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5 Podcasts on Queer Life in Russia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Poland and Albania

Pushkin House, New Eastern Europe, Remy Bony and ILGA are just a few organizations/people who are offering quality podcasts that educate their listeners on the life, politics, history and culture in the New East.

As LGBT+ issues are at the forefront of political discourse in Central/Eastern Europe and Russia following recent elections, there have been a number of Queer themed productions.

Below is a list of some of the most recent podcasts

5. Pushkin House - Hope and Community for LGBT+ Russians Hope and Community for LGBT+ Russians

Located in London, Pushkin house is an independent arts charity with a focus on Russian Language and Culture. The podcast speaks to two young Queer Russian's about their experiences coming out to friends, family and society.

Listen to the podcast here

4. Remy Bonny - Rainbow Doesn't Offend

Remy Bonny is a leading LGBT+ activist based in Belgium. His twitter is a must follow account for the latest news in Central and Eastern Europe.

Pride is a podcast series that touches upon the most pressing topics within the community. Series 2, the episode 'Rainbow Doesn't Offend' centers around Poland's recent court case in which activists put a rainbow Halo around the Black Madonna.

Rémy Bonny talks with Anna Prus, Joanna Gzyra-Iskandar and Elżbieta Podlesna on the day their trial starts.

Listen on Spotify or Apple

3. ILGA - The Frontline 2: Bulgaria and the Spread of European Anti LGBT+ Populism

The Frontline is a very informative podcast from ILGA (the International Lesbian Gay Bisexual Trans and Intersex organization). The ILGA brings together over a thousand of LGBT+ NGO's and charities in Europe and it is the primary force in LGBT+ activism- recognised by the United Nations for NGO Ecosoc status.

This podcast has a focus on Bulgaria:

"In March 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic went global, we worried that equality would slip off EU agendas as lockdowns and an unprecedented economic crisis took hold. In this episode of The Frontline, we look back at the extraordinary year that was 2020, and the engagement of the EU in LGBTI equality issues, exacerbated during the coronavirus crisis. Our Executive and Advocacy Directors, Evelyne Paradis and Katrin Hugendubel look back on what surprisingly turned out to be a successful year for EU engagement. Activists from ILGA-Europe member organisations in Slovenia and Hungary talk about the rise of ultra-right populism in both EU countries, Hungary’s slew of anti- LGBTI laws as the virus raged on, and their respective responses to EU institutional engagement and how it can go forward. Members of the EU Parliament’s LGBT Intergroup, MEP’s Terry Reintke (Greens/EFA, Germany) and Maria Walsh (EPP, Ireland) give an inside view on the year gone by, and reflect on a challenging first year for the new Intergroup. It all adds up to a comprehensive look at the EU and its engagement in equality, in a Europe where LGBTI rights have become a sharp dividing line."

2. Openly - Hungary Anti Trans Law Sparks Panic

Openly is dedicated to providing impartial LGBT+ news. They have an international scope, focussing on TV, music, arts, politics, and now podcasts.

A portion of this podcast is centered around Hungary and Albania:

"On this week's Openly podcast, Hugo Greenhalgh looks at how a new law in Hungary that will ban trans people from changing their ID documents has sparked widespread concern; how Albania is taking a step forward towards banning gay conversion therapy"

Explore Openly

1. JOY FM - Russia: LGBTI Defiance Over Silence

A surprising addition to the list, this relatively unknown organization happens to be the only LGBT+ radio station in Australia. The website is a good source of information for LGBT+ causes around the world.

Occasionally JOY FM focuses on issues in the New East, and here is an episode criticising Russia and its response to the LGBT+ community in the middle of a pandemic.

"One thing that Covid-19 has not stopped is a referendum in Russia to change the constitution. Russians have been going to the polls to remove term limits, allowing current President Vladimir Putin to remain in power until 2036, if he so chooses. Given the anti-LGBTI laws that have been implemented under his current rule, some fear success would means heightened attacks on Russia’s queer community.

Ira Roldugina is a PhD student and author from Moscow who specialises in the history of homosexuality in Russia. The once very liberal queerness of Russia is under threat and Ira is not afraid to speak out against the ruling regime."

Listen to the podcast here

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