Often, when we speak about the immigrant experience in America, we speak of opportunity and freedom, and for LGBT people, of safety, equality and being reunited with our loved ones in a place where it isn’t a crime to love them. Much of the time, we don’t talk about what we leave behind. In Alla Gorik, a matter-of-fact yet intimate short story, a Russian immigrant tells about having to move to New York without her girlfriend of two years, yet still talking to her every day. That complex push and pull between staying and leaving is also faced by many of her friends.

Gay Propaganda, a book of Russian love stories edited by Russian-American journalist and LGBT activist Masha Gessen and Joseph Huff-Hannon, is a nod to the country’s 2013 ban on distributing gay “propaganda” to minors, including holding pride events, defending gay rights, and equating gay and heterosexual relationships. As the spotlight shifts from the Sochi Olympics to Crimea, we have to keep our eyes on those left behind — not only on their continued persecution, but on their humanity, the complex challenges they face, and their love. This is definitely the moment for Gay Propaganda.

Read the full post and excerpt at Immigration Equality.

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