Protesting Russia's anti-LGBT agenda



I've lived to bury my desires
and see my dreams corrode with rust
now all that's left are fruitless fires
that burn my empty heart to dust.

--Alexander Pushkin




Masha Bast is chair of the Association of Russian Lawyers for Human Rights. The association was founded in 2004, but didn't come into fruition until 2007.

Masha has come out as a bisexual transwoman in order to protest the Russian federal ban on "gay propaganda."

The law banning gay propaganda among minors is completely wrong

I remember being 10 and wanting to be a girl and putting on girl's clothes. I didn't understand what was happening to me.

This was in the Soviet Union and there was no information to explain what was happening to me.

--Masha Bast

There is more from Masha on the inside.

Originally from Belgorod, Masha obtained an LLM in International Business Law from the University of Liverpool. She currently resides in Moscow.

Masha participated in the solidarity protest action Silence = Death to Russia yesterday on Red Square in Moscow. There was a joint protest held at Trocadero Square in Paris.





The protest action was directed to against the discrimination of LGBT people in Russia and in support of transgender Roman Sorokin, who is a seeker of political asylum in France.

I went to dances dressed as a girl back when I looked more feminine. I also started taking hormone pills on my own, but they made me sick, and once an ambulance had to be called for me. 

I had to stop taking the pills, and for five or six years after that I couldn't take any pills at all.

Just imagine all the kids who have no idea what's happening to them. I never once met a homosexual in my childhood and only learned what a homosexual was when I was 14.

By then, I had long known that I was a woman and I had been wearing women's clothes for years.

So it isn't a matter of upbringing. It's nature. That's why I think the law against "homosexual propaganda" is a law against children and one that targets certain social groups. It is a fascist law and nothing else.


Masha explained her situation to the woman she would marry, Julia Guseinova, when they first started dating.

I explained that I like men, but I am a bisexual woman. In Russia, same-sex marriage is illegal, but in practice we have a same-sex marriage.

Really, I am more of the wife and she is more of the husband in terms of gender roles.


If we use terms that are frequently used to describe outer space, I would say that before coming out I was like a black hole.

Now, though, I am expanding and becoming happier and happier. I'm like a bird that's finally free. I don't regret it. I did the right thing.




You can follow Masha on Facebook…for the time being.






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Masha has some more advice for young transpeople.

Robyn's picture

Come out. The sooner, the better. Don’t be afraid of your parents. Too many trans people worry about how society sees them and think they’re a problem for society.

Don’t think that. It is your right. If it makes someone uncomfortable, that’s their problem. And especially for young trans women, don’t be afraid to go to a doctor. There are good doctors in Moscow and some in St. Petersburg who won’t judge you.

About the timing of her coming out:

I wasn’t trying to prove that I was brave. It was my choice. I’m a free person.  Bravery and freedom are one and the same in my case. You have to be brave to be free. The freer a person is, the braver they have to be.

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