Tortured in Chechnya for being gay, this man found refuge and safety in Canada.

Amin Dzhabrailov was arrested, beaten, and tortured before the Rainbow Railroad helped him come to Canada.

Amin Dzhabrailov says his torturers beat him with pipes or their feet and gave him electric shocks. ‘No one wanted to touch you with the hands just because you’re gay,’ he says. (Austin Grabish/CBC).

While being beaten and tortured with electric shocks, Amin Dzhabrailov tried to think about how he would run away.

The 27-year-old is from Chechnya and survived an anti-gay purge that saw men detained and tortured in the Russian republic in 2017.

“They were using [their] feet, plastic pipes, long pipes,” to beat prisoners, Dzhabrailov said during an interview in Winnipeg.

“And after they started using electric shock,” he said.

“No one wanted to touch you with the hands just because you’re gay, and it’s disgusting.”

He was in Winnipeg last Thursday night to speak at a fundraiser that brought in $137,000 for Rainbow Railroad, a non-profit that helps LGBT people escape from countries where their lives are in danger because of who they are.

Rainbow Railroad executive director Kimahli Powell said Winnipeg has been a special part of the non-profit’s history. When the annual fundraising event was started in 2014 in the city, the organization had just made the transition from a small collective to a charity.

“This fundraiser was the big boost that really started the organization,” he said. “We would not be where we are today without the community in Winnipeg and their generosity.”

Dzhabrailov, who once only would speak to journalists if his face was concealed, is sharing his story to drum up support for Rainbow Railroad, as it continues its work to save LGBT people from persecution in countries around the world.

He also wants to inspire others from his community who are still in Chechnya, where human rights watchdogs say anti-gay purges have continued.

Dzhabrailov and his partner, Viskhan Arsanov, shared their stories at the Winnipeg Art Gallery, where the Rainbow Railroad held a fundraiser on Sept. 12. (Austin Grabish/CBC).

He says he was kidnapped by Russian soldiers from a hair salon where he was working in March 2017.

“It was awful,” he recalls. “I was colouring hair and it was my usual day. I had lunch and they just came — some guys with guns.”

The men handcuffed Dzhabrailov and drove him to a building that became a torture facility where he would spend the next two weeks.

‘The edge of dying’
“I was tortured almost each day and night,” he said.

There was mental abuse, in addition to the beatings and continued electrical shocks used on him and the roughly 17 other gay men there. Soldiers pressed the men for names of other gay people.

“It’s like [being] on the edge of dying, especially when they’re using that machine which is making electricity,” which would be fixed to his ears, fingers or toes, he said.

“I was screaming to stop this.”

In this 2017 file photo, a gay rights activist holding a rainbow umbrella is detained by police during a rally marking May Day in downtown St. Petersburg, Russia. (Dmitri Lovetsky/Associated Press).

Every day, as soldiers beat Dzhabrailov and made him work cleaning floors and washing their cars, he thought about suicide, but there was no chance to escape.

He remembers the taunts and laughs from soldiers, and one instance where a soldier shoved his gun into Dzhabrailov’s mouth.

The nightmare ended when his captors brought him and others to another location, where his family was waiting.

There, he says, soldiers shamed him for being gay and asked family members why they didn’t take care of their relatives. They talked about killing the men, while their parents kept their eyes down, afraid to speak.

Dzhabrailov’s brothers took him home but he knew he couldn’t stay in Chechnya for long. He asked Viskhan Arsanov, a long-time friend and now his partner, for help.

Dzhabrailov, right, and his boyfriend, Viskhan Arsanov, left, were in Winnipeg for a Rainbow Railroad fundraiser on Thursday. The non-profit helped the two men find refuge in Canada. (Austin Grabish/CBC).

The 28-year-old was living in Moscow at the time. While he wasn’t tortured, he was threatened for being gay by a man he believes may have been a police officer or government solider.

Arsanov got Dzhabrailov, who had no money, to St. Petersburg.

Dzhabrailov then got in touch with an LGBT network that connected him with Rainbow Railroad, which got both men out of the country safely.

“I remember when he’s leaving [for] Canada and he has tickets, everything … I say, ‘Jesus, I can’t believe it. It’s real. Everything is real,'” Arsanov recalls.

