When Russian President Vladimir Putin banned gay “propaganda” , Russia’s LGBT community went from being a stigmatized fringe group to full-blown enemies of the state. Homophobia becoming legislation means it’s now not only accepted in Russia but actively encouraged, which has led to a depressing rise in homophobic attacks and murders. The main aim of the law, which essentially bans any public display of homosexuality, is to prevent minors from getting the impression that being gay is normal. Which means that, if you’re young and gay in Putin’s Russia, you’re ostracized and cut off from any kind of legal support network. In part 1 we get a ride with Artem, a young driver for Moscow’s gay taxi service “Our Taxi”, meet Nikita, a 17-year-old activist who has been labeled a “propagandist” because of his LGBT rights YouTube channel, and Yulia, a young lesbian who started LGBT self defense classes after her favorite gay bar in Moscow was attacked by about 20 armed men.

Watch the video series here