Elizaveta Ruzanova is a twenty-five year old lesbian artist and writer from Russia, a country condemned around the world for its anti-LGBTI laws. Her novels are published under a pen name on a Russian website with a large LGBTI readership and she dreams of one day seeing her work in print. Elizaveta met her girlfriend online when she was nineteen and they have been together ever since.
Our family portrait by Elizaveta Ruzanova
WHEN DID YOU FIRST START WRITING AND DRAWING?
For me, drawing/painting and writing have always been closely related to one another. I started to draw at 5 years old and wrote my first stories at 7. And more than anything else I liked to illustrate my own works, to draw my own characters. These days I can’t even imagine writing without drawing, and vice versa. It’s an inalienable part of me, the way to express my ideas, feelings and my inner world.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR NOVELS?
Mostly they are about mystical events as my inspiration is all gothic, mysterious, unexplainable things. But above all these I like to write about human relationships, so in any of my books there is always a love story. Most often it is love between two girls. Sometimes I write about heterosexual couples too, but it’s by far not as interesting for me.
Girl in a coat by Elizaveta Ruzanova
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT DRAWING?
Above all I love to draw people, and not only the ones I’ve imagined but also existing ones. To me, people are like an inexhaustible source of inspiration.
ARE YOU ‘OUT’ IN RUSSIA?
Only family and close friends know about my relationship. My mum accepted it quite easily, she supports me. My friends also approve it, and they like my girlfriend. We often spend time all together. I have to hide my relationship from some of my relatives who are religious and can forbid me seeing my nieces because of my orientation. And in general I try to avoid talking about my relationship with people I hardly know.
Our little man by Elizaveta Ruzanova
DO YOU BELIEVE SAME SEX RELATIONSHIPS WILL EVER BE ACCEPTED IN RUSSIA?
This time it’s difficult for me to imagine such a day. Perhaps in about 50 years or so it will come. The society of Russia is unprepared for it yet. Authorities and the church do everything possible to ennoble “traditional values” and to abase LGBT people in all the ways. Unfortunately, most citizens see gay people like a perversion, a threat to family and children. Only a few can think of the idea that gay people can also have families and raise kids. People are convinced that if a gay couple is raising children they will undoubtedly grow up gay, and that will lead to the degeneration of a nation. Legalization of same sex marriages in Russia is my unreachable dream. I would really like to be legally married to my partner. It’s impossible here but despite this we still wear identical rings on our third fingers so at least for each other we are married.
Follow Elizaveta on Instagram or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org