a profile published Saturday in The New York Times,
Russian gay activist Nikolai Alekseyev (sometimes spelled Alexeyev)
blamed apathy for the country's persistent homophobia.
Alekseyev is the founder of Moscow
Pride, an annual Gay Pride march which has been brutally suppressed
by authorities and attacked by neo-Nazi thugs.
Last month's march, held outside the
Kremlin, was over in a flash as authorities quickly rounded up its
leaders – including
two Americans, Lt. Dan Choi and Andy Thayer – and protesters
yelling anti-gay slurs dispersed the rest.
Alekseyev, who after six years of
protests and numerous media interviews has become the face of the gay
rights movement in Russia, is given little credit for pushing the
movement forward in Russia.
One transgender activist, Anna
Komarova, calls Alekeyev challenging: “He is a complicated person
and does not have a mild personality. But laid-back people choose
And the paper introduces the activist
by recounting his recent meltdown during a televised debate on gay
rights. Alekseyev stormed off the stage after being attacked with
anti-gay slurs and hostile remarks not only from his opponents but
also from the debate's moderator.
“He is brash and provocative, even
among would-be supporters,” the paper wrote. “He has berated
journalists for coverage he disagrees with.”
Near the end of the piece, Alekseyev
ostensibly blames the slow slog on gay rights and persistent
homophobia in Russia on the gay community's apathy.
“What society wants is bread and
spectacle, that's it,” he said. “I don't see any problem with
people standing in lines outside gay clubs, but tell these people
that they have to fight for their rights and they say, 'No way.'”