March 29 marks the day, one year ago, when the Russian LGBT Network first learned of the organized detention and execution of gay and bisexual men in Chechnya. Since then, their staff, volunteers, and member organizations have helped relocate 100 Chechens persecuted for the sexual orientation or gender identity to safer countries—often putting their own lives at risk
NBC News reports that up to 100 people have been arrested in Azerbaijan as part of a campaign against gay/bisexual men and transgender women. These actions echo those taken earlier this year by official in nearby Chechnya, where at least 27 men died and more than a hundred were kidnapped and tortured.
Canadian charity Rainbow Railroad reports that it has helped 35 gay and bisexual Chechen men travel to parts of the world where they are safer. Earlier this year, the Chechen government began an organized campaign of persecution against gay and bisexual men, imprisoning more than a hundred and killing at least 26. … Read more
Yesterday, The New Yorker ran an interview with Elena Milashina, the reporter who broke the news of Chechnya’s anti-gay purge in Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta. The article provides important context about the difficult relationship between Chechnya and the federal Russian government; the terrible human rights situation that has existed for quite some time in Chechnya, particularly for women and political minorities; and the history of the unofficial prisons where gay men are being detained. It’s a quick read, but an important one. … Read more
This FAQ is a revised version of a post I wrote in April about the persecution and killing of gay men in Chechnya and efforts to help them. A message I received today reminded me that there’s still a lot of education to be done. The message was along the lines of “Russia is full of hackers and scammers, so we can’t trust things based in Russia. Therefore Westerners should only support Western charities.” If everyone followed that reasoning, we’d have 40 more dead gay Chechens on our hands right now.
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The Caucasian Knot and Russian- and English-language news website Meduza report that Russian security officials have used blackmail to recruit gay men in the North Caucuses region to carry out missions in Syria. … Read more
Twenty-six gay men have been murdered in Chechnya since February, according to Novaya Gazeta, the Russian newspaper that first broke the story in March. … Read more
Proceeds from On His Knees by Adira August go to save lives of gay Chechens through May 31. This erotic drama is gritty and gut-wrenching as it portrays the psychological effects of a gruesome crime scene on a seasoned homicide cop. … Read more
I was thrilled when Jo Tannah told me last month that she wanted to participate in Books Save Lives with two titles — including one that she’d previously published with Wayward Ink, The Way You Look Tonight. Books Save Lives is a project of Readers & Writers for LGBT Chechens that raises funds for the Russian LGBT Network and other charities helping gay men escape Chechnya, where police are currently conducting a campaign of terror against anyone they suspect of being gay. Here’s an interview I did with Jo last February when The Way You Look Tonight first came out. … Read more
The Readers & Writers for LGBT Chechens online auction, held May 6–13, raised a total of $2,709 USD for four organizations that are working to bring gay Chechens to safety. This brings the total raised so far by the group to $10,326. Readers & Writers for LGBT Chechens continues to offer ways for both writers and readers to get involved. … Read more