Artem Kolesov

Artem Kolesov, a 23-year-old, Chicago based Russian violinist comes out as gay on YouTube and describes in a moving autobiographical story his own life as a young gay man in Russia and later in Canada, struggling with his sexual orientation and his beliefs. His video was published just a few days after reports had emerged that the authorities in Chechnya were imprisoning and murdering gay men.

Kolesov grew up in a family of Pentecostal pastors. « In my family, » Kolesov says in his video, « I often heard that all gays should be destroyed, that they should be bombed, and that if anyone in our family turns out to be gay, my family should kill them with their bare hands. » After many depressions an even suicide attempts and living now in the United States, he speaks about the Russian law that forbids any propaganda about homosexuality and has, in fact fuelled the society’s hostility toward LGBT people.

The young violinist published his video in Russian with English subtitles as part of the Children-404 project, which invites teenagers to share their stories and discuss LGBT issues in Russia.



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