By Trudy Ring
Originally published on Advocate.com January 10 2014 8:33 PM ET
The former manager of a Moscow gay nightclub that has been attacked multiple times recently plans to seek asylum in the United States, the Washington Blade reports.
Arkady Gyngazov was manager of Central Station, one of Russia’s largest gay clubs, where shots were fired November 16 and a noxious gas was released November 30. The owners of the building where the club leases space appear to be encouraging antigay attacks, he said, as after the November 16 incident they installed a large neon sign above the entrance reading “Gay Club Here,” Gyngazov told the Blade in a Thursday interview.
Gyngazov, 32, who arrived in the U.S. in December, said he feels unsafe in Russia, where the government’s ban on so-called gay propaganda has intensified hostility toward LGBT people. “I’m not going to go back to Russia because I feel my safety, even my life, is threatened,” he said. He also fears for his friends who remain in the nation.
He has a visa that expires in June, after which he will formally seek asylum, he said. He has found a lawyer through Immigration Equality and is also working with another LGBT rights group, Spectrum Human Rights.