The men, who now call Toronto home, are grateful for Rainbow Railroad and are enjoying every moment of freedom in Canada.

“We’re just two young men who are living our best lives,” Dzhabrailov said.

“I don’t get tired telling this, and I won’t, ’cause I’m really living this.”

A man who was tortured for being gay in Chechnya is opening up to share his story of survival. 2:25.

Copyright www.cbc.ca

Ural State University of Economics decided to fight with gays: “We followed, we follow and we will follow students!”

The main economic university in Yekaterinburg monitors the sexual orientation of its students through social networks. A special service for monitoring the moral character of students has been created at USUE. The mere fact of communication with representatives of the LGBT community is enough to cause problems. One student is already at risk of expulsion.

“Vice-rector Krasnov Roman Valerievich called him and demanded to pick up documents from the university with the wording: we tracked your social networks, here are the printouts – you are gay,” fellow students of the injured student told EAN.

He himself confirms this story: “The director of my institute called me and said that an unpleasant situation had occurred and I needed to talk. At the meeting, he explained that a group for monitoring social networks of students was created and they found that I was subscribed to a group of the LGBT community. Then the vice-rector for educational work Roman Krasnov called me to him, he said that I “defamed the name of the institute”, that I have a pink phone and that having a girl, in his opinion, is not an excuse and does not prove that I am not gay ”, told EAN Vitaliy himself (name changed).

According to him, he was sent to collect characteristics from the school and from the place of work, on their basis a decision will be made whether he is gay or not. From the groups that caused the scandal, he has already retired.

Roman Krasnov confirmed to EAN that monitoring the behavior of students and their participation in similar groups in social networks is underway.

“We have not only now – we have led, are and will continue to monitor the social networks of our students! For one simple reason: we are a state university, and, accordingly, we look at the moral character of our students. We have the right to see how our student lives. After all, these are public pages. And what prevents our youth policy department, our social management department from seeing: how, what do our students do outside of school hours? Of course, we watch social networks, ”the vice-rector for social work told EAN.

But to answer the question of whether participation in LGBT community groups is the basis for expulsion and with what wording the order is received in such cases, he refused, offering to write an official request indicating the name of the particular expelled student.

Copyright www.eanews.ru

Ex-Prime Minister of Britain: “Putin spoke about gays very cool”.

Former British Prime Minister David Cameron spoke about conversations with Russian President Vladimir Putin about the situation of LGBT people in Russia. He wrote about this in his new memoirs.

Cameron was concerned about the adoption in Russia of a law banning “gay propaganda” and raised the issue of the rights of LGBT people in a private conversation with Putin.

“It was our coolest conversation. He said that population decline is a problem for Russia and that he needs men to marry women and give birth to many children, ”ex-Prime Minister Cameron quoted Putin as saying.

Copyright www.parniplus.com

It can’t be that every instance of the word ‘gay’ is propaganda.

After SERB nationalist activists interrupted a play about being gay in Russia, police arrested the play’s director. We asked her what happened.

Alexandra Krasnova / TASS

On the evening of August 28, 12 activists from the SERB movement forced their way into Moscow’s Teatr.doc documentary theater and interrupted a play called Coming Out of the Closet. SERB is a radical nationalist group whose members have a history of similar attacks: In addition to targeting opposition figures, SERB has stormed or damaged multiple art exhibitions. When the group disrupted Coming Out of the Closet, multiple theater employees and audience members called the police. Officers responded by arresting the play’s director, Anastasia Patlai, as well as two audience members. One viewer was cited for disorderly conduct, and the other turned out to be under 18 years old even though he had shown theater employees a 19-year-old’s passport upon entry. We spoke with Patlai about the incident and about the suspiciously close relationship between SERB and the police.

Coming Out of the Closet has been in Teatr.doc’s repertoire for nearly three years, but before every staging, the theater’s employees still check every audience member’s passport upon entry to make sure nobody under 18 watches the show. Coming Out of the Closet is a documentary play like any other in that it is based strictly on real events: According to director Anastasia Patlai, it is based on more than 30 detailed interviews. However, a basis in fact doesn’t prevent some from seeing the performance as “gay propaganda” (the show follows Russian gay men between ages 30 and 40 as they come out to their mothers for the first time).

