tATu’s Yulia Volkova: Girls Kissing Are Hot, but Gay Son Would Be Gross

In a move that should be shocking to no-one (but is actually kind of shocking), Yulia Volkova of Tatu announced in an interview that she has less than progressive views about homosexuality. When asked by an interviewer how she’d feel if her son were gay, the mother of two replied, “Yes, I would condemn him, because I believe that a real man must be a real man…God created man for procreation, it is the nature. The man for me is the support, the strength of… I won’t accept a gay son.” She was quick to clarify she wouldn’t mind if her daughter was a lesbian, “This only applies to a daughter, not a son.”

The interviewer asked, “So you think that freedom can only be for women?”

Yulia replied, “I think for men it’s a bad freedom. In our time, there is a very large number of frivolous girls (and a man can be with a large number of these girls). This is freedom for men. And a man has no right to be a fag. Two girls together — not the same thing as the two men together. It seems to me that lesbians look aesthetically much nicer than two men holding their hands or kissing.”


Although the ladies of Tatu announced in 2007 that they were not actually lesbians nor romantically involved with one another, they followed that announcement with a statement supporting “love without boundaries.” In Tatu’s typically confusing fashion, Yulia followed up this information by mentioning several times in interviews that she’s actually bisexual. In 2012, Volkova told a Russian publication, “I still like boys and girls. Even my current husband Volodya, sitting in front of me, confirms that he knew about my stories with the girls. For me it is a recurring theme. Just recently I had a friend that I really liked … It’s not even the echoes of the past, this is what I live for.”

I invite you to join me in listening to this gem from happier times in Tatu’s storied past, “Malchik Gay” or, “Gay Boy.”

For a woman who built her entire career upon wearing schoolgirl uniforms and making out with her bandmate to create scandal and solicit the male gaze, for a band whose entire premise was built upon pretending to be queer, for an artist who has even campaigned for gay rights in the past, these statements are surprisingly gross. Earlier this year, Tatu performed at the Sochi Olympics, despite the fact that an outspokenly lesbian act like Tatu couldn’t even exist in Russia’s current political climate. It’s absurd to hear Yulia make the kinds of statements you’d expect to hear from some creepy dude — no, it’s totally OK when two girls do it, that’s totally hot! But no homo.

Volkova quickly realized her error and attempted to rectify it with this gem: “I want to say that I’m not against gays, I just want my son to be a real man, not a fag. I have many gay friends. I believe that being gay is all still better than murderers, thieves or drug addicts. If you choose out of all this, being gay a little better than the rest.”

Cool, thanks.

Her bandmate Lena Katina is currently striking out on her own, slated to release a solo record called “This Is Who I Am” on November 18. Her first single, “Fed Up” is pretty OK, but it’s no “All The Things She Said.”

All my dreams are dead.

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Stef Schwartz is a founding member and the self-appointed Vapid Fluff Editor at Autostraddle.com. She currently resides in New York City, where she spends her days writing songs nobody will ever hear and her nights telling much more successful musicians what to do. Follow her on twitter and/or instagram.

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  1. This was particularly bizarre for me to find out because I saw an interview of hers from a few years ago where she seems to identify as bisexual.

    Also – fun fact! The word for fag in Russian is “pederast”. Nothing like conflating pedophilia with your dose of Russian homophobia.

  2. *side eye*

    Well, that started out badly and then her attempts to ‘fix’ things just actually made it a whole lot worse. Creepy, gross and disappointing remarks all round.

  3. I believe Mushu said it best:

    “Dishonor! Dishonor on your whole family! Make a note of this: Dishonor on you, dishonor on your cow! DISHONOR!”

    It’s A LITTLE BETTER than being a murderer?!?! A LITTLE BETTER?

    Years ago you were rolling in money thanks to homosexuality. You don’t get to pull the at no homo crap now.

      • Because I get dumb when I’m angry and that’s is the sort of thing that breaks the brain of people who are applying the logic she is.

        Man = one who penetrates
        Penetrated male = not a man
        kind of logic

        And my highschool uniform is the kind of uniform in the All the Things You Said music video. I may have issues from going through a Catholic schooling and walking around in that uniform and being leered at by men old enough to be my dad or grandad.

  4. thing is i can’t go back on their songs. they’re beyond beautiful – first off trance/electro is an uncommon genre with queer women, secondly uninfected by the taint of the politico memeplex most queer culture is touched by, and thirdly and most importantly it is mildly on the tech side on the technocrat/ecoluddite scale and has a nice song for artificiality and space secession each, interwoven with emotions and romance. Outer Space is one of the 6 definitive songs i have chosen to represent me.

