Chicago rallies around Russian violinist who recently came out as gay

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicago's LGBTQ is rallying around a Russian violinist who fears he may never return home after coming out online a few months ago.

Saturday night, 160 people filled the Center on Halsted's auditorium on Chicago's North Side to watch Artem Kolesov play the violin in a show of support.

Kolesov, the son of two Pentecostal pastors in Russia, moved to Canada to study music seven years ago. He's been in Chicago for two and was recently married.

His mother's reaction to the news her son is gay convinced him to post a YouTube video as part of the Russian "Children 404" project which invites gay teens to tell their stories to a country that is still notoriously homophobic.

"I realized that my church is so homophobic because they don't know anyone who is openly gay. So I thought if I could be that person at least I know they will listen for a little bit to me," Kolesov said.

Instead, Kolesov now fears he may never go back home.

Saturday's concert was a fundraiser to help pay for his legal expenses as he goes through the process of becoming a U.S. citizen.

"The minute I saw it I just was moved to tears, honestly. I went home, showed my husband. We shared it with a friend and we all said, 'What can we do to help'" said Bruce Koff, an LGBTQ activist.

Kolesov and his husband will move to California next week and continue his career as a violinist.
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