Russia cancels youth festival for promoting LGBTI agenda.

Festival organizers also received death threats.


Children rehearsing for the Pink and Blue play in Russia | Photo: Vk

Police hauled the organizer of a youth festival in Russia in for questioning as she received online death threats.

Yulia Tsvetkova put together the Colour of Saffron festival in the far eastern town of Komsomolsk-on-Amur. Due to run this weekend, local authorities cancelled the event over concerns one of the plays in the festival promoted a ‘LGBTI agenda’.

The play called Blue and Pink featured teenage actors and discussed gender. But the colors blue and pink are often represent the gay and lesbian community in Russia.

A police anti-extremism unit questioned Tsvetkova and the child actors in the lead up to the festival. Authorities accused her of subversive activity and promoting ‘hatred against men and non-traditional family relations’.

But Tsvetkova told a local media source the festival featured no LGBTI content.

‘Pink and blue are seen as typically “male” and “female colors”, that’s it,’ she said.

‘That’s what the play is about, the name was suggested by one of the actors, a 11-year-old child.’

The Colour of Saffron festival | Photo: Vk

In 2013 Russian president, Vladimir Putin, passed the ‘gay propaganda law’ which banned ‘information promoting the denial of traditional family values’ and ‘propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations’. Activists argued the law censored the LGBTI community.

Its introduction has led to a vast increase of homophobic, biphobic and transphobic attacks. Support groups for LGBTI minors have been shut down, gay festivals have been raided and attack groups torturing and murdering LGBTI people have surfaced.

On Friday (15 March), authorities told festival organisers it would not be going ahead. They accused Tsvetkova of importing ‘corruption and persecution’ from Europe.

‘Our director Julia is accused of living in Europe and bringing out corruption and propaganda from there,’ festival directors wrote on Russian social media site, VKontakte (VK).

‘We will look for how to show our productions as widely as possible – in Russia and in the world.

‘We ask to spread information as widely as possible. Because Russia is the bottom, and the city of Komsomolsk is the bottom of the bottom — a place where people have not heard about human rights and where the names of colors are considered propaganda.’

During the days of the police interrogations, Tsvetkova received death threats online.

‘I haven’t eaten or slept in three days–I’m on the verge of a nervous breakdown,’ she wrote on VK.

‘I have only one question, why is someone so intent on sabotaging our small and peaceful youth festival. Can it be that youth activism so frightens our authorities?’

Despite the ban, organizers ran a downsized version of the festival in a small classroom.

Lesbians are also being killed in Chechnya and no-one seems to care.

Lesbian and trans women are commonly murdered in honor killings.


A woman forced to have an Islamic exorcism in Chechnya | Photo: The Caucasian Knot

A lesbian who escaped the ‘gay purge’ in Chechnya has bravely shared her story, even though it could get her killed.

The woman – who remains anonymous for her safety – shared the horrors of growing up LGBTI in Chechnya and how she wasn’t even safe from her own family.

In early 2017 the world started learning how Chechnya – a region in the north Caucasus of Russia – had started rounding up, detaining, torturing and executing men because of their real or perceived sexual identity.

But in 2018 Chechen authorities turned their sights onto lesbians and trans people.

‘Also in 2018, we began to receive reports of girls being detained by the police on suspicion of homosexuality. According to reports from Chechnya, there are girls among those detained in December to January.’

Chechen authorities denied the claims, saying gay people don’t exist in Chechnya.

The lesbian who escaped Chechnya told news agencey current time that her ex-girlfriend outed her to her family. Even though she ran away from home twice, on of her brothers tracked her down.

‘One of my brothers came for me, and we went home. My mother was unhappy with this. She told my brother: “Why did you bring her home? You should have shot her somewhere in the forest, as we agreed”,’ the woman said.

‘But my brother did not do it – my father forbade him to do it.’

Her parents tried to send her to a psychiatric hospital for treatment and told her the demon, Jinn, had possessed her. So they sent her to a local mosque to undergo an exorcism to expel it.

‘We all understood that there was no Jinn in me, but I had to pretend and pretend that it actually existed,’ she said.

‘I pretended, my parents believed me, but after a few months I ran away again. It was 2017′.

Six months after her second escape to Russia, the woman managed to leave the country altogether. But she said not so many women in Chechnya are as lucky as her.

‘There are those who are still in Chechnya and [for various] reasons cannot leave there,’ she said.

‘This is especially true for girls. It is much harder for them to do this, because they are controlled: they cannot quietly leave the house, so that someone does not accompany them. Therefore, their evacuation is quite difficult to arrange.’

The woman said more men have been detained in Chechnya because ‘girls almost always go out to the street accompanied’ by a family member.

She also said many people who had escaped Russia are still to afraid to speak out, even if it is anonymously. But she chose to do an interview because ‘the less we talk about it, the less something will change’.

‘I would like people to talk about the problems that exist, and also talk about the problems of [Chechen lesbians], because no one notices women,’ she said.

