Russian clothing label and activist community Kultrab has launched a new Valentine’s Day project to celebrate and raise awareness for queer identity and beauty.
In three separate photoshoots, photographer Emmie America portrays the delicate balance between strength and vulnerability that her LGBTQ subjects – travesty artist Dmitry Lobach, HIV activist Maia Demidova and model, geologist, and photo editor Lusya Chezhova – constantly battle with in Russia’s current hostile environment. Their inspiring journeys are told via candid, in-depth interviews on Kultrab’s dedicated bilingual website.
“The subject of self-love is very difficult even for cis, straight people. It’s constantly featured in music and film. Imagine how much harder it is for a queer person to overcome these externally-imposed fears and love themselves when the law discriminates against them,” Kultrab founders Egor Eremeev and Alina Muzychenko told The Calvert Journal.
“We asked our subjects to share their feelings, and talk about how they find the strength in a society that forbids them to be themselves. It’s very important for both cis and queer people to see this project. Hopefully, this will help others to accept themselves and understand that they are not the problem – it’s the law that’s not ok.”