LGBTQcelebrities, including Troye Sivan, Ellen Degeneres and Billy Eichner, are encouraging their fans to take action against the gay men being systematically persecuted by Russian authorities in Chechnya.
Related | Here's How You Can Help Stop Chechnya's Gay Concentration Camps
Hundreds of queer men have been rounded up, tortured and killed this month in Russia using prison-style "gay concentration camps." Russian opposition newspaper Novaya Gazeta first reported the news, sharing that gay and bisexual men, between the ages of 16 and 50, have been detained by authorities over the last few months "in connection with their nontraditional sexual orientation, or suspicion of such."
As the horrors facing Chechnya's LGBTQ population become clearer, Degeneres shared Amnesty International's tweet yesterday and wrote: "Things happen these days & it's hard to believe they're real. And yet they are. If this is happening in Chechnya, the world needs to rise up"
Sivan, who was recently honored with GLAAD's Stephen F. Kolzak Award, shared a Daily Mail article about the news, and wrote the simple, effective phrase, "SILENCE = DEATH."
Meanwhile, Eichner called out Russian President Vladimir Putin, saying, "THIS IS NOT A JOKE, PEOPLE."
With evidence of gay concentration camps increasing, a spokesperson for Chechnya's Russian-backed leader, Ramzan Kadyrov, has denied any mass targeting.
Gay people simply do "not exist" in the republic, he claimed, adding, "If such people existed in Chechnya, law enforcement would not have to worry about them, as their own relatives would have sent them to where they could never return."
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