‘If they kill a gay, everyone talks about it. But if a lesbian is killed, almost no one writes about it.

‘A woman [can] be taken out to the forest, killed, come home and pretend that there was nothing. And not a single neighbor, not a single relative will ask.’

We’re inviting you to make a difference today by donating to the Chechyna Appeal.

Every dollar, euro and pound you give will help evacuate LGBTI people in the most danger. And to pressure the Chechen authorities to stop this persecution.

Please also share our appeal with your followers, friends and family; ensuring we raise awareness and apply pressure to permanently end this abuse.

Copyright www.gaystarnews.com

LGBTI people face torture and death in Chechnya – here’s how you can help them.

This is a humanitarian crisis which is just getting worse by the minute. LGBTI people are dying, but we can help them.

Hundreds came out in solidarity with the gay men in Chechnya at a rally in Vienna in 2018 | Twitter / @apex_archive

We all know by now that gay men and women have been persecuted in Chechnya.

We have known that since December 2017, Chechen authorities have been rounding up people on their actual or perceived sexuality.

LGBTI people have been illegally detained, tortured and executed. Multiple organizations and media outlets have verified the horrors happening in Chechnya, which is in the Northern Caucuses region of Russia.

The situation escalated this year with detention of 40 men and women. We know that two people died as a result of torture.

The world’s community has spoken out against these atrocities, but Russia has continued to ignore what’s happening in its own backyard.

The Russian LGBT Network is helping to evacuate people from Chechnya. They are sheltering them in safe houses, providing them food, clothing and psychological support.

But most importantly, they’re trying to get them out of Russia and that’s where we come in.

We can help the persecuted Chechens in some really simple ways.

Here’s how to help:
Money:
– It costs about €4,000 (US$4,562) per refugee to keep them in safe housing, but to also get them international travel documents to help them flee Russia.

– The most urgent need for the LGBT World Beside is money. Getting them critical funds is a priority of the international community.

– If you can’t afford to donate, make sure you share the link around to encourage friends and families to help.

Make your voice heard:
Many of the victims, especially those tortured by authorities, will try to seek sanctuary outside of Russia. So, The Russian LGBT Network is asking people to contact their local politicians and government immigration ministers.

Write to your MPs to get them to help grant persecuted LGBTI Chechens asylum in your home country. By writing to MPs you’re not only raising awareness of the situation, but also letting them know that are lot of people are watching what’s happening. That puts pressure on them to act.

Other calls and emails you can make:
Get in touch with the border police in your home country. In some urgent cases, Chechen refugees may try to enter the country without a visas. Let the border authorities know these people are running away from persecution and have the grounds to claim asylum.

You can also call the following United Nations bodies to encourage them to to initiate the United Nations Independent Investigation on Russia with a specific mandate on the human rights violations in the Chechen Republic.

If you’re in Europe you could contact the EU Committee for Torture Prevention to release the results of their visit to the Chechen Republic in December 2017. You could let them know that while LGBTI rights violations continue, the Russian authorities remain unresponsive and claim that no cases of human rights abuse are happening there.

Copyright www.gaystarnews.com

Londoners rally at Russian embassy demanding end to torture in Chechnya.

The situation in Chechnya is urgent.

That’s why nearly one hundred people flocked to a rally outside of the Russian embassy in London to call for an end to the persecution of gay men and women there.

Since April 2017, authorities in the northern Caucuses have been rounding up people based on their real or perceived sexuality. They’ve tortured them in the most horrifying ways and in some cases, executed these people because of their sexuality.

Every time international attention has focused on Chechnya, the persecution stops for awhile.

But in late December, authorities rounded up 40 people and tortured two of them to death.

Volunteers at the Russian LGBTI Network are working around the clock to get the persecutions not only out of Chechnya, but also Russia.

But to do that they need the support of the LGBTI community around the world.

That’s why hundreds of people crowded around the Russian embassy in London to make sure their voices are heard.

‘LGBTI people in Chechnya urgently need our help to save them from imprisonment, torture and murder. DONATIONS.

Copyright www.gaystarnews.com

Action in memory of LGBT victims in Chechnya.

The rally in memory of LGBT victims in Chechnya was held in Amsterdam (Netherlands) on the Homomonument on January 20, 2019.

LGBT World Beside is an organization founded by refugees who survived the “first wave” of LGBT persecution in Chechnya. We and our friends and relatives who remained in Russia are living witnesses of how the Chechen authorities tried purposely violate us.

Now that a new wave of persecution has begun in Chechnya, we are again afraid for ourselves and for the safety of our loved ones,there. We demand from the Russian authorities to end up persecution and physical violence against LGBT in Chechnya and effectively investigate all crimes of the past weeks.

We also appeal to the world community, to the authorities of democratic states that have signed the World Declaration of Human Rights and the Convention on the Status of Refugees, not to refuse assistance to LGBT refugees from Chechnya, who literally have to choose between life and death.