Visibility, Violence, and Vulnerability: Lesbians Stuck Between the Post-Soviet Closet and the Western Media Space

  • Masha Neufeld
  • Katharina Wiedlack


The article discusses Western and Russian discourses on lesbian lives during the period of the introduction of the so-called anti-homosexual propaganda law. It introduces representative examples of American solidarity writing that narrates stories of Russian homophobia and LGBTIQ+ dissidence. Mediatized Western solidarity efforts’ focus on LGBTIQ+ visibility as only form of intelligible resistance privileges gay men, who comply with Western models of representation. Discussing two rare media examples that centre on lesbians, it shows how this focus on identity and visibility renders lesbians as powerless victims and pitiful objects without any agency. It contrasts these Western representations with two projects by Russian lesbian artists and activists. It argues that these latter examples are representative of the negotiation of in/visibility of lesbian desires and lives on the intersection of self-preservation and political resistance.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Masha Neufeld
    • 1
  • Katharina Wiedlack
    • 2
  1. 1.Dresden University of TechnologyDresdenGermany
  2. 2.University of ViennaViennaAustria

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