    What she is saying is total, pure, distilled wank though – but it’s cultural, i have seen genuine queer women celebs of Eastern/Central Europe state this – sometimes in the form of ‘love of two women is beautiful but gay men is all anal sex and yuck’. Way to go with internalisation of het male perspective. But to denounce the whole tendency (which i wholeheartedly do) technically makes me a cultural chauvinist. So be it, the Levi-Stross relativism idea is rubbish anyway :P

  5. GOOD GOD! I think this might take the cake for celebrities saying stupid shit about homosexuality, especially in relation to their children. Every time I don’t think that’s possible somebody like this idiot says “Challenge Accepted”.

  6. ….did she compare gay males to murderers and drug addicts?? Oh wait…she said it’s “a little better than the rest.” How nice.

  7. I feel so much better now that I know that I’m better, sorry, a LITTLE better, than a murderer. I’m going to say that when I come out to my mom. She’s going to be so relieved.


  8. t.A.t.u. was a hugggggeee influence on my baby-gay during the early 2000s, but I became super disappointed when I found out they weren’t really gay, and then became very conflicted about how I should feel about their influence. A lot of queers can name this band as one of their roots, but they shamelessly exploited queerness and didn’t really show much accountability for that especially in regards to more openly supporting gay rights or apologizing for donning a guise other people can’t just “take off”. I saw it as being really cruel and shitty exploitation even if I still like their first album a lot. A lot of people wanted to be way more generous and even pointed out “But hey, Yulia is bisexual!” but something about it still didn’t fly for me. And then there’s this. Sighhhhhhhh. Fuck that.

  9. In fairness to T.a.T.u. …

    … wait, do I want to be fair?


    Okay. They were really young when a seriously creepy producer guy recruited them to sing the songs and do the videos. They grew up a bit, and the group exploded, because at least one of them wanted to be a success (as a woman) as defined by her culture. Marriage, babies. I love Russia and Russians (and was immersed in it for years), but … the culture can be pretty damn toxic.

    I did research there for over a year, and came home, gender-crashed, and … well, the friends I’d made had problems coping. It’s gotten worse, since, and T.a.T.u. happened after I left (I loved the music, thinking that it was a harbinger of the new age, and maybe it is, but … the new age hasn’t started yet).

    When she was young and idealistic and thought that everything was possible, she sang these songs with all her heart and all her soul. Then she grew up a bit, into a culture that has expectations, for her as a wife, for her as a mother, for her as the mother of a son.

    Forgive her if she can’t fight that pressure?

    It’s not that she’s admirable for repeating what’s been dunned into her. It’s that she was admirable for what she did accomplish, and if she can’t carry it forward, then let her pass quietly.

    And if her son turns out gay, help him.

  10. Her comments are actually very typical of most Russian people’s attitudes towards homosexuality and particularly gay men (though all LGBT+ people are targeted). But the views she has are also quite tame by comparison when coming from a nation where vigilante groups actively hunt, entrap, torture, and humiliate people – with tacit sanction from the government, I might add – in the name of upholding “traditional values”. Yulia is a product of her environment. It’s still disappointing and revolting, though. I love some of TaTu’s stuff.

  11. This kind of attitude is what allows most Russian/Ukrainian girl groups to use heavy homoeroticism as part of their image, yet any genuine queer representation is non-existant.

    (Aforementioned girl groups and their homoeroticism are what helped me realize that I’m attracted to women, so I have conflicted feelings on the bizarre cultural exploitation of female sexuality).

  12. I always feel like holding back from criticizing the girls from TATu too heavily for their early career. I don’t think its fair to say they capitilized on fake queerness without adding that they were manipulated into it at 13/14 years old by a very creepy man. It doesn’t excuse her attitude now, but still

  13. All the things she said
    All the things she said
    Make me shake my head
    Make me shake my head
    (Make me shake my head)
    This is not enough

  14. I just remember being about nine and just watching the all the things she said music video in shock and awe. I wasn’t identifying with it or anything like that, I had just never seen two women be portrayed as attracted to each other before. Wide eyed is the phrase.

  15. I don’t accept that! If you’re not cool with EVERYONE in the LGBTQ, then you are not cool with me. She’s just like Jessie J. I’m not saying they owe us money but don’t sing about fun and freedom while you persecute other people. LGBTQ has helped Jessie J promote her music. Same with Tatu. Remember when they would puke rainbows in each interview? Remember that time? Shamelessly crediting from our community.

    Two words, Ungrateful D-bags!

  16. It’s sad to see, that a member of a band, that I appreciated a lot in the past, turns out to be so narrow minded. I’ve always seen t.A.t.U. as a band that helped the society to move on and accept one and another for who they are. Kinda hypocritical when you think about what t.A.t.U.s image was based on.

  17. Not sure if anyone has said this yet here, but I feel like what this really translates too is “I think all queerness is disgusting, but the only people still buying my songs are queer chicks, so I’ll say they’re alright while throwing queer men under the bus.”

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