18 July, 2014

It’s sort of like alcoholics anonymous, isn’t it?

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Category: Country review, European Action Day, Guest writer, Homophobia
Gubaz Koberidze
5 pm

daniel3[1]

Written by: Children 404

My name is Darina, I am sixteen years old and I am a lesbian.

It’s sort of like alcoholics anonymous, isn’t it? It’s kind of sad…. It’s also really sad for me to read the stories of my peers, who are subjected to violence from society.

I’ve been lucky in most things. ‘Lucky?’ my friend from Italy asks ‘This isn’t normal’. I agree with him.

I gradually realized my sexual orientation. I used to write love stories, but the heroines would always be regular girls. And I was only interested in them. I realized who I was when I was about 14.

Naturally, I decided to be true to myself and not to hide from anyone – apart from my parents. At that time I was living with my father. I started to get beaten up at school, which I tried to ignore. Boys would pester me with intimate questions etc. To put it simply, they humiliated me. But I found female friends and a male friend who accepted me.

Then I moved. I started attending a music academy. The other students there understood me. Maybe that’s what you should call happiness: no one bothers me and I have friends. Everything is like what it is like for regular people.

But things are pretty difficult with my family. My father found out and he started to insult me. My brother hates me. And my mum says ‘It’s not serious, it will pass’. I have to lie to her. Is this supposed to be pleasant?

I wish they would accept me. I’d love to have a family – with a child, a job, career prospects. But with a woman.

What else can I say? I’ve been lucky… That’s to say, there are people in much worse situations. Other teenagers like me. It’s very hard for them to come out – or they’ve had to bear the full brunt of the consequences. Those who realize they have been rejected and kill their dreams of a normal life because of an abnormal society.

It’s those people I’d like to say: don’t despair just yet. We can change something. We can stay true to ourselves.

 

The children 404 are the shared personal stories of Russian LGBTQ youth who have experienced having their Human Rights violated by homophobia and transphobia. The stories tell of grave matters, like forced inscription to mental institutions, to corrective rape, bullying, harassment and violence, but are also a story of strong youth sharing both downs and ups, supporting each other and making a space where they, the “404-not found” children, can get their identity confirmed and experience belonging to a community online.

The 404-children were started by the Russian Journalist Lena Klimova. After writing a critical article protesting the law which criminalise all positive mention of “non-traditional families”, like those of Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay and Trans, she was contacted by a sixteen year old girl who were thinking of suicide, but changed her mind after reading the article.

Searching for information about LGBT youth online in Russian she could find nothing but the error 404-page not found. Lena started to gather the stories and sharing them online and soon there were over 1 800 stories and a network of supporters.

This story is one of those. All credits to the website www.children404.co.uk for translation and making some of these stories available in English.


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