The ongoing reports of kidnapping, detainment and torture of suspected gay men in Chechnya continued this week as a refugee told the story of a 17-year-old thrown off a 9th floor balcony by his own uncle for being gay.
While Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered an investigation into the violence, Russian LGBTQ groups have attempted to smuggle gay refugees out of the country. Concurrently, LGBTQ citizens and allies around the world have protested for an immediate end to the violence.
In a desire to provide education and resistance amid anti-LGBTQ violence worldwide, Hornet, the world’s premier gay social network — also the parent company of this site — has launched the “Know Your Rights” campaign, an educational effort to help make gay men and travelers aware of their rights in different countries around the world.
Working together with the United Nations’ “Free & Equal” campaign, a public education campaign created to protect human rights globally, Hornet has created an in-app system that updates users about anti-LGBTQ policies in countries with laws targeting the LGBTQ community.
As users travel across international borders, the Hornet app will display helpful tips to keep U.S. and non-U.S. citizens safe. For example, some of the tips advise disabling Touch ID on electronic devices or uninstalling apps that might reveal a person’s sexuality identity or personal information. The“Know Your Rights” campaign will also provide a map of world countries that have criminalized homosexuality as well as resources on where and how to report human rights violations around the world.
In a joint statement, Hornet President Sean Howell and U.N. Human Rights Officer OHCHR Fabrice Houdart, said, “Our priority is to do everything in our power to protect LGBTQ community members from such abuses.”
They continued, “Efforts are also needed to ensure those responsible for such abuses are prosecuted and held accountable, and that victims are able to obtain remedy for the abuses they have suffered. The first step must be to report these abuses which too often remain invisible.”