Ivan Kravistin was brutally beaten and abused after going to a local grocery store in his home town of Syzran, a town 600 miles east from Moscow.
A large man called him a “fag” after noticing Kravistin’s dyed hair and his painted nails, and then viscously attacked him by punching him in his eyes, face, and body.
After the incident, Ivan’s family urged him to change his look to fit in more. They wanted him to stop painting his nails and dying his hair, but Kravistin will not succumb to these pressures.
“According to some, I need to stop talking about gay rights and to accept the reality that in Syzran and Russia that all gays will never be accepted as the norm,” he says.
Well intentioned supporters have said: “Live as yourself behind closed doors with a boyfriend, and everything will be alright. If I wasn’t ‘searching for trouble’, my life would be a fairy tale.”
But he retorts: “That ‘happily ever after’ is a lie. If you submit to homophobes, if you submit to the closet, you’re not living your best possible life. While I might have a broken face, you have a broken life.”
He continues: “If my choice is between living my life then dying suddenly or a slow, painful, closeted life – I choose the first. Say whatever you think about homosexuality, I do not deserve this. No one deserves this.”
“I’m not going to let this force me back into the closet, this is the reason why I came out in the first place: people need to know we exist.”