Russian Drag Performer Builds New Life in US


While the anti-gay propaganda law made federal in Russia last June has not lead to a significant number of prosecutions, human rights activists say it has given the green light to the kind of harassment seen at Central Station and other places in the country. Politician Vitaly Milonov, an early architect of the law, whom "Nightline" spoke to in January, has since suggested a ‘moral police’ could regulate so-called propaganda, while gay clubs and social media be shut-down. In May, activists in Moscow were detained by police for displaying rainbow flags, and when an Austrian drag queen recently won a European music contest, it spawned a new wave of anti-gay sentiment in Russian media.

“I’m really afraid things will get worse,” Alexei said. “I think we are going there, to total discrimination."

“Even now I don’t feel comfortable speaking about gay people... I don’t want anybody to hear about that,” he continued.

While the old Central Station remains closed, the owners opened a new venue in another location last month, and so far there have been no reported attacks there.

Meanwhile, in San Francisco, Viktor has found a new drag show in the Castro, where he said he can take the stage without fear. On a recent night he performed a mash-up of “I Will Survive” and “I’m a Survivor.”

“This song means so much for me,” he said.

He plans to pursue a professional drag career, get married and have a family of his own.

“Everyone have American dream. ... My American dream, it’s being big drag queen ... being big performer for people ... being someone. Being gay and being someone,” he said.

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