More than 100 gay men have been detained in concentration camp-style prisons in the Russian region of Chechnya, according to reports by local newspapers and human rights organisations.

The arrests are being made as part of a widespread anti-LGBT purge in the area. The prison camps are the first to be established for LGBT people since the Second World War.

The information was first published by the Novaya Gazeta, an independent Russian newspaper, which reported that men were being arrested and kept in concentration camp prisons where violence and abuse is commonplace.

Repressions against the LGBT communitybegan after an application for a gay rights march in the Chechen capital of Grozny.

A prison camp has reportedly been established in the town of Argun, according to eyewitness testimonies.

The report was published on the 1 April, prompting the spokesperson for Chechnya’s Interior Ministry to dismiss the claims as an “April Fools’ joke”.

The press secretary for Ramzan Kadyrov, the head of the Chechen Republic, described the report as “lies” and stated there were no gay people in Chechnya.

****“If there were such people in Chechnya, law-enforcement agencies wouldn’t need to have anything to do with them because their relatives would send them somewhere from which there is no returning,” he said.****

Human rights organisations have corroborated the information published by Novaya Gazeta.

“For several weeks now, a brutal campaign against LGBT people has been sweeping through Chechnya. Law enforcement and security agency officials under control of the ruthless head of the Chechen Republic, Ramzan Kadyrov, have rounded up dozens of men on suspicion of being gay, torturing and humiliating the victims,” a report by Human Rights Watch states.

“Some of the men have forcibly disappeared. Others were returned to their families barely alive from beatings. At least three men apparently have died since this brutal campaign began.”


anonymous asked:

hply shit. Chechenya's (an autonomous region of Russia) recently opened concentration camps for LGBT peoples. 100 gay men have been captured and 3+ have died

I don’t even have the words for this.

Human Rights Watch states:

For several weeks now, a brutal campaign against LGBT people has been sweeping through Chechnya. Law enforcement and security agency officials under control of the ruthless head of the Chechen Republic, Ramzan Kadyrov, have rounded up dozens of men on suspicion of being gay, torturing and humiliating the victims. Some of the men have forcibly disappeared. Others were returned to their families barely alive from beatings. At least three men apparently have died since this brutal campaign began.

This chilling information was first publicised by Novaya Gazeta, a leading independent Russian paper. Their report came out on 1 April, prompting the spokesperson for Chechnya’s Interior Ministry to dismiss it as an “April fools’ joke.” Kadyrov’s press secretary immediately described the report as “absolute lies and disinformation,” contending that there were no gay people in Chechnya and then adding cynically, “If there were such people in Chechnya, law-enforcement agencies wouldn’t need to have anything to do with them because their relatives would send them somewhere from which there is no returning.”

Mass pro-Kadyrov rally organized by Chechen authorities in Grozny in January 2016.

Chechnya’s official news agency, Grozny Info, quoted numerous local commentators bashing Novaya Gazeta and other “enemies” of Chechnya and Russia for supposed attempts to discredit the Chechen people, “foster sodomy,” and undermine “traditional values.”

The information published by Novaya Gazeta is consistent with the reports Human Rights Watch recently received from numerous trusted sources, including sources on the ground. The number of sources and the consistency of the stories leaves us with no doubt that these devastating developments have indeed occurred. LGBT Network in Russia opened a special hotline to provide emergency support to those who find themselves in immediate danger.

The Russian LGBT Network has released a statement with stories about what has happened to some (obviously anonymous) men.

It’s really important to share the Russian LGBT Network’s statement overall:

The Russian LGBT Networks is highly disturbed and concerned about the information on the kidnapping and killing of people in Chechnya because of their sexual orientation. We are also outraged by the reaction of the officials of the Chechen Republic, who in fact justify the killings.  No national and/or religious traditions and norms can justify kidnapping or killing of a human being. Any references to “traditions” to justify kidnappings and killings are amoral and criminal.

The Russian LGBT Network makes every effort to contact the victims and to provide the emergency support. Taking into account the recent statements of the Chechnya officials, we believe that the only thing that can work out is the evacuation. We cooperate closely we the human rights defenders both in Russia and abroad, and ready to evacuate.

