“We even thought to forget the idea to be together because it seems crazy in the current climate. But why should our love be sacrificed for Mr Putin or Mr Poroshenko?!”
My name is Mykhailo, but my English-speaking friends always call me Mike. I’m an Ukrainian journalist living in Kyiv. Not long ago I came out. My partner’s name is Roman. The handsome and masculine Russian guy living in Moscow is just ‘a kitten’ for me. That’s the way I call my boyfriend. We want to tell you a story of our love full of romance, passion, Swedish cookies and pain. Why Swedish cookies? ‘Cause we met each other in Sweden. For every following meeting Roman had been bringing Swedish cookies for me and himself. I can’t forget their smell until today. Why pain? ‘Cause not long ago we told the world: ‘Yes! We are together despite of the age gap and living in two warring countries full of homophobia!’
I’ve been attracted to guys since childhood. Pretty men and good-looking boys made me feel pleasure. Not a sexual satisfaction as you could think – just an esthetical fascination. Being a little boy aged of five I couldn’t decipher this feeling. It was just something I wasn’t able to explain. It was comparable to butterflies in my stomach.
Being raised in a religious orthodox Ukrainian family, homosexuals were always ‘enemies’ for us. Mom, who I love very much even now, was telling me stories from the church where priests had spread any ideas of hatred for homo: ‘Fagots will burn in the hell’. My father is a typical post-soviet person. He is an ex-soldier, who believes in the ‘great’ governmental machine and likes joking about women. Not long ago he told he could kill the son if he were gay. Of course, it was told me as a joke but every joke has some truth to it. Therefore, he doesn’t know about my sexual orientation.
I have always been subjected to pressure: ‘You have to meet your girl’, ‘you have to make children’, ‘you have to be interested in females’, etc. I was afraid to fall in love at all. I even tried to knock this ‘homo dope’ out of my head and forced myself to meet girls started dating with them. But it didn’t help. After several ‘healing’ meetings I have accepted myself: ‘Yes, I am gay. And I will live with this thing even if my life is in danger!’
For a long time I’ve been working for the Ukrainian TV. Everyday I’ve been making any reports about politics and a cultural life in my country. Once I got a task from my editor-in-chief to head to Stockholm to light up the Eurovision Song Contest. Fortunately, my first business trip was in Sweden known as one of the best gay-friendly European country. After my plane had landed in the Skavsta airport I went out from a terminal breathed in the fresh smell of freedom.
In two days I installed the Grindr app because not long ago while watching Late Late Show I had noticed this program as the simplest way to hookup with someone or get friendship. The first guy I saw in the app was Roman with a Russian flag next to his nickname. I thought it would be cool idea to get some quick meeting with a guy from Moscow. But when I saw him I was thought: ‘Wow, I’d rather more than just only sex with this guy.’ We’ve spent the greatest seven days together with a lot of kisses, hugs and tasty Swedish cookies which we were presented each other everyday on the Gulmashplan metro station.
Every story has an ending. With tears and sadness in my soul, I didn’t want to say “goodbye”. Fortunately, Roman came to visit me within two weeks.
Ukrainian and Russian laws don’t recognise us as any relatives for each other. In case of illness of my partner, I won’t be next to him or be able to make any decisions on the treatment. Additionally, I’d like to say that Russia and Ukraine are involved in the military conflict with a huge propaganda. Two people hate each other just because of the political fight. So being with each other has become too hard at a distance between two warring countries. We even thought to forget the idea to be together because it seems crazy in the current climate. But why should our love be sacrificed for Mr Putin or Mr Poroshenko?! It will never happen! Then we live together in Moscow! Maybe it’s not the best place for gays to live but we’ll try to do it.