Even before the August 28, Patlai told Meduza, homophobic activists had targeted showings of Coming Out of the Closet at least twice. On one occasion, they called police officers before a Moscow performance of the play in July 2018. The officers arrived at Teatr.doc an hour before the show was set to begin, and Patlai explained to them that theater employees enforce a strict age limit to avoid breaking Russia’s “gay propaganda” law. When Patlai pointed the officers to groups on Russian social media sites where Internet users have posted threats against the theater, the police decided to stay for the duration of the play in case of any violence or disruption.

The second incident was much more recent, Patlai said: On Sunday, August 25, a group of known homophobic activists based in St. Petersburg targeted a showing of Coming Out of the Closet there. Patlai told Meduza that she was acting onstage as an understudy that day when she saw a man stand up in the audience and approach the stage, which is separated from viewers only by a row of columns. The man was not in uniform, she recalled, but he had a gun in his belt. Following the show, police officers arrived on the scene and began checking audience members’ passports. Evidently, they had received a call from somebody who said the play was “defiling children.” Patlai said she believed the August 28 incident was a “continuation” of what happened that night.

She and her staff began suspecting that something was wrong when one young man who came to watch the play appeared to be very nervous and took a long time to find his ticket. The man gave theater employees a copy of a passport that said he was born in 2000, but they took a picture of him and the passport nonetheless, suspecting that something might be amiss.

Patlai went on to tell Meduza that after the play began, a different man approached her in her office and expressed anger at the contents of the performance. He was followed shortly afterward by the same young man who had claimed to be 19. Both men then returned alongside 10 more adults carrying cameras and lights on selfie sticks.

Posted by Московский активист

When Patlai realized that it would be impossible to stop the group from entering the theater, she stepped onstage to explain the situation to the audience and ask them to stay until it was resolved. Meanwhile, the group of intruders began shouting homophobic slurs at the play’s viewers. Both the intruders and their victims began making calls to the police, and Patlai called a prominent human rights journalist to ask for help finding an attorney. When Patlai looked outside the theater to see whether the police were on their way, she saw a man waving a black-and-yellow striped flag and holding a poster with more homophobic slurs. She also noticed that one of the men in the theater was wearing a T-shirt that said “SERB.”

When police officers did arrive, the situation only got worse. “The police acted like they’d known these people [the SERB activists] for a long time, like they didn’t care at all about the disorderly conduct in the theater or the disruption of the show,” Patlai told Meduza. “The police didn’t check even one of these people’s papers. They acted as though they and SERB were on the same team. They knew ahead of time that there were minors in the room, and all they wanted to do was deal with that fact.”

According to Patlai, the group of homophobic protesters also made an effort to enable police to target individual audience members: “When the police arrived, the provocateurs started a fight with one of the people in the audience. One of the women [among the SERB activists] shouted, “He’s hitting a woman!” while another provocateur pushed the audience member onto the ground […] The police immediately put handcuffs on him and took him out to their car without stopping to realize the whole thing was a provocation,” the director explained.

Coming Out of the Closet Teatr.doc
Coming Out of the Closet Teatr.doc

Patlai was taken to a police station alongside that audience member and the young man who said he was 19: Police determined that he was in fact a minor. Even while Patlai was in custody, police did nothing to stop the SERB activists from targeting her. She told Meduza, “While I was testifying, the door was open, and they [the SERB activists] commented on everything I said: ‘Sodom, drown them, shoot them.’” The police did not interfere, she said.

Only Anton Tkachuk, the audience member who was pushed to the ground, was ultimately cited for disorderly conduct. He spent the night in the police station, and Patlai said Teatr.doc would likely assist him if he is forced to pay a fine. The young man who was arrested along with them spoke to police alongside his father for an extended period of time, but the children’s inspector who questioned them did not tell Patlai anything about what actions investigators might take against the young man or Teatr.doc.

Despite the disruption and Patlai’s arrest, Teatr.doc ultimately completed their performance with about 80 percent of the audience still in attendance.