On Monday, the Russian LGBT Network will appeal to the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation with two claims. The one is the demand to investigate the information on the crimes, published in “Novaya Gazeta”. Another one is the claim to check whether the public statements of the Chechen officials made on April 1 and justifying the killings, contain the elements of the offence.

We are grateful to everyone who contacted us and asked how they can help. What do we need now?

  • Help us to spread the information about the fact that the Russian LGBT Network is ready to evacuate people. Please think for whom this information can be useful. You can spread the information publicly or personally. Everyone who needs help can contact us by email or call the Hotline (8 800 555 73 74). The call is free all over Russia.
  • In accordance with the Russian legislation, every citizen can apply to the Investigative Committee with the demand to investigate the information about the crime published in mass media. We encourage everyone to apply (the template of the claim will be published tomorrow).

We understand that many people want to help those in need. But please remember that any uncoordinated actions can put in additional danger people in need and those who are ready to help. Therefore, we do not recommend to collect the addresses of people who are ready to provide temporarily shelter.

Be aware, that the situation with the human rights in the North Caucasus is truly difficult. Now people’s lives are endangered and the only way to help is the evacuation. The Russian LGBT Network has the necessary resources to evacuate people, there is a team that already makes every effort to safe lives. That is why we ask everyone to share with us the information about people in need and any offers of assistance.

Again, their contact information is here for all Russians, and the number is free to call.

This is very real, modern day evil and this information needs to be shared.
Chechen police 'have rounded up more than 100 suspected gay men'
Russian newspaper says it has evidence that at least three men have been killed in ‘prophylactic sweep’ in Chechnya

A respected Russian newspaper claims it has uncovered evidence that police in the southern Russian republic of Chechnya have rounded up more than 100 men suspected of homosexuality and that at least three have been killed. The report in the investigative newspaper Novaya Gazeta said it had confirmed the information with sources in the Chechen police and government, but gave no further details. “In Chechnya, the command was given for a ‘prophylactic sweep’ and it went as far as real murders,” Novaya Gazeta reported. The report was denied by the spokesman of the Chechen president, Ramzan Kadyrov, who suggested there were no gay people in the Muslim-majority region.

no offence but if anybody on this fucking website would have bothered to actually translate the original novaya gazeta article instead of blindly spreading the most sensationalist fear-mongering condensed misinfo in the world we wouldn’t be having this shit
for all of you who are still living under a rock: the current crisis is happening to GAY MEN in CHECHNYA. the article also mentioned that the vast majority of them were SEXUALLY ACTIVE ADULTS and many were PUBLIC FIGURES. this is a very fucking specific demographic! if your “q*eer russian friend” that you’re worried about is a 15 yr old bi girl living in moscow she’s fine and most likely hasn’t even heard of this - they’re not exactly advertising what they’re doing there on national television holy shit
what i mean is fucking stop spreading panic, i genuinely freaked out at seeing posts that went “concentration camps are starting throughout russia” fearing for my own life until i found out that’s not at all what’s happening. obviously this is still a major crisis and completely utterly devastating news but it’s not the beginning of a country-wide cleanse, it’s happening in a very specific cultural and societal context (extreme religious conservatism) and would not happen elsewhere in russia

anonymous asked:

VERY URGENT: I have 2 (possible) school trips coming up; one to Germany,(should be fine) for music and one to Russia (:/) for History. I was wondering how safe these places are to go as a bisexual trans guy? Also, is it legal for my college to stop me rooming with other boys/force me to room with girls? So I know.

Germany shouldn’t be an issue, although Russia is potentially more problematic.  It’s well worth doing as much research as you can about the places that you’re going to be going before committing to the trips.  The Wikipedia pages for LGBT rights in Germany and Russia might be a good starting place and the ILGA also has some information, although this is primarily regarding sexuality rather than trans status.

Page 24 of the Transgender Schools Guidance encourages schools to fully consider and risk assess both sleeping arrangements and overseas trips.

