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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

12/15/1996

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Emigre Gay Activist Revels in Notoriety

NEW YORK -- In case after case, gay men and lesbians seeking political asylum in the United States describe secret lives stained by fear and shame, spent deep in the closet in their native lands. Not Yaroslav Mogutin. Perhaps the most prominent of the more than 40 people granted asylum because of their sexual orientation, Mogutin is a Russian journalist, gay rights advocate, performance artist and all-around troublemaker who sees himself as a modern-day Oscar Wilde. Brash and self-assured, Mogutin burst onto the world stage April 12, 1994, when he and his American partner, Robert Filippini, applied for a marriage license at one of Moscow's official wedding palaces. They were, as expected, turned down, but the highly publicized event landed their picture in newspapers and television broadcasts around the world. At the time, Mogutin was only 19 and already a successful freelance journalist whose articles pulled back a curtain on the hitherto secret lives of Soviet and Russian gays.

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