A former friend of mine – gay of course, and of course he kept it secret from all his family, as is common practice in Russia – said to me: ‘What on Earth made you come out? How stupid! Nobody was planning to shop you. The morning paper wasn’t running an investigation.’ I didn’t know what to answer. I couldn’t even explain it clearly to myself – what made me stand up and tell everyone, on a TV show, in a country where they kill gay people for being what they are: ‘Here I am. I too am gay.’ Do you think I wasn’t afraid? That I didn’t feel ashamed? That I didn’t regret ruining my career?
“I’m afraid even now. I’m afraid of going into an empty entrance to a block of flats. I’m afraid of walking down a side street at night. I am afraid. And a little sorry that I probably won’t be allowed to continue working. They won’t let me go back to television. I’m afraid and sorry. But I’ve got nothing to be ashamed of now…The time has now come for me to be courageous. Our time has come.”