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First-ever lesbian glossy appears despite anti-gay ban in Russia

The inaugural issue of a lesbian glossy hits newsstands in Russia this month, in defiance of a proposed law banning all “homosexual propaganda” and increased violence and discrimination against gays and lesbians in the country.

The magazine — Agens, which means “driving force” in Latin — features androgynous fashion spreads and coming-out stories and may serve as a vital source of community and connection for gay, lesbian and transgender communities restricted from publicly organizing.

“The LGBT community has to deal with an information blackout,” editor-in-chief Milena Chernyavskaya told Ria Novosti. “Russian gay men and lesbians don’t know each other and think that they cannot be happy, because everyone around them abuses them.”

The Agens top editor also doesn’t see the publication as a provocation, but as an opportunity to engage directly with Russian lawmakers: “We are aiming at a dialogue both with the readers and the authorities,” Chernyavskaya said. “If the deputies are unhappy with the magazine, I would like to talk to each of them face to face.”

Read the full story on Salon.com HERE.