GAYLETTERGAYLETTER

Photography by Spencer Schutte Smith

Saturday 10.14.17

MARCH WITH VOICES 4 CHECHNYA

When news first broke of the queer Chechens being rounded up, beaten, imprisoned and murdered, it was honestly hard to believe. When The New Yorker covered it a few weeks later, I admit that my passivity on the topic turned sour, meaning my initial denial became full-blown fear. A lot of you reading are probably thinking, “OK” — well that just makes you an asshole, which is fair! But seriously I read so many things on the internet everyday, when it comes to LGBTQ+ community news, I’m always apprehensive to believe what’s being reported. We used to be a community that operated solely by word of mouth, and I think my gay heart still honors that. I first met Adam Eli in the street at Pride, which I note because he’s now a go-to voice for contemporary LGBTQ+ activism. He sent me a note about Voices 4 Chechnya which “is a group of New Yorkers who are passionate about using their privilege as out Americans to bring about change around the world.” On Saturday, October 14, they will rally at Stonewall and march to Tr*mp Tower to help raise awareness and money for those LGBTQ+ people attempting to flee Chechyna’s murderous escapade. V4C hopes to procure humanitarian parole visas and allocate proper funds for so LGBTQ+ Chechen’s can resettle. “Every day queer Chechens are rounded up, abducted, tortured and killed. Over twenty Chechens have escaped and are living in safe houses in mainland Russia, with no way out. Head of the Chechen Republic, Ramzan Kadyrov has denied the existence gay people in Chechnya, and refers to them as subhuman, including the approval of familial honor killings.” As Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera taught us, we have to speak up to bring safety to our global community.

FREE, 2:00PM - 5:00PM, The Stonewall Inn, 53 Christopher St. NY, NY.