Saint Petersburg

Psychiatrist tells about gays, coming out and the Criminal Code

Today Ksenia Negretova is in a relationship with a woman. But during the Soviet times, there were rather many people among her patients who confessed to homosexual orientation. Get a diagnosis was the opportunity for them to avoid a prison. In fact, doctors saved them from sentence and prison time.
Natalia, Ksenia's marriage partner, survived a prison and a resumed her daily functioning. Our heroine is a psychiatrist; her professional experience is over 30 years.

Childhood Dream: to see a gay

I remember how it all began. When I was 12 years old, I dragged off the book «Sex crimes» from my mother (she was a doctor) and read it. I decided to ask my father — he was a political prisoner and sat from 1946 to 1956 under the article 58 («counter-revolutionary activities» — ed.). My father said that it was the most despised group of people. He added: «If a hen shouts as a rooster, they cut off its head». Since then I have had a small dream — to see a homosexual. He said: «When the «legitimate» slaughtered «bitches» in the zone, and if the «bitch» declared himself a «fagot», then he was untouched».

By the way, my father, Pavel Negretov, wrote the memoirs «All roads lead to Vorkuta». There is a story there: «To our credit there were almost no cases of homosexual contacts among the political, only once it happened. So all the convicts felt sorry for the one who was used and demanded to remove the one who used that boy».
Just sleep with a woman. Three rubles for the consultation
In 1976 Ksenia began listening lectures of the famous psychologist, researcher Igor Kon. Since 1982 she had worked as a psychiatrist at the hospital named Kashchenko.

I understood everything. It remained only to find a gay and help him. He reached out to me, asked to treat him. In my work I faced with convicted under the article 121 homosexuals. I cannot name their real names, because no one gave me the permission to an «outing».

Even the paramedic (he wasn't homophobic — just vice versa) told me a lot of important things). Once he said: «The patient of yours came into. Get him under your surveillance. I recognize them at once — the eyes are guilty».

When a patient asked co cure him from homosexuality, one doctor advised: «You just need to sleep with a woman. Three rubles for a consultation».

Actually, there was an option to avoid punishment for «sodomy» in Soviet times. Ksenia tells: «Go to a psycho-neurological dispensary, make coming out, get a diagnosis, then you are being treated and... there is no article. They get a disability which makes it possible not to work. They can speculate, for example, and live quite well. Psychiatrists usually diagnosed them the other illnesses such as organic damage of the brain or schizophrenia and gay men did not bear any responsibility. I treated them not as patients, but as people who were in trouble and needed any help. And all the psychiatrists I know related to the homosexuals loyally. I think medicine was humane after all. One patient even tried to blackmail me for encouraging homosexual relations. It was very unpleasant.

Even now I met lesbians who said that in Soviet times they were treated with shock therapy. First, the therapy is called electroconvulsive therapy. Secondly, they were not treated as lesbians, but as mentally ill. Thirdly, that method was used not very often, because it is very complex one.
Ksenia and her marriage partner Natalia

Homophobia is latent homosexuality

In the mid-90s, the classification was removed (ed.: — homosexuality as a disease) after the corresponding article disappeared from the Criminal Code. Nowadays the relationship is not even discussed. It's like eyes color.

As an experienced psychiatrist I can say: homophobia is latent homosexuality. This is a very important point, I insist that homophobia is not peculiar to the Russians.
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