Given that Coming Out of the Closet is not a new play for the theater, Patlai speculated that the recent homophobic attacks against it must be related to some external political cause. The director said she felt hatred and hate-based attacks are generally on the rise in Russia but added that the upcoming September 8 elections in Moscow might also have played a role in the timing of the two most recent interruptions.

“Homophobia is a lasting resource in [Russian] politics. I’m not involved in politics,” Patlai said. “I put on shows about love so that people can start understanding each other and finding something in common with one another.” She argued that the logic behind the “gay propaganda” law is misguided: “It can’t be that every instance of the word ‘gay’ is propaganda. That’s nonsense. And the fact that we calmly relay stories about real people doesn’t qualify as propagandizing homosexuality.”

Copyright www.meduza.io

10 bisexual films that you need to watch.

Here’s our list of films that shine a light on some much-loved bisexual characters.

Bi-erasure has always been a prominent issue in mainstream media. Whether bisexuality is watered down, misrepresented or not included at all, it’s clear that there’s a severe lack of representation when it comes to the big screen.

However, 2019 saw the release of The Favourite which not only proved that bisexual films can be widely successful and critically-acclaimed, but also showed the importance of representation.

Because of this, we’ve compiled a list of bisexual films that walked so that The Favorite could run. How many have you seen?

Appropriate Behaviour (2014)

Cast: Desiree Akhavan, Rebecca Henderson, Hailey Fieffer

Desiree Akhavan, who directed, wrote and starred in this playful and dark comedy, plays the character of Shirin who is struggling to blend her three identities of being: the perfect Persian daughter, the politically correct bisexual and the girl trying to make it in a big city. At the beginning of the film, you quickly find out that the protagonist has recently been dumped, is homeless and has lost her job. We love an overachiever. Throughout the film, we follow Shirin as she tries to retake control of her life with a broken heart and the judgement of her parents. Appropriate Behaviour explores the reality of bisexuality in a real-world context.

Atomic Blonde (2017)

Cast: Charlize Theron, James McAvoy, John Goodman

If you’re wondering if blondes really do have more fun, well ponder no more, because in this action-packed thriller Charlize Theron proves that yes, yes they do. Set in 1989, against the back drop of the Berlin wall, Theron plays Lorraine Broughton, a top-level MI6 agent who is sent to Berlin to achieve a list which contains the names of all active agents from both MI6 and the KBG. Upon arriving in Berlin, Broughton comes into contact with the character David Percival, the second protagonist who’s played by James McAvoy. But among all the gun fire and second guessing, Theron’s character is able to fit in an all-bearing sex scene with actress Sofia Boutella who plays Delphine – another MI6 agent. This makes a change from the female lead, though powerful, having to fall in love with her male counterpart. And if you didn’t think Theron was badass enough, the actress was one of the lead producers behind the film and is rumoured to be producing the second one.

Brokeback Mountain (2005)

Cast: Heath Ledger, Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Williams, Anne Hathaway

Old Town Road may have been knocked from the number one spot on the Billboard Hot 100 but nothing says yeehaw like the bisexual duo of Ennis Del Mar, played by Heath Ledger, and Jack Twist, played by Jack Gyllenhaal. Brokeback Mountain tells the tale of the relationship of Del Mar and Twist who meet when they’re both hired by a farmer to herd sheep. Set against the backdrop of the Wyoming mountains in the summer of 1963, Del Mar and Twist develop a sporadic sexual affair that continues long after their initial encounter on Brokeback Mountain. And though the pair both find wives, Del Mar with Alma (played by Michelle Williams) and Twist with Lureen (played by Anne Hathaway) the lovers still rekindle their affair on their annual fishing trip. The film received three Academy Awards and today is still considered a staple of LGBTQ cinema.

Call Me By Your Name (2017)

Cast: Armie Hammer, Timothée Chalmet, Michael Stuhlbarg

It was the film that captivated everyone in 2018, with its picturesque Northern Italy aesthetics, evocative soundtrack and on-screen romance. You would have to be living under a rock to not know about Call Me by Your Name. While the film has received critical acclaim and mainstream attention, there has been much confusion about the sexuality of the protagonists Elio (played by Timothée Chalmet) and Oliver (played by Armie Hammer), with many fans believing that the characters are gay when in actual fact they’re bisexual. The film starts when Oliver, a 24-year old undergraduate, arrives at Elio’s parent’s summer house as he has been invited by Elio’s father, Samuel, to stay and work on his academic papers. Over the summer, while riding bikes and swimming in the lake, the two develop an intimate relationship. Yet running adjacent to this, Elio still manages to pursue a romantic relationship with his long-time friend Marzia played by Esther Garrell, while Oliver ends up engaged to a woman. The famous line in which the book name derives from summarises the intensity of the characters of the relationship over the summer: “Call me by your name and I’ll call you by mine.”

