Andrey Ozerny, a 24-year-old writer from Sochi, Russia, has penned an open letter to Sochi mayor Anatoly Nikolayevich Pakhomov.
Pakhomoy told BBC reporter, John Sweeney, that there were no gay people in his city. When Sweeney challenged him, saying he himself had been to one of Sochi’s two gay bars the night before, Pakhomov retorted, “I am not sure, but I don’t bloody know them.”
The Olympic Games begin in Sochi on Thursday, February 6.
Dear Anatoly Nikolayevich Pakhomov, the Mayor of Sochi,
I omitted the ‘honorable’ on purpose – as I have ever felt any respect for you.
Recently in one of your crazy interviews with BBC, you said that there are no gays in the city of Sochi.
At least, you personally didn’t know of any and thought that ‘it’ was not accepted in the Caucasus.
Of course, you often amuse us with statements that are familiar to us because we know you.
I remember that once you suggested Sochi residents to calm down, stop protesting, and leave the city if they disagree with your policies.
But this time it is too much, don’t you think so? I am glad to let you know: there are a lot of gays in Sochi!
I am one of them. To be honest, we live here quite well. In fact, Sochi is one of the most tolerant cities in our horribly homophobic country.
Of course, it can be unpleasant at times but on the whole gays fit into this urban city quite normally.
Besides, homosexuals from other, more severe and less friendly, regions flock to Sochi. There are even immigrants from neighboring countries.
If you don’t believe me, we can meet personally and I will try to explain you that regardless of whether it is accepted or not, the number of homosexuals in a society remains unchanged.
And the fact that you don’t know any representatives of sexual minorities is just the consequence of this unacceptance – people are afraid to live the way they want.
You are mistaken that you don’t know any gay people. Believe me, there are many gays in the city administration and probably you often sit with them in the same room at the same table.
I invite you to visit the nightclub Mayak where you will see an abundance and diversity of the urban LGBT culture. You will see there a lot of people you personally know. Of course, not all the club guests are homosexual but most are.
I feel sorry that you are learning about the existence of gays in Sochi so late. If you knew about us earlier, maybe your life would have turned out differently. You could have become a completely different person. But as they say, better late than never.
I hope you realise that gay people are a part of the picture of a modern world, and you will one day join us.