The antisodomy statute, Article 121,
was repealed in July 1993.
Based on field research by the author among self-identifYing "sexual minorities"
in Moscow and St. Petersburg. Note that not all who engage in nonnormative
sexual practices identifY themselves as "sexual minorities." In fact, the term is
rarely used to describe the individual. Nor does this study consider all people who
engage in nonnormative sexual practices but do not identifY on the basis of those
practices. Such persons are not (could not be) considered since they are not part
of any public meaning of sexuality.
3 I am grateful to Yaroslav Mogutin for pointing this out to me.
4 Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick speaks to the way in which queer is true when spoken in
the first person when she says, "A hypothesis worth making explicit: that there are
important senses in which 'queer' can signifY only when attached to the .first person.
One possible corollary: that what it takes-all it takes-to make the description
'queer' a true one is the impulsion to use it in the first person." Tendencies (Dur-
ham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1993), p. 9.
5 "Iron closet" is David Tuller'S clever retooling of the "Iron Curtain." Dave Tuller,
Cracks in the Iron Closet: Travels in Gay and Lesbian Russia (Boston: Faber
Faber, 1996).
6 See Chapter
"The Law."
7 Telling you about the theory behind this work is not only intellectual masturba-
tion (although it is certainly that as well). I took theory very seriously when I was
writing this book, apparently far more seriously than I knew. Imagine
my em-
barrassment when reading Tuller's work on gays and lesbians in Russia, when I
noticed a passage about a "queer studies scholar" who "exclaimed, without ap-
parent irony: 'That's so Foucault!' " While I have no memory of ever using an
exclamation point, I believe I was the scholar who had no ironic distance vis-a-vis
Foucault and other theorists. See Tuller, p. 138.
8 Central to the task at hand is the word "subject," and it is a lie. "Subject" is a
noun; it acts as though it is tangible, real. I am skeptical of a subject; I want to
shake it up,
see not the thing, but the practice of the thing. "Subject" here is
the enactment and reenactment of complex negotiations in the social world. The
epistemological foundations of this work, then, interrogate any claims to "be,"
any claims to an "I." The interrogation occurs somewhere between constructivist
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