Photographer Anna Milokumova meets queer couples in Russia who exist and resist in a political landscape keen to see them fail.

Photographer Anna Milokumova meets queer couples in Russia who exist and resist in a political landscape keen to see them fail.

It’s a well-known fact that being LGBTQ in Russia is far from easy. With a staggering 85% of the population declaring to be against gay marriage (as of 2013), queer people are continuously forced to deal with the very real threat of brutality – be that at the hands of one of Putin’s allies and his concentration camps in Chechnya, violent homophobic gangs targeting young people through dating apps, or Russia’s own state-sanctioned, oppressive police.

Still, as it is the tradition of queer people all over the world, they resist. Both openly as activists speaking truth to power, but also privately – daring to be happy and thrive in a society so keen to see them fail, recoil in fear and be eaten by guilt. In Russia, as terrifying as it is, existence is resistance.

Photographer Anna Milokumova started documenting Russia’s gay community at the age of 19, through the man who would become her best friend. Coming from a strict, religious Russian family, Anna recalls never having met an openly gay person before him – but this friendship opened her eyes to a whole new perspective on the world.

She then decided to shoot this series of images. Entitled We Are Together, they offer a glimpse into the everyday lives of some LGBTQ couples who live and love together, despite the hostile environment they find themselves in.

With the Russian federal law against “disseminating gay propaganda” to “protect the children” still in place, and persecution being rife, many of Anna’s subjects chose not to show their faces for their own safety.

However, every single one of the couples was more than happy to share their feelings for each other – love and mutual respect above all.

Yana_and_Sveta_007

Yana, 34, and Svetlana, 43.

Maxim_and_Eugine_003

Maxim, 26, and Eugine, 34.

Polina_and_Tasya_002

Polina, 22, and Tasya, 23.

Alexander_and_Eugine_006

Alexander, 28, and Eugine, 41.

Kirill_and_Igor_004

Kirill, 25, and Igor, 46.

Dante_and_Maxim_005

Dante, 34, and Maxim, 26.

Eugine_and_Roman_001

Eugine, 21, and Roman, 17.

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