Unfortunately, the law is rather vague when it comes to your rights in terms of which room you stay in.  Page 128 of the Equality Act 2010 Technical Guidance for Schools (in England) says that:

9.6 - In refusing to admit a pupil to communal accommodation because of sex or gender reassignment, the school must take account of:
• whether and how far it is reasonable to expect that the accommodation should be altered or extended, or that further accommodation should be provided; and
• the relative frequency of demand or need for the accommodation by persons of each sex.

9.7 - In addition, in refusing to admit a pupil to communal accommodation because of gender reassignment, the school must also take account of whether this is a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim.

The relavent part of the Equality Act 2010 legislation can be found here.

The above means that if they can justify preventing you from staying with the boys then it is lawful for them to do so.  Whether they can justify it is likely to depend on the bathroom facilities associated with the rooms.

~ Alex

Russia being transphobic again

Russia stands out of the pack again! Now in being terribly transphobic.

There’s this idea in Russia that videogames are for straight white boys only. Well, it isn’t a new concept but let’s face it: now game developers are trying to address to different categories of people. So does Ubisoft when they’ve included a FtM transgender into the last Assassin’s Creed game.

His name is Ned Wynert, and this is a part of his in-game profile (via Assassin’s Creed wiki).

And this is his profile in Russian (took it from the game via Fraps).

They are quite similar, except for one thing. In Russian version Ned Wynert is addressed as ‘she’. 'He must have been quite a fan of rain’ = 'She must have been quite a fan of rain’ and so on. So, instead of showing Ned as a transgender character, Russian translaters have turned him into a 'female in male clothes’. What a great representation. Ubisoft would be proud of how LGBTQ+ community saw their game.

I can even find the logic in this translation (well, I live in Russia). They probably thought that the audience (straight white boys, remember?) would accept a female in male clothes but not a transgender.

It’s quite ironic that they have translated an opening title as it is.


On October, 6, HBO premierred a documentary «Hunted: A War Against Gays In Russia». I have been waiting for it to release since I became aware it existed — I am a Russian bisexual person living mostly in the closet myself and I interact neither with LGBT-activists nor with the hate criminals. I knew about some hateful actions, but just knowing about them and seeing them is very much of a difference.

There are some things I’d like to point out.

  • The subtitles aren’t made very well — they miss and trivialize a lot of things said, especially when there is a lot of fast speaking. For example, when the Nazi girl (it happened after the events shown in the movie did, but «Occupy Paedophilia» leader with the Russian word for «Hatchet» for a nickname was indicted and found guilty in nationalitic hate propaganda and now is serving five years in a maximum security prison; his followers are no better than him as you can see) says «check him for shit» she does actually mean «check if he has weapons on himself» but says it on the nazi-skinhead and hooligan slang.

    Do you see the difference? A gang of bullies and hateful criminals wanted to make sure their victim had absolutely no chance to defend himself. And they let that guy go away rather easily just because they didn’t want the director to have footage of beating, urine showering and other kinds of torture they commit. This would have made them look kind of bad, you know, since from what they say they don’t want to have an image of torturers. They think of themselves more like of Paladines on a righteous mission.

  • The most common slurs against male gays are «pidor» and «pidaras» («queer» and «faggot», literally «pederast»). These words aren’t just slurs, they are the strongest offences among inmates, criminals and just lots and lots of males (straight by default) in Russia. In Russian tradition, being gay means being not a full-fledged male, being weak, feminine, crippled, pathetic and miserable all at once, ergo, being titled with any of gay slurs means being called all of the above. And unfortunately, «paedophile» sounds just like those words and I believe such consonance makes a great deal, let alone all the propaganda.
  • Yes, I would like to let alone the propaganda, but I can’t. It’s everywhere.

    Russia is enormous, and the most common resource of information is television. I mean, there are thousands and thousands of people who have no Internet access, who just choose to watch TV at their spare time to relax — and what do they see? Right. They see pro-government propaganda (every single news channel is one way or another controlled by the government), then they go to church and get told about the «abomination» and how gay people serve to the Devil himself, as you could see a preacher talking about it in the documentary. Then these everyday ordinary people go home and share the sacred knowlege with their children, and on it goes.

