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.
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
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
The BBC reports good news for some of the 43 men who have escaped Chechnya, where their lives were in danger from an anti-gay campaign being conducted by the Chechen authorities. Nine men being assisted by the Russian LGBT Network have been granted visas to countries offering refuge outside the Russian Federation. … Read more
French LGBTQ rights groups filed with the International Criminal Court Monday to accuse Chechnya of carrying out a “gay genocide.” … Read more
Four Russians and an Italian were detained by Moscow police on Thursday when they attempted to deliver petitions containing 2 million signatures asking the Russian prosecutor general to look into the Chechen government’s persecution of men perceived to be gay, Agence France-Presse and Australia’s SBS News reported.
Thanks to My Fiction Nook, Diverse Reader, and authors Annabeth Leong, Lisabet Sarai and Sarah Hadley Brook for drawing attention to the situation in Chechnya and the Readers & Writers for LGBT Chechens fundraising auction. Annabeth wrote a post on her author blog that did a great job of capturing one of the things we’re trying to do at Readers & Writers for LGBT Chechens — build up people’s spirits with great queer stories while dealing with tough realities that continue to threaten our community.