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‘Voices 4 Chechnya’ Sets Date for NYC March to Demand Action

Voices 4 Chechnya
Voices 4 Chechnya

“It is crucial to recognize these people as victims of genocide.” 

Though the gay purge in Chechnya has fallen to the wayside in favor of fresher headlines for the largest media outlets in the country, gay Chechen men still live their daily lives in fear that they could be abducted and tortured by their own government.

On October 14, 2017, Voices 4 Chechnya, a New York-based group plans to march from the Stonewall Inn to Trump World Tower demanding action in the form of humanitarian parole visas from the U.S. government for the persecuted LGBTQ Chechens in Russia.

Related | Chechnya Has Reportedly Resumed Its Gay Purge

"Every day queer Chechens are rounded up, abducted, tortured, and killed," the group said in a release. "Over 20 Chechens have escaped and are living in safe houses in mainland Russia, with no way out."

News of the ghastly situation in Chechnya broke earlier this year when tales of survivors began to leak into the global news stream. When confronted, Chechen president Ramzan Kadyrov denied any sort of government-sponsored program rounding up gay men, because according to him there are no gay men in Chechnya. He went on to suggest familial honor killings if people found out any of their relatives were indeed gay.

Related | Sec. of State Rex Tillerson Didn't Bring Up Chechnya's Gay Purge in Meetings with Russia

"Humanitarian parole visas are essential because, currently, tourist visas are no longer an option," the group said. "These individuals are hiding from their relatives, and the Chechen and Russian governments, making applying for tourist visas virtually impossible. It is crucial to recognize these people as victims of genocide, and the humanitarian catastrophe currently taking place in Chechnya."

Voices 4 Chechnya leaders say they were inspired by the peaceful protest methods of other contemporary LGBTQ+ groups like Act Up! and Gays Against Guns. The group certainly has its work cut out for it trying to get the Trump administration to act. Over the summer when a Trump official met with a Russian official, he didn't even bring up Chechnya during their conversation, citing a lack of time. The Voices 4 Chechnya March takes place October 14, 2017 at 2 PM, starting at the Stonewall Inn, 54 Christopher Street.

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Dennis Hinzmann