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"QueerFest" in St. Petersburg (15-25 September): «seeing the invisible» and a few steps to inclusion


The international human rights festival QueerFest will open in St. Petersburg on September 15th. Over the following ten days, QueerFest will feature 15 different events across our city, ranging from exhibitions, to discussions, workshops, and bus tours.

The theme selected for the festival this year is «Seeing the invisible». Anna Anisimova, the festival’s coordinator, explained:

«We want to give festival guests the opportunity to see the invisible, to know more, for example, about LGBT-people living with HIV, about LGBT-people with disabilities or LGBT-neuronetics, about the problems of lesbophobia and transphobia in the feminist movement and sexism in the LGBT-movement, about LGBT-families, stigmatization of certain groups and hierarchies within the LGBT-community, about transgender and intersex people, including people with non-binary identities, those who goes beyond "normal" society and are considered outcasts, and about the exclusion of these people from the community, and how this can be addressed».

One of the central events of the festival is aphoto exhibition. This year, «QueerFest» will introduce viewers to the project «The Kids», by American photographer Gabriela Herman. For four years, Herman worked with children of LGBT-community members. Using the genres of autobiography and traditional family photo album, «The Kids» is a response against the forces pushing to silence the spread of information about parenting in an LGBT home. Stories shared by Herman in the form of photos, texts and audio recordings are part of a complex conversation about politics, family relationships, and social frameworks of ideas and values that make one group of people invisible to others.

«A little more inclusive» – this can be said about «QueerFest» 2016. The festival will provide spectators with a wide variety of topics and formats of festival events, and additionally, will represent diverse geographies, featuring participants from different cities within Russia (Saint-Petersburg, Moscow, Vladivostok, Novosibirsk), post-Soviet countries (Kazakhstan, Belarus, Ukraine) and guests from further abroad, including the UK, Iceland and USA. The festival will also provide translation support for deaf attendees and will be wheelchair-accessible.

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