I was born and grew up in Saratov, Russia. It’s a provincial town, built on a mix of old-fashioned Orthodox Christian values (which condemned homosexuality as a sin) and Soviet beliefs (when most people thought that homosexuality didn’t exist in the Soviet Society at all).

Both of my parents worked, and I was on my own a lot. I was a good kid, though. I did my homework, stayed home, and didn’t get into trouble. I was also shy and sometimes had a hard time socializing. My father was a history professor at the university, and my mom worked for a non-profit organization.

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