  • By the way, the original creator of the infamous homophobic law is the deputy of Saint-Petersburg’s Senate Vitaliy Milonov. He is an Orthodox bigot and serves at a local church as a sexton. After Stephen Fry met him while making his own documentary about homophobia, Milonov said Mr. Fry had «poor vocabulary» for saying «are you serious?» all the time.
  • Gay relationship officially stopped being a criminal activity just 20-22 years ago (this isn’t much for a country that exists since 862 A.D.), yet gay people have always been frowned upon, if not laughed at. I was born in 1993 in post-Soviet Russia, and being gay has always been a weird thing, having any sexual activity (even holding hands, for God’s sake) with a person of your gender has always been disgusting and provocative for mocking and bullying; and an accusation of being gay has been the most terrific offence even among kids.

  • In this atmosphere the government decided to unleash the hatred.
    To appoint the man who once said in a live airing show «gay people’s organs must not be used in transplantology and the bodies of them wicked must be burned to dust to make sure nobody gets an organ infected with gayness» to a position of somewhat Goebbels-alike Minister of Propaganda.
    They decide not to investigate hate crimes, but to charge peaceful people who want to hold their partners’ hands in public of «gay propaganda».

I want this to stop. I’ve lived all my life here and it was hard, but I don’t want it to be that fucking unbearable to lots of people. I don’t want to stay in the closet just because if I go out of it, my mother will certainly forbid any communication between me and my younger sister whom I love very much. I’m so done with the hateful bullshit I face every day, and yet I am happy I didn’t face the Alex DeLarge-style violence which lots of gay people did.

Please reblog this. Let people know about how it is here.

Look, I am definitely not telling anyone from the LGBT community “Do not come in Sochi”. I mean, uh, to Sochi. I am just saying, you know, stay homo…uh, home…to protect the purity of the children and all. Ah, why must this be so hard? This situation, I mean! I’m not hard, the situation is hard. Bah! I just want everyone to have fun. Is that so wrong? The truth is that I love you gays…um…guys. I love you guys. That still totally sounds queer, does it not?

Masha Gessen is a prominent journalist who is also a lesbian and an outspoken LGBT rights advocate in Russia. She and her partner and children left for New York following the anti-gay laws that affect LGBT families. Today on Fresh Air she discusses consequences of these laws:

What [the anti-gay propaganda law] means is that any portrayal of LGBT people, LGBT relationships and LGBT families is now illegal in Russia if it’s accessible to minors, which of course is a problem for LGBT families because we are ourselves examples of LGBT families and are by definition accessible to minors who live in our own homes.

So the natural consequence of these laws is a campaign against LGBT parents which began with the second law, … which is a ban on adoptions by same-sex couples or single people from countries where same-sex marriage is legal. … It’s not just new adoptions, it can be used retroactively to annul adoptions that have already taken place.

… It’s Putin’s effort to shore up his constituency around this very vague but very potent idea of traditional values — the Russian family, the orthodox religion — and against the West. Nobody represents the alien West in Russia better than LGBT people do.

Part of the reason for that is because there was never any conversation about sex and sexual orientation in Russia. While the Western world was having the sexual revolution, we were having the Soviet Union. So this is really the first time that issues of sexuality, as absurd as that sounds, have been brought up in the public arena in Russia.

image via the huffinton post

Here I am congratulating Evgeni Plushenko on helping secure the gold for Russia in the team figure skating competition. I am also warning him that his shirt is probably a violation of the anti-gay propagandizing law.

Homophobia in Russia Is Taking a Kafkaesque Turn

LGBT organizations declared foreign agents in one fell swoop, gays being blacklisted by banks, employers, and landlords—welcome to the new reality of being LGBT under Putin.

We all know things are bad for LGBT people in Russia, right?

In fact, we have no idea. In an exclusive interview with The Daily Beast, Tatiana Vinnichenko, director of the Russian LGBT organization Rakurs, revealed how much most of us in the West don’t know about Russia’s anti-gay crackdown. And all of it is bad news.

