Our close friend Joe White from Gay Gooners travelled to Russia in 2018 for the World Cup and during his travels met many LGBT Russians. He learned a lot about the persecution they face but also the stories of LGBT people in Chechenya who were disappearing. Word from those in the country said that LGBT Chechens were being rounded up in concentration camps and executed. LGBT people and allies are mobilising to help these people flee to safety and you can help.
Joe’s story below:
After the horrors we’ve already heard that have happened in Chechnya, the start of 2019 confirmed our fears – it has begun again.
At least two people have already been killed, around 40 have been detained that the Russian LGBT Network are currently aware of.
Given that Friday 1st February marks the start of LGBT+ History Month (and is a Friday close to payday) we are asking people, LGBT+ friendly venues and groups to help raise funds to assist those affected by the Chechnya atrocities. The more that join in, whether to raise funds or awareness, the better. It is time to stand up against the hatred against the community across the world, especially from our privileged position.
LGBT+ History Month often is used as a way of reflecting how far we have come, and to celebrate those who fought for our rights we now largely enjoy. However across the world, our past is many people’s present. Without our support and our solidarity, they might not have the future we all deserve.
One of the main ways we can support the Russian LGBT Network in their work is through fundraising. It costs €4,000 (£3,513/$4,562) per person to help them escape and place them in secure accommodation. This is the most urgent need to help those suffering in Chechnya.
If you want to help, whether as a venue or by shaking a bucket and raising awareness, please get in touch.