Mariya Levitanus1; Polina Kislitsyna2; 1 The University of Edinburgh, UK; 2 Personal capacity, Russian Federation
Western queer politics aspires to increase the visibility of queer subjects that has been highly regulated in Kazakhstan and Russia. This article examines the narratives on activism of queer people living in both countries. Drawing on two interview studies conducted in 2017 and 2018, the findings reveal an ambivalent meaning of visibility for queer people there. For many, “visible” activism is perceived as vulnerable and risky, therefore alternative methods of activism are preferred and deemed more useful. The article contributes to debates of (in)visibility as a nationalised construct, critiquing the notion of progressivist narratives in the light of current events in Kazakhstan and Russia.