‘I will not be silent’: Writers speak out for LGBT Chechens

Readers & Writers for LGBT Chechens is getting a lot of support from book review and author blogs, and we’re grateful. As more people become aware of the issue, we hope the Russian LGBT Network and other organizations helping displaced Chechens will receive the money they need.

Here, we highlight a few posts where authors talk about why they have chosen to raise funds to help queer Chechens. First, we have erotic romance author Adira August, who is donating proceeds from her book On His Knees to the Russian LGBT Network through the end of May. She told Hearts on Fire Reviews why she got involved: 

I fought for gay rights for over 40 years. For the simple right to not be killed by hate. For the right to marry under the law. For the right to teach my kid math in middle school. For the right to die with your loved one at your bedside. And that last was important because at that time, we were going to a couple funerals a week.

I think people don’t get what’s going on. The men are taken, not arrested, just taken. They are tortured for the names of other gay men. This is standard operating procedure in the former Soviet Union and has been since the Revolution. Then they might keep torturing them for fun.

Then they kill them and start on the names they gave up.

I did this because I have no choice. I did this because I can’t live with myself if I don’t so something.

On the Queer Sci Fi blog, Xenia Melzer talked about the importance of taking small actions to make a difference, and Scott Coatsworth said,

I first heard about what was going on in Chechnya a couple weeks ago. In Nazi Germany, they came for the gays and no one complained. I never thought I would see something like that in my lifetime, and yet here we are. … Silence = Death. I will not be silent this time.

And on her author blog, EM Prazeman wrote,

This appears to be some sort of ‘cleanse’ that the Chechen authorities began, and they expect the Chechen public’s support. … The Russian LGBT Network needs help to save men like Ilya (disguised name) who wrote in The Village, a chatroom where gay men met, in response to a post from the Russian LGBT Network that help was available:

“Hello, good evening. I am writing about the post in The Village. I live in the Caucasus and think that soon it will end for me, as it did for my brothers.”*

The Russian LGBT Network, ILGA-Europe and the Rainbow Railroad have combined forces to get men at risk in Chechnya to safety. Some of them will likely escape with only the clothes on their backs. They’ll need train tickets, plane tickets, food, clothing, and shelter. The most recent article I read reported that thirty men had made it as far as Moscow through the Russian LGBT Network. An article at the beginning of April said that 100 had been captured, beaten, and tortured, and that at least three died. That means that there could be seventy men, or more, who need help getting out of Chechnya.

Prazeman, Coatsworth and Melzer have all donated items and services to the Readers & Writers online charity auction.

Help Out

Please take a moment to stop by the blogs who hosted these authors, read the complete posts, and thank the blog owners for drawing attention to the crisis in Chechnya and ways to help:

Looking for more ways to help? Learn how  at Readers & Writers for LGBT Chechens.


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