Colette (2018)

Cast: Kiera Knightly, Fiona Shaw, Dominic West

Kiera Knightly being in a biographical drama is a film worth watching. But Keira Knightly playing a bisexual writer is a biographical drama is a film you have to see. Colette tells the tale of Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette, a young woman from Northern France. Set in the 19th Century, Colette eventually moves to Paris with her husband Willy who refers to himself as an “literary entrepreneur” because he employees ghost writers to write novels for him. When hard times comes, Willy implores Colette to write a novel based on her school days which he later publishes under his by-line. The film sees Colette exploring her identity after the novel’s release which leads to her having an affair with Missy who is a French socialite played by Denise Gough. The film has been considered by critics as Knightley’s best performance yet.

Frida (2002)

Cast: Salma Hayek, Alfred Molina, Geoffrey Rush

Many people know Frida Kahlo for her surrealist Mexican influenced art that dominated the 20th century, but what many people may not know was that the artist was openly bisexual. The name sake film starts by showing the origin story of the artist, played by Salma Hayek, and how she started painting. Throughout the film, we see Frida develop a relationship with the muralist Diego Rivera, played by Alfred Molina, who both encourages her art and her sexual promiscuity with women. Altogether, Hayek plays the part accurately and with ease making it a film worth watching.

Gia (1998)

Cast: Angelina Jolie, Faye Dunway, Elizabeth Mitchell

Gia is the hidden gem of the bisexual film industry. The biographical film sees Angelina Jolie take on the role of one of America’s first supermodels Gia Marie Cargini. At the beginning of the film, Gia moves from Philadelphia to New York City to become a super model. Upon landing in the big apple she catches the eye of the agent Wilhelmina Cooper, played by Faye Dunway, and quickly starts making her way up the fashion industry ladder. But after Cooper’s death, Gia begins to spiral resulting in the model seeking solace in drugs and begins a love affair with Linda, a makeup artist played by Elizabeth Mitchell.

Moonlight (2016)

Cast: Mahershala Ali, Naomie Harris, Trevante Rhodes

What could be worse than the 2017 travesty of The Academy accidentally giving La La Land the award for Best Picture instead of Moonlight? The answer is you not watching the bisexual experience that is Moonlight. Moonlight spotlights the story of Chiron and the three different chapters of his life titled: Little, Chiron and Black. The film tells the tale of Chiron and his experience growing up in a world full of drugs and violence as well as his relationship with his long-time friend Kevin.

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2011)

Cast: Daniel Craig, Rooney Mara, Christopher Plummer

The murder mystery The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo sees Daniel Craig hang up his James Bond suit and putting on a hat of a financial reporter by the name of Mikael Blomkvist. His investigation into the 40-year-old murder of Harriet Vagner leads him to working with Lisbeth Salander an investigator that is played by Rooney Mara. Salander is considered an enigma not only for her hacking skills but also her relationship with men and women.

The History Boys (2006)

Cast: Richard Griffiths, Frances de la Tour, Clive Merrison, Dominic Cooper, James Corden, Russell Tovey

Deriving from the much-loved play by Alan Bennett, the film focuses on a class of charismatic, unruly, boys and their pursuit to get into Oxbridge. Throughout the film you bare witness to each boys journey of trying to fit an academic criterion while at the same time trying to understand themselves. You see the character of Posner, played by Samuel Barnett, struggle with his homosexuality while the character of Dakin, played by Dominic Cooper, crosses into the realms of bisexuality when a new professor arrives. The film is a testament to the fluidity of sexuality and knowledge, summarised in the quote from Bennett “the transmission of knowledge is an erotic act.”

Copyright www.gaytimes.co.uk