Gay guide to dating

The outcry in the West over the new law puts gay expats in a unique position, being forced to experience firsthand the sometimes harsh treatment of gays in Russia while their families fret about them back home and remind them that they can always return to a friendlier environment.Coming from countries where members of the LGBT community are gradually gaining more rights and social acceptance, Western expats living in Russia can feel particularly uncomfortable by comparison.Sitting beside John, his friend Joseph, 32, an American who does market research in Russia, said people were sometimes shocked to find out he was gay.

Tom said he thought that to some extent, Russians in fact just do not care about gay issues.

"It was not something I had bothered hiding in Britain, where I can discuss boyfriends and related issues in the office," Tom said by email.

Tom said it was difficult to tell Russian friends about being gay and that he had to be very cautious about whom to tell, but that most people surprised him with their tolerance.

But most said Russian friends and acquaintances have embraced them, and none of the five expats interviewed by The Moscow Times had experienced violence themselves. "I find it funny when people say it's not safe to be a gay person in Russia," said John, who has lived in Russia for four years.

"It's perfectly safe, because no one would ever assume you could be gay.

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