First, official state prosecutions and persecution of LGBT organizations has morphed and intensified. Previously, LGBT organizations were pressured to register as “foreign agents”—spies, basically—but those registrations were subject to judicial review. The results were uneven: Some courts rubber-stamped the government’s positions, but others found a lack of evidence and ruled for the LGBT organizations.

Earlier this year, says Vinnichenko, the law was quietly changed. Now the government has the power to declare an organization a foreign agent as an administrative matter. In other words, what was once a matter of law, however imperfect, is now a matter of bureaucracy. With one fell swoop—and one that can come at any moment, without warning—a gay community center, or film festival, or support group can be branded a spy.

The St. Petersburg-based LGBT organization Coming Out has been immersed in Russia’s Kafkaesque bureaucracy for months, having endured four hearings to ascertain whether it is a foreign agent. But it has endured, thanks to the rule of law. Without that protection, Coming Out would have no recourse. And once one is labeled a foreign agent, even routine administrative errors can result in criminal prosecution.

“We are being boiled in a pot,” Vinnichenko said.

The foreign agents law and the “anti-propaganda law” are really just the tip of the anti-gay iceberg, however. The newest phase of Putin’s campaign has been, ironically, privatization.

According to Vinnichenko, Russian authorities are putting pressure on all kinds of institutions—banks, landlords, employers—not to do business with LGBT people and LGBT organizations. Because licenses are required for just about everything in Russia, this “pressure” is existential. Banks are being told, “Dump your LGBT customers, or we’ll shut you down,” she said.

In Vinnichenko’s case, the threat is immediate and personal. A mother of two, she works for the Northern Federal University. Her employers have been pressured from above and have in turn demanded that she stop her advocacy work. “I am going on leave, because you cannot be fired while on leave, but as soon as I return, I expect to be fired,” she said. How she will replace her lost income, especially as she is publicly blacklisted, she has no idea.

Rakurs’s bank and landlord have come under similar pressure. Vinnichenko says all banks have been told that if they have any LGBT organizations as clients, they will lose their licenses; it’s just a matter of time until all of the organizations’ accounts are closed. And the local LGBT community center she runs, she says, is in danger of losing its lease and will have nowhere else to go. No one will rent to her.

This subcontracted homophobia has largely escaped the notice of the Western media so far. It is off the books, so to speak, propelled by threats and extortion rather than overt acts like legislation or prosecution. And it has plausible deniability. “Putin is asked about LGBT people whenever he goes abroad, and he just lies or says he doesn’t know,” said Vinnichenko. “But he knows the situation—he’s the homophobe in chief.”

Surprisingly, Vinnichenko—like other Russian LGBT activists I’ve spoken to—insists that Western pressure would be helpful, despite the obvious potential for backlash. “We’re going to lose anyway,” she said, with typically Russian fatalism. “The only question is whether anyone will know about it.”

What she has in mind is for the Russian businesses participating in the privatization of homophobia to be confronted overseas. She points to her own university, which frequently partners with other European and American universities. “The president should be picketed everywhere she goes,” Vinnichenko said. So, too, should the leaders of banks and other businesses.

And Vinnichenko is calling for the United States to follow Canada in providing expedited and “favored” review to LGBT applicants for asylum.

Including herself? I asked Vinnichenko what’s keeping her in Russia, and she replied: “Everyone I know. Not everyone can leave—there are people without enough money, without specialized skills, women with children. How can I leave them?”

But her altruism does have limits. The Duma is considering a law that would strip children from LGBT families like Vinnichenko’s. “This bill is in committee and could be voted on at any time,” she said. “They could do it tomorrow.” If the bill were to become law, Vinnichenko predicts “a mass exodus” of LGBT families, including her own.

For the moment, she is staying. But even her resilient stance carries a strong sense of hopelessness. “So far,” she said, “I have not been physically threatened. No one writes anti-gay graffiti on my door—they write it on the organization’s office door. If nothing changes, I think I could stay another two years.”

Via The Daily Beast.