Russian Gay Activist Alexey Davydov Dies at 36

Alexey Davydov, a prominent Russian gay rights activist, has died at the age of 36 after slipping into a coma brought on by kidney failure. Davydov, a diabetic, was also on dialysis.

DavydovFriends say that after an arrest in 2011 over Russians' rights to free assembly he "had his arm so severely broken that he required a month's stay in the hospital." His health problems appeared to worsen from that point on.

Writes Julia Ioffe in the New Republic:

About a month ago, I interviewed Davydov for a story on what life was like for gay Russians after Putin signed a series of strange, medieval anti-gay laws. Davydov, who spoke quickly and softly, was not interested in telling me the story of his coming out to his family and friends; he wanted to tell me what he was doing about the laws.

A month earlier, in July, he and a handful of other activists had gone to a Moscow children's library and Davydov unfurled a sign that said "Being gay is normal." He was immediately arrested and became the first person charged with violating the new law: spreading "propaganda about non-traditional sexual orientations among minors."

The plan, Davydov told me, was to force the Russian courts to take up the issue and be forced to define and grapple with a vaguely worded law.

Towleroad reported on that protest, and on one in 2007 at which Davydov and two dozen other activists were protesting Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov's human rights violations against gays and lesbians. Davydov and one other activist were roughly detained.

Russian gay rights activist Nikolai Alekseev posted a message on Facebook looking for funds to cover Davydov's funeral.

Wrote Alekseev: "He made an enormous contribution to the Russian LGBT movement since 2006. He never cared about arrests and attacks. He just pursued our mutual goal! He has no relatives. He never cared about arrests and attacks. He just pursued our mutual goal! He has no relatives. He dedicated all his life to activism. He was always next to me in the worst times, including the day my flat was raided by police and prosecution just a month ago."

Among those who have donated is actress and activist Tilda Swinton.


  1. David From Canada says

    The tremendous stress he was under probably contributed to this poor man’s condition and death. What tremendous courage and dedication he had.
    This will be another nail in the coffin of Putin’s and Russia’s anti-gay laws.

  2. SV says

    Unfortunate he died from diabetes at such an early age. Sadly broken arms and insulin are not related. He died for what we take for granted.

  3. ratbastard says

    After going under anesthesia for his injuries, it’s possible he OD’ed on it, which is more common than many people realize. It can have dire side effects, especially for those with weakened immune systems and health. It’s a particular issue with the elderly. Sad tale.

  4. gomez says

    that’s sad. would not be surprised of poisoning. see Viktor Yushchenko

    of course tilda is donating. she is a goddess

  5. Joesph Foster says

    I’m not sure “died” is a strong enough word, but I understand people’s reluctance to say otherwise. The man had courage, and apparently he used it trying to better the lot of his peers, one could easily call that noble.

  6. hank says

    Yuri Luzhkov lives in London now. Funny how Britain works. They have more ex-dictators per square mile than any place in the world.

  7. Bud Clark says


    Give rest, O Christ,
    To thy servant with thy Saints,
    Where sorrow and pain are no more;
    Neither sighing, but life everlasting.

    Thou only art immortal,
    The Creator and Maker of all:
    And we are mortal, formed of the earth,
    And unto earth shall we return:
    For so thou didst ordain,
    When thou createdst us, saying:

    Dust thou art,
    And unto dust shalt thou return,
    All we go down to the dust;
    Yet, weeping o’er the grave,
    We make our song:

    Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.

    Give rest, O Christ (etc…. repeated)

  8. ACe says

    so sad – my condolences to anyone who had the privilege of knowing this brave man. Rest In Peace Alexey