When Russian legislators passed anti-gay "propaganda" legislation last summer, they effectively institutionalized homophobia and transphobia throughout the nation.
In the months since, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals have become targets of violence, with self-proclaimed "vigilantes" subjecting Russian queers to public acts of brutality and private acts of torture.
In anticipation of the upcoming 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics -- which have many queer activists and allies expressing concern about the treatment of queer athletes and visitors, as well as Russian citizens, during the games -- Vice has released the first in a five-part series that seeks to document the lives and experiences of young gay people living in Russia.
Called "Young And Gay In Putin's Russia," this first installment in in the series interviews a driver in a taxi service that specifically caters to the safety of LGBT Russians and a young woman who started a self-defense class for the queer community.
"...If you’re young and gay in Putin’s Russia, you’re ostracized and cut off from any kind of legal support network," Vice stated. "We traveled to Russia ahead of February's Sochi Winter Olympics to investigate the effects of the country's state-sanctioned homophobia."
Check out the first video in this five-part series above.