Russian riot policemen detain a gay and LGBT rights activist during a rally in central Moscow in May.
Russian riot policemen detain a gay and LGBT rights activist during a rally in central Moscow in May. - 
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Daniyar Aynitdinov came to the U.S. from Russia on a work and travel program six years ago. At the time, he was studying to be a petroleum engineer at Gubkin Russian State University of Oil and Gas. Aynitdinov is gay, and in the past few years Russia has instituted laws curtailing rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. He was granted asylum this year.

He's settled now in a rented room in the Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles. He spoke to Marketplace Weekend from his room, where he reads from a diary he kept before he came to the U.S. He writes that he had high hopes of becoming an actor in Los Angeles. Now, years later, he's performing in Hollywood.

Click the media player above to hear Daniyar's full story.