Mykki Blanco on Moscow and other Russian cities

I missed this Mykki Blanco's post in November last year. It's still valid though. It's nice to have foreign people to care about my country and lack of democracy here.

Here's what he says:

People have said I'm "brave" for continuing to show my support of Russian LGBT youth/persons and performing visiting the country but if I were actually transgender, if I wasn't able to shed the skin of that reality would I actually be safe there at all? Would it be "brave" or merely "foolish" for me to think I would not be harassed.... Would I be free to so easily go to the beach or go hiking, dance in the bars or walk around the streets taking photos, drinking beer under highway overpasses, experiencing the freedom that my birth male body gives me..... I do not think so... and so I do not think its brave.
Though I do not ever shed my "queerness" for my performances there ie (my makeup, my wig, my choice of clothing, my costumes, my body language, the "show girl" elements of my punk rap show) I have to face that fact that my experience of Russia is dictated by my MALE PRIVILEGE not my QUEERNESS and certainly not by any TRANS IDENTIFYING REALITY.
I'm a tall skinny black guy covered in tattoo's who many because of the sheer fact that I am covered in tattoo's do not assume for whatever stereotyping that I am gay. I am able to slip under the radar to infiltrate like a spy, to go through airport security and passport checkpoints and the like without anyone blinking an eye. This past Friday in Moscow was the first time I have had ANY trouble of ANY kind in Russia and to be honest with much reflection now I feel it had little to do with RUSSIA and EVERYTHING TO DO WITH MOSCOW.
St Petersburg, Vladivostok & Nihzhy Novogrod where I have performed in Russia have all had extremely different attitudes than those I've faced in Moscow much more open with almost no feelings of a "police state" or "watch dog" atmosphere places I would call "relaxing" "tranquil" and "cosmopolitan"... and even when I performed in Moscow in 2012 before the laws were passed the city still had much more of a tension to it than anywhere else. Moscow is the capital and the country's political and economic home so it really should come as no surprise that ANYTHING of a political or transgressive nature would be heightened there...
OH RUSSIA you mean so many different things to so many different people..... but what do you mean to me?........You are the other dimension that I have had the chance to spend so much time in, the fabled and vilified dreamland
When I think of Russia I think of the secret gay house parties I have been too kissing boys drunk on vodka and caviar... I think of smoking weed in the Siberian forests and stumbling drunk in the Russian ghetto's with my straight male friends. I think of going to the underground Russian gay clubs packed with muscle bound men in skin tight shirts and emo twinks softly gyrating to ear splitting trance.. seeing 6'3 Glam Queens perform in thigh high boots and polyester wrap dresses like a Pre-Aids New York I never experienced. I remember having to run from the club to the car because gay bashing thugs had started a fight in the parking lot outside. I think about being embraced arm over arm collapsed on the beach reeking of booze and cooked fish listening to Gucci Mane on an iPhone and being told affectionately "I love USA "Negry" People, they so much more nice than the USA white people" (Negry meaning Black). I think about talking, flirting on gay social apps and sites like Grindr and Planet Romeo, exchanging pictures but being too afraid to actually meet given the horror stories of false profiles being used to lure gays into traps where they are humiliated. I think of my friend Sasha's mother's cooking and how she made sure I was fed mulitple times round the clock in the comfort of her home.
Russia is more to me than Moscow and I feel for Moscow because of how misunderstood that city is... really maybe I love Russia so much because I can relate to it's "outsider status", because the west is afraid of it, because of all of the preconceived notions and rumors because I relate to the feelings of alienation from the USA, the mistreatment, the provocative attitudes, the hypocrisy's of America, how I feel my art, my music my identity are still not really understood here in the USA but scattered with my pockets of fans across the world.
I see in Russia pieces of myself and through self love I in turn love Russia.

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