The short documentary tells the story of Leo, a young stand-up comedian from Armenia.
7 July 2023
Leo is a stand-up artist from Armenia who is not afraid to talk about topics that have been taboo for years. Armenian media has been “colonized” by foreign media outlets for decades. Russian media influence has always been significant, especially in comedy. Comedy shows were flooded with discriminatory speech and sexism and homophobia were an integral part of jokes. Leo uses his routine to address these issues and create new ways of talking about queer lives in Armenia.
Read more articles from the Issue
“This Is My Feminist Manifesto”
The story of Violetta Tarasenko, a Ukrainian LGBTQ activist and a lesbian woman in the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
Behind the Mask: Contemporary Drag Culture in Kazakhstan
In Tolganay Talgat's documentary, artists and performers of different ages, ethnicities, and genders share how they find ways to self-expression and activism in drag.
Queer Self-Expression in Kyrgyzstan: Between Cultural Norms and Personal Values
An essay about the desire to live out queerness clashing with cultural context and family needs.
Three Stories from Moldova: Drag, Cinema, Literature
Interviews with drag dancer Jenny, film festival director Max Cârlan, and writer Sasha Zare.
A short film about the flourishing drag scene in Tbilisi.
Drag in Armenia: An Evolution of the Artform
An interview with drag artists from Armenia.
Guess the Fact – Queer Artist Edition
In this video queer artists learn different facts about each other through a game called “Guess the Fact”.
“Discover Your Own Point of Tension and Pleasure. Trust Both”
Meet Ukrainian queer photographer Katherina Turenko and the Sapphic women* captured in her images.
A Belarusian poet reflects on the ways to create queer poetry using no historical precedent, and on finding that precedent, nonetheless.
Emotions. Feelings. Uzbekistan
Community art can encourage positive changes on an individual, community, and local level. It can bring awareness to the community’s issues nationally and internationally while offering new perspectives.
Peculiarities of Running LGBTQ Spaces in Kazakhstan
How and why do LGBTQ Spaces work in Kazakhstan, and are heterosexuals welcome there?
Defying Boundaries: Azerbaijan’s Drag Star
Lady Slim, an Azerbaijani drag queen, pushes back against growing anti-queer restrictions to perform at home and abroad.
“In Prison, They Named Me Rayhon”
In Uzbekistan, sex between men carries a prison sentence. Ex-inmates who were imprisoned under Article 120 share their stories.
From Street Violence to Stand-Up Scene
Meet Nata Talikishvili, a trans woman who started doing stand up after years of trailblazing activism in Georgia.
“The Most Important Thing For Me Is That My Son Is Happy”
A mother of a queer person from Kazakhstan shares her story on acceptance, love, and trust.
“There Are Things One Doesn’t Choose”
Three persons from Kyrgyzstan on the profound impact of queerness and disability on their life and worldview, and the things that help to carry on.
“I Was Told I Had Disgraced Kazakhstan”
Cases of police harassment, extortion, and surveillance of members of the queer community in Kazakhstan.
I Am Queer, but Am I Safe?
Four interviews on the relationship between LGBTQ+ communities and public spaces in Chișinău bring to the fore the need for a safe and inclusive public landscape for all.
“If Your Protesting Hand Gets Tired, I’ll Be There To Take It”
Ali Malikov tells their story of self-discovery, fighting for their rights and queer activism in Azerbaijan.
Trans Solidarity Against Bigoted Institutions
Azad on his experience of transitioning in Turkey and Azerbaijan, lack of access to HRT, and potential allies of trans people.
“I Gave Up a Lot To Be Who I Am”
A personal story on internalized homophobia, self-acceptance, and the LGBTQ+ community in Kazakhstan.
A Story of One Migration
A story told between cities and refugee camps, between identities, vulnerability, and privileges.
“If We Call the Police, They Laugh at Us”
Queer people from Kyrgyzstan talk about their lives and the problems they face, personally and as a group.
In Armenia, Trans Community Faces Fear, Neglect
Transgender people in Armenia face discrimination both in hospitals and by psychological services and therapists. Trans activists fight the stigma every day.
No Trauma, No Drama. Rewriting Media LGBTQI+ Narratives
Nora Petrossian and Mischa Badasyan advocate for a more nuanced portrayal of queer individuals in media.
What if homophobia in Central Asia is a product of colonialism?
A look at Soviet prison culture, colonial experience and Orientalism as roots of homophobia in Kazakhstan.
Russian Propaganda’s Influence on Soviet and Post-Soviet Homophobic Narratives in South Caucasus
Examining the roots of anti-LGBTQI agenda propagated by present-day Russia, and how it spreads in the South Caucasus countries.
Russian Colonialism and Homophobia in Moldova
An attempt to see if homophobia in Moldova is linked to Russian colonialism and cultural policy since the annexation of Bessarabia in 1812.
Migration Is the Path to Freedom. A Photo Report about Sumaya
Sumaya fled Kyrgyzstan for Moscow, forced to hide from her family who didn’t accept her trans identity. This photo report tells about her life and dreams.
Russia’s Homophobic Law Inspires Azerbaijani Political Elites
Among political actors in Azerbaijan, the anti-queer sentiments are on the rise. How much of a role does the legacy of Russian colonialism play in this?
“I Put a Lid On My Sexual Orientation, I Buried It”: Life of LGBTQ+ People in the Temporarily Occupied Territories of Ukraine
After the start of Russia’s all-out war against Ukraine, Serhii’s identity became a deadly threat. Anna Vorobyova tells his story of evacuation from Mariupol.
Non-traditional Values: Did Uzbekistan Inherit Homophobia and Family Concepts from Soviet Union?
A review of changes in the LGBTIQ+ rights legislation over the last century and the roots of the homophobic paradigm the society lives in.
Gay Pride Parade, “Dazhynki” or White March: which holiday suits “Belarusians of the future”?
An observation of the words, signs and meanings that fill the media space at the conventional hash-tag #belarusian.
Beyond Blurred Existence
Meet the queer people disrupting the patterns of post-Soviet coloniality and imperialism and reconnecting with multicultural and inclusive roots of Georgia.
Kazakhstan’s and Russia’s LGBTIQ+ Legislation: Why It Matters
An analysis of the Kazakh and Russian realities and laws in regards to discrimination and lack of protection of queer people.