LGBTQ Not Quite Welcome

Rainbow Flag

Samara is a big city, but unlike many big cities it is not quite welcoming to the GLBTQ crowd. There used to be a couple of gay clubs in the 1990s – early 2000s. Now there is only one and it does not advertise as such. What Samara does have is the anti-gay legislation. Any act that can be even remotely classified as gay propaganda among children is prohibited. Due to the vague notion of «propaganda» and multitude of children around virtually any display of non-traditional sexual orientation and behaviour is either reckless or illegal.

There is no mass gay-bashing but just because the scene tends to become more closeted with changing political times. Public display of gayness is ridiculed and may attract some violence, at least verbal.

If you belong to the GLBTQ community and visit Samara here’s some advice. Dress normally – no feathers unless you perform in the theatre and no leather with tears in strategic places unless you try to act like bikers (still no tears). Speak normally. Try not to look at men only and then to their crotch only. No kissing on lips between men in public (girls are somehow exempt from this rule). No sexual touching between men in public (girls are a bit more lucky here again). In general, behave like a straight person.

There are a lot of gay and bisexual people in Samara. If you have friends among them they’ll be the best guides to introduce you to their friends, which will probably be all the scene you can get. Throw in potential bathhouse visits (mostly quite innocent bathing), night clubs (not many and quite straight too) and picnics out of town (or walks around town).

But then again, you know you are not going to a gay capital. Seeing new places and meeting new people, making new friends and having good conversation are great parts of life as well.


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