The primary research for this book ended in 1994. I have tried to update
the book where I can, but I have not been back to Russia since that time.
On my last night in Moscow, I went out to a queer disco with some friends.
Suddenly I found myself sobbing. I realized that I was never coming back,
not really, not to live there. My partner and I were going to have children,
and we both knew we wouldn't be raising our family anywhere but New
York. My friends laughed at me. "Don't be ridiculous, you'll be back over
the summer," cried Ksiusha. After all, I had always come over the summer,
for years and years and years. But I didn't come back that summer. I was
too pregnant. The next summer I had a baby. The following summer we
were already trying to get pregnant again. This summer, another baby is
here. Sure, we keep in touch with phone calls and E-mails. Our family and
friends make it to New York occasionally, and soon we'll get to Moscow for
a visit. But as my thirties caught up with me, it became more and more dif-
ficult to keep a foot in both places. I felt roots growing under me, keeping
me here, making me miss there less and less.
Maybe, when the children are older, the roots will loosen, and I'll once
again find myself as much a resident of Moscow as of New York. Maybe
then I'll write another book on queer in Russia. Until then, it will have to
stand as a story about sex, self, and the other that is as rooted in a par-
ticular time and place as any other story. This book describes a moment,
a dazzling, spectacular moment in Russia when queerness began to speak
about itself after decades of being whispered about by others. That mo-
ment remains as overburdened with significance as it ever was. From it
we can learn much about notions of self and stability, sex and gender and
nation. But like all moments, it has ended. Someone recently informed me
that "gay and lesbian" are becoming stable identities in Russia. It may be
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