With the Readers & Writers for LGBT Chechens charity auction ending tomorrow (get your bids in!), we’ve gotten a ton of support from writers around the blogoverse, and for that I’m grateful. A quick round up of a few that posted today, one from days ago that I missed in a previous roundup, and a poem that is timeless in its relevance.
‘What we do matters.’
On Lila Leigh Hunter’s blog, author and editor Megan Derr, who has contributed an original novella to the auction, wrote about her experience fighting for marriage equality, and later getting married to her wife:
What we do matters … So it might feel small to contribute a story, or to buy a story, but hundreds of emails from happy readers who feel seen and acknowledged will tell you otherwise. The wedding ring on my finger says my small part years ago helped to make a difference. The Readers & Writers for LGBT Chechens auction too will make a difference to people who might not have been heard otherwise. That’s why I write, publish, and participate in things like this. It’s not the huge grand gestures that most often save a world, it’s the small ones.
Jeff Adams has donated signed copies of his Hat Trick ice hockey trilogy to the auction. On author Grace R. Duncan’s blog, he wrote, “For me, as a gay man, it’s a matter of helping others as I would hope to be helped if I was in a similar situation. … Standing up against the horrors in Chechnya also helps make it clear we won’t tolerate these kind of things happening in our country.”
Sexuality blogger Ginger Segreti invited Cecilia Tan, who has a huge ebook bundle of erotic speculative fiction in the auction, and Adira August, who is donating proceeds from her book On His Knees to the Russian LGBT Network through the end of May, to her blog. Tan said, “This is the first line in the sand in a global fight for our rights as queer people that we are fighting here on US soil, too.”
‘Nobody should have to fear for their life for being who they are.’
Author Louise Lyons had J. Scott Coatsworth and Sarah Hadley Brook on her blog. Scott has donated character naming rights to the auction, and Sarah her baseball romance Caleb’s Choice. Sarah said, “The reason I got involved is simple—nobody should ever have to fear for their life for being who they are.”
Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews also drew attention to Chechnya by having Readers & Writers for LGBT Chechens participant Lianne Bennett on their blog. “I started seeing the news of gay men being detained in Chechnya. I was disturbed and tried to pay attention to see what coverage there was about it (way too little, early on). A couple of articles about camps being set up, and torture happening, and I started posting links to the information on my social media. I wanted to write letters, but that helplessness returned.” Lianne says donating a handmade quilt to the online auction gave her a tangible way to make a difference. “I hope that together we’ll make a much bigger impact than any of us could make on our own.
‘Speak out. Silence is a luxury.’
Olivia Helling, co-founder of Readers & Writers for LGBT Chechens and the brains and brawn behind the auction, has a great article about how one Facebook post can change your world. Go read it—but ignore the nice things she says about me. None of them are true.
And in the last of the blog’s in this roundup, author Rory Ni Coileain generously offered to donate a dollar to Rainbow Railroad for each comment left on their post, in addition to donating royalties from the paranormal novella Wolf, Becoming, about the gay son of a powerful Russian oligarch. “And wherever you are, and whoever you speak to, speak up. Speak out,” Rory wrote. “Silence is a luxury no one can afford right now.”
‘Ready to be reborn’
One final bit of inspiration. Yesterday I came upon We are Gay, a poem by FE Feeley Jr. It begins:
Like fog lifting off a still lake
in the first break of daylight in pink skies
spirits rising with arms flung back and chests proudly barred and bruised
above blackwater surprise
ready to be reborn
It’s not specifically about the situation in Chechnya — he posted it last fall — but its theme of rising again prejudice and anti-gay fundamentalism certainly resonates. In a way, it’s my prayer for the men trying to get out of Chechnya. I asked if I could share it and he said I could. So here’s where to read the whole thing: We are Gay (poem) | F.E.Feeley Jr.
All the links in one place so you can let these bloggers know you appreciate their speaking out:
- Rory Ni Coileain: Readers & Writers for LGBT Chechens
- Louise Lyons: Readers & Writers for LGBT Chechens
- Lila Leigh Hunter: Readers & Writers for LGBT Chechens: Guest Post by Megan Derr #chechenrainbow
- Grace R. Duncan: Readers & Writers for LGBT Chechens
- Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews: Readers and Writers for LGBT Chechens Charity Auction
- DesireBound By Ginger Segreti: Helping persecuted LGBT Chechens
- Olivia Helling: Readers & Writers for LGBT Chechens online auction is now live
- We are Gay (poem) | F.E.Feeley Jr
As always, you can learn how to help (and sign petitions!) at Readers & Writers for LGBT Chechens.
About Readers & Writers for LGBT Chechens
Find answers to frequently asked questions about the situation in Chechnya and the organizations helping sexual minorities in the Russian Caucasus here: FAQ on Russian LGBT Network and gays in Chechnya.
Learn how to help at Readers & Writers for LGBT Chechens.