I met Vladimir Mukhotaev, 28, at the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, where he helps low-income New Yorkers access food stamps. After he provided translation for an article I was reporting, I asked him about his path from Russia to the United States. He explained that he had followed his husband to New York and had never planned to leave Russia. I was intrigued: how could he feel so warmly towards his homeland as a gay man? And what had led him to Jewish social work after he was raised Eastern Orthodox? Vladimir’s story is below in his own words.