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RECORD ATTENDANCE

Russian QUEERFEST survives fake bomb threats

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The Russian pride festival QUEERFEST celebrated its 10-year anniversary of being part of St. Petersburg landscape, and finished on a high note on Sept. 29 despite two fake bomb threats, reports Polina Andrianova.

A record 2,800 people attended and it was estimated 50,000 watchedthe festival online.

QUEERFEST met with no impediments from the authorities. The festival organizers submitted a complaint regarding the bomb threats, which is a criminal offense under the Russian law. The investigation by the police is in progress.

Every year, the festival becomes a space of freedom of expression for LGBT* people from St. Petersburg and regions of Russia, and an opportunity for activists and groups from the regions of Russia to share their work with new audiences. This year's Open Space program hosted 11 LGBT activists and initiatives from St. Petersburg, Moscow, Bashkiria, Volgodonsk, Bishkek.

The festival’s theme - I Am Proud of My Culture - allowed guests to explore the experience of the intersection of our identities and our religions and traditions, discover what we have brought into culture, arts, science, and sports, and discuss our impact on sexual liberation, emancipation, equality, and human rights throughout history.

Guests enjoyed a photo exhibition “Transgender Military” by Jeff Sheng, exhibited for the first time, a workshop “Just Sex: Mapping Your Desire” from Grindr for Equality, a discussion of radical feminism and inclusion of transgender people, an historical foray into the Russian drag culture, and much more.