So yesterday I was hanging out in a cafe, and I looked across the room and saw a very manly-looking person with earrings, a cowl-neck sweater, and long painted fingernails, cuddled up next to a man, having what looked to be a pretty serious conversation. I do believe I saw my first Russian transvestite.

It was heartwarming, because the atmosphere is pretty homophobic here. I mean, surely a certain amount of gender-bending goes on behind closed doors, but in public? Never. The cafe in question is close to the main university campus, and therefore more likely to be populated with enlightened folks I suppose, but nonetheless, I was pleasantly shocked.

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