Masha Gessen is a journalist, author, translator, and activist. She is known for her criticism of Russia and of Presidents Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump.
Gessen has written extensively on LGBT rights. She has written several non-fiction books, and her work has appeared in The New York Times, The New York Review of Books, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, The New Republic, New Statesman, Granta, Slate, Vanity Fair, Harper's Magazine, The New Yorker, and U.S. News & World Report. Since 2017, she has been a staff writer for The New Yorker.
In 1981, Gessen and her family moved to the United States. As an adult in 1991, she moved to Moscow, where she worked as a journalist. She has been described as "Russia's leading LGBT rights activist," and she quips that she was probably the only publicly out gay person in the whole country for many years. She was on the board of directors of the Moscow LGBT rights organization Triangle. She was openly critical of Russia's ban on "homosexual propaganda" and other anti-LGBT laws, as well as the harassment and beating of journalists.
In 2013, a few months after being physically assaulted in the street and worried about reports that the Russian government might take away one of her children because of her sexual orientation, she and her wife and family fled to New York City.