Tomorrow, hundreds of New Yorkers will gather on the steps of the Stonewall National Monument, the birthplace of the modern gay liberation movement, for “Voices 4 Chechnya.” Attendees will rally and then march to Trump Tower to protest the atrocities happening against the LGBT community in Chechnya.
The website for the event reads: “Voices 4 Chechnya believes that non-violent, direct action activism is integral to the fight for human dignity and equality for all. And everyone, no matter who they are or whom they love, is entitled to live without fear. We will not stand by as the Chechen Republic orders and encourages the capture, torture, and death of its own LGBTQ+ people.”
“We will demand humanitarian visas for those who’ve escaped from Chechnya, and are now hiding in safe houses in mainland Russia. The march will also raise money for RUSA LGBT, a support network for Russian-speaking LGBTQ+ individuals in America”
In August, the Russian LGBT Network released a 31-page report based on testimonies of 33 detainees and witnesses brutalized in Chechnya’s eight-month-long campaign of hunting, torturing and killing LGBTQ people, particularly gay and bi men. The testimonies were collected with the help of journalists from Novaya Gazeta, the news outlet which first reported the campaign.
Event organizers are asking the U.S. federal government for humanitarian parole visas for LGBTQ+ Chechens. Humanitarian Parole Visas permit temporary entry into the U.S. for an individual in situations of true emergency, medical need or service of public interest.
Partners for the Oct. 14 event are listed as RUSA LGBT, Gays Against Guns, the Human Rights Campaign, Out in Tech and Women’s March Global.
RUSA LGBT is a network for Russian-speaking LGBTQ individuals, their friends, supporters and loved ones. The group also provides informational support to asylum seekers and organizes social events to increase acceptance and inclusion of LGBTQ people within the Russian-speaking public.
Voices 4 Chechnya was founded by queer journalist Adam Eli. Artist Hey Rooney (Andy Simmonds) is also contributing his talents to the cause. Many queer influencers are helping spread the word about tomorrow’s event, including RuPaul’s Drag Race queen Milk and model/actor Max Emerson.