Dima's story

When your person is next to you, it doesn't matter if someone would think something bad

A gay from the North Caucasus – about acceptance in the family, misconception about his gender, and how he refused to take refuge abroad for love

My name is Dmitry Kupaev, I am from Russia, and I am a gay. When I was seven, my family moved from the Nizhny Novgorod Region to the city of Budyonnovsk, the Stavropol Territory. This is in Russia, in the North Caucasus. There my father got an apartment as a former military man. It was around that time that I began to realize that I was gay. I remember watching the Morning Star program with music videos or concerts, and I understood: I like young guys and men I saw on the screen. I took it for granted and did not even think that any problems could arise in the future because of this.

How to call what I felt I did not understand. My parents said that there were some "blue". But I did not know exactly what it meant, what it was related to. Mom spoke about them badly. But only if the man on the screen was mannered, grimaced. "There are far too many gays," she said. "Whole America, the West ..."

Once we watched a talk show about two men who said that they loved each other and wanted to raise a child together. And then my mom said unexpectedly: "If the God sent love in the body of a man of the same sex, then why should it be condemned?"
Gay (homosexual)
A homosexual man who is experiencing sexual, erotic, romantic or/and emotional attraction to the members of his sex or/and gender
ELIXIR OF LOVE
As a child I played dolls that were left from my mom
But I also had pistols and soldiers. I remember two plastic soldiers: one blue, the other green. When I played with them they didn't fight. I brought them to each other, and they kissed. It seemed to me natural.

I liked playing alone. Other children annoyed me: they shouted, screamed ... And they did not accept me. I was very emotional, constantly crying. Because of this I was only teased: "Oh, howler went", "Crybaby!". Something told me not to tell about my sympathies for the boys. Will they understand? Will they believe? Even mom ... It's one thing to talk about those whom she sees on TV, and quite another thing is when you have this in your family.

When I became a teenager, she started talking to me about girls: how to communicate with them, how to court them. I could not listen to this and wanted the truth to be revealed. I just did not know how to properly confess to my mother. My father had already left us then.

It seemed to me that the girls are liked by other boys just because of cosmetics. In general, I considered it an elixir of love. I thought: to be loved you need to use it. So I decided to do like this. First I decided to prepare my mom and my granny for this. I bought blue nail polish and painted either one nail or the nails on one hand - I don't remember. There was no particular reaction. Well, the usual whim, this will pass.

Then I continued experimenting with cosmetics.
I believed that the orientation is directly related to femininity. And if you like men, you should be a woman
Transgenderness
a condition in which the gender identity and/or gender presentation of a person does not correspond to cultural and social expectations associated with sex attributed at birth. The term is used to designate a wide range of gender identities.
Only over the time I realized that I felt not a woman, but a guy who is attracted to other guys, that is a gay. But then, as a teenager, I constantly painted my nails, used glitter for hair, lip gloss and other cosmetics. When I first came to school like this - I remember I had a bright pink nail polish - I was surrounded and was photographed with the phones. As time goes by the more bullying. They laughed at me, said that I was a motherfucker. The director explained to me that I was her "headache". The class teacher once grabbed my hand and took me to wash off cosmetics.

But I did not want to change anything in my look. I thought: someone should make this society different, with its ideas that boys should love only girls.

Once I started to like one neighbor guy, my age mate. I wrote a whole bunch of poems to him. I was wildly jealous of him as he showed affection to neighbor girls, even openly pawed them. This caused such a wild pain in me! It was also reflected in my poems. I showed them to that guy. He laughed at my feelings, called me a fag. But he did not beat me and did not threaten me. So it resulted in nothing.
SUSPENSION RECOGNITION
There were two tricksters, Chechens. Several times one of them beat me in the corridor
The teachers passed by, not paying attention. They probably thought it was just a game. Or pretended to think so. The Chechens said that I should pay them for entering the building. Every time I came and went out of the school, they took my backpack and rummaged in it. I didn't have money with me anyway, and everything ended in insults and threats.

