Proceeds from On His Knees by Adira August go to save lives of gay Chechens through May 31. This erotic drama is gritty and gut-wrenching as it portrays the psychