 likes this.
    I know it's "MR" not "ME", but still: fix my english mistakes, please!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Serge_spb View Post
    Don`t smile too much to strangers (I`m not kidding).
    That's going to be difficult for me, after spending several years in a country where everybody smiles all the time!

    But thanks a lot for the ideas, I think the scenario about a recent breakup is a good one. I hope I won't make any inconsistent mistake in my story and get busted

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    Quote Originally Posted by interprete View Post
    I hope I won't make any inconsistent mistake in my story and get busted
    You do not have to explain anything except in police station. No smile, no responsibility for strangers. Don't worry and stay cool.

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    It's still quite a sensitive subject and people share this only with someone they know close enough. Probably better to keep it secret as long as possible. Age matters. The younger they are the more likely they are to not care. Also, seems better not to say about marriage to another man. If you don't advertise it and act as if it's uncomfortable for you to discuss your love life people might think you are shy in these matters and wouldn't ask questions.

    Besides, unmarried men without families of their own are not a rare thing in Russia today. So I don't think this looks suspicious at all.

    You might want to think of some scenario if some girl tries to date you) In that case probably some prepared explanation might be good.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex80 View Post
    You do not have to explain anything except in police station. No smile, no responsibility for strangers. Don't worry and stay cool.
    I think they don't have to explain anything even in a police station (some formal questions, that's all). Besides police stations don't speak English)

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    If anything comes up just say you're divorced.

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    interprete! You have shared great information about Russia, This place totally new for me and I have not explored in my whole life but I wish to want to explore my feature life. After reading your postr so I am very known about this place. I hope when i will go to this place so i will enjoy this place and get great persnol experinaces.

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