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Side by Side LGBT Film Festival Launch Video Campaign: “Coming Out: Your Step towards Equality!”

The video demonstrates how important it is for members of the LGBT community (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people) in Russia to be open and honest with themselves, family, friends and colleagues. Studies show that the more open gays and lesbians are in society and do not hide their orientation, the levels of homophobia are markedly lower. In Russia, according to research conducted by the Public Opinion Foundation, only 10% of the population know personally an LGBT person this is in sharp contrast to the USA where figures are 70%. It is not surprising therefore that homophobia is prevalent and pernicious stereotypes of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people pervade Russian society whereas is the USA the levels of homophobia is less and there is greater recognition and rights for the LGBT community.

The video shows the various stages of coming out: initial emotions of fear, uncertainty and confusion: "I want immediately to deny that this is not true", "You think that something can be changed", are just some of the thoughts which occur to many parents, when they learn that their daughter or son is lesbian or gay. Then the attempt to understand: "My mum said to me that she loves and supports me and her love is not dependent on anything.”

Commenting on the motivations for the video campaign, Tatiana Shmankevich, Project Coordinator: "We shot the video to in order to help both gay and lesbian people take the step of coming out as well as to help facilitate acceptance by those around them. People from the LGBT community who refuse to come out fall into a vicious circle living in constant fear of possible disclosure, and in this situation are vulnerable to intimidation.”

British singer Marc Almond has supported the video campaign. He states: “There should be a place for everybody in a modern society - A diverse tolerant society, is a rich one.”

Marc Almond kindly provided the music from his song "Ruby Red" for the video campaign. The video campaign was produced with the assistance of the Czech human rights organization "People in Need".



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