My mom then already knew about my orientation. I do not even remember when and how exactly I told her everything, but I trusted my mother very much, I considered her to be my friend, so somehow, it happened. The mom hoped that my craving for young guys and experiments with appearance was a temporary hobby. I remember how often I argued with my granny: she criticized my long hair. I never talked about personal feelings with my father, he was scarce with emotions.
During the past two years I have not attended classes at school. After classes the teachers checked my homework and gave new ones. To have the basis for individual learning I was sent for the certificate to a psycho-neuropsychiatric hospital.

By that time, in order not to tolerate homophobia I already wanted to change a sex. And I told about this in the hospital. The Head of the Hospital stated that this was madness, that I was ill, and she directed me to Borderline Psychotic Clinic at Stavropol State Medical University. There I was received by a professor who talked to me like to a psycho: "Don't you hear the voices? Or maybe someone inspires this to you?" (He meant gender reassignment surgery and women's clothing, makeup). It was humiliating. Nearby were students who were taking notes.
Homophobia
irrational fear of homosexual thoughts, feelings, behavior and people, hostility towards homosexual people. Lesbian-, trans-, and biphobia are defined in the same way
To change sex
in the LGBT community this expression is considered impolite. Instead "to make a transgender transition" is used
Both in the hospital and in the clinic I asked to be given an opportunity to pass orientation tests. I thought by this I will prove to my mom that I'm really a gay
But no one provided such tests, and the professor gave only a test to assess the overall mental state.

After school I entered the part-time department of the Moscow institute. On the pretext of celebrating my admission, I decided to gather at the table a company of girlfriends who then still remained and neighbor guys among whom was the one who I liked. Then I decided to meet almost every day, I needed a company and communicationю. The man I loved, finally. We met in my father's apartment when he was not at home (I, my mom and my granny have already moved to a private house). Both friends and girlfriends came, as well as casual acquaintances and even haters which became more and more.

Once my father caught me with a company of guys. After they left he stated evil that my ass would crack. I realized that he knew about my orientation. But sometimes he spoke about it neutral. Once I heard his telephone conversation with a relative: "Again a guy came and knocked on the door when I came home from work. Apparently, the son is sleeping with him." Another time, on New Year's Day, a company gathered and my father was also at home. One young man I liked got drunk and fell asleep. I told my father that I would pester him, and I heard only: "But he's drunk!"
CONSERVATIVE MENTALITY
In 2010, the day before the New Year's Day unknown persons knocked on the window of the house
I did not let them in. They began breaking the windows. I was alone then and immediately began calling my mom. When she arrived everyone had already run away. The police told us that I myself was to blame — I dressed and behaved provocatively. One of the attackers, however, was arrested for 15 days for disorderly conduct.

One month later other people came to the house, the friends of acquaintances, and also began to knock. In order they would not break the windows I let them in. They drank vodka, insulted me, offered sex on camera. After I refused once again one of them began to beat me with a mallet into the chest, the other hit with his fist into the eye. I ran away from home. The police again said that this was my fault. No one was apprehended.
It happened that the police themselves stopped me on the street, searched and humiliated me. They asked: "What kind of pants are you wearing?", "What will be your second name - Mashka or Dashka?" Not to mention ordinary passersbys. They squinted at me saying: "What "it" is going?", "Oh, the faggot is going."
In the end the police came to my mother's office and said that if we did not leave the city, they would "find me in a ditch with my throat cut"
We sold the house, my mom and granny went to Podmoskovye . I moved to St. Petersburg where my girlfriends lived. I tried to live in Moscow, but neither there nor in St. Petersburg I could find a job because of my appearance. I kept returning to Budyonnovsk. There I grew up, there was my first love. The memories dragged me. Still in Budyonnovsk - a literary association which I attended since I was eight years. It was the only outlet and the only safe place to me. I had only few girlfriends. Two girlfriends who were not homophobic moved to St. Petersburg.

This continued till 2017. I already realized that I was gay, not a woman, and changed my image. I had more or less short hair and thought that the horror would stop. But a few weeks after one more return to Buddyonovsk I realized that changing the image does not save. Maybe because the city is small and people remembered me. I was sitting in the park in the downtown reading a newspaper. A crowd of Caucasians passed by. One stopped peering into my face: "Are you a fag or something?" I said: "Why are you calling names?"
He went towards me, I jumped off the bench and went out of there quickly. They shouted after me: "The fucking cock, never come back here again!"
Of course, I did not find a job. In the hardware store I was told from the doorway that they had no vacancies, although an announcement about seller positions was hanging on the door. I was after all given an applicant questionnaire, but before I could leave I heard a whisper behind my back: "He looks like a fag".

At the grocery store the directress asked why I did not serve in the army, why I was not married, why I did not even have a civil marriage with a woman: "So, the problems with orientation?". I replied that this was not her business. Of course, I was not called back.

I turned to the Center for Psychological Aid in our city, but they said: "What did you want? This is Russia. Moreover, the Caucasus. Here is a conservative mentality."
HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS
In 2017 I went to Finland in the hope of obtaining political asylum there as LGBT representative
I decided to get out of this hell once and for all. But less than a year I also left from there. I had to live in a terrible refugee camp. The wild cries of the Arabs who were far from tolerant, the noise every night is such that it is impossible to sleep. The room is designed for three people, no less.I did not wait for the decision on asylum and returned to Russia.
LGBT (LGBT+, LGBTIQ, LGBTIQ, LGBTQIA)
The abbreviation "LGBT" stands for "lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender". The term "LGBT +" is now considered more correct, because it includes by default all possible orientations and identities that cannot be covered by one abbreviation. Also there are abbreviations LGBTI, LGBTIQ, LGBTQIA, where I is intersex people, Q is queer, A is asexuals.
Earlier I also placed advertisements in social networks that I would get acquainted to create a family, for serious relationships. Often I received homophobic comments. Young people began to correspond with me, and then they threatened: they said that if I did not transfer money to them, they would send my messages to friends and parents. "So, am I sending or are we making a deal?" – they asked. Apparently, they did not know that I was open. In the best case, those who wanted only sex wrote to me. They painted in details in which positions they would like to have it with me. I immediately blocked them. I wanted to have normal relationships. I wanted to be loved, not used.

After some time I tried to obtain asylum again, in Holland. I flew to Amsterdam from Moscow and there I met a young man with whom I got acquainted in the Internet before and with whom I corresponded. That young man put a "like" in my post in the group for same-sex families, and then wrote a message with a compliment. We corresponded, chatted in Skype. I felt a soul mate in him. He, like me, wants a family, children.
Before meeting him all my life people walked all over me, I was bullied, I was used. But not loved
He even suggested not flying to Holland, but the tickets were already bought. I hoped that later I would be able to take him there too, but he kept saying: better look for another, do not say later that you returned to Russia because of me and that I broke my future.

In November 2018 I did return to Russia. He would never move to me, and I would be there like behind a curtain. And I wanted to get closer to him. In addition, in Holland I faced the same problems like in Finland. Besides, I decided not to live in a foreign country. I didn't want to be a "national minority". It is loneliness, language barrier and a huge stress.
Now I live with my mother in Podmoskovye. He also lives in Podmoskovye, though in the other end of the region. Serious relationships are just emerging. Recently I got acquainted with his mother and sister, actually over the phone. Our mothers call each other. Often on weekends we live at my house: we watch movies, prepare snackies. Almost like family. In public places we can behave quite boldly, fooling around, sending each other air kisses. We had no problems because of this. When your person is next to you, this is as if you are flying - it doesn't matter if someone would think something bad or not.

Recently I was not asked if I was gay. What will I answer if someone asks, I do not know. On the one hand, I do not want to be what I am not. On the other hand, I do not want any troubles. It is hard to bear bullying and to be forced to accept other people's values, and you find yourself in a kind of "depressed" state.

Now my mom fully understands me. My father - we sometimes communicate via Skype - even though he knows everything, but he tries to close his eyes to this. At every opportunity he asks: "Do you have a fiancée?" It seems to be a joke, but still unpleasant. It seems like he forgot whom I love.
Text: Mikhail Danilovich. Photo: Dmitry Andreev. Illustration: Natalia Makarikhina. Editing: Anastasiia SechinaTranslation into English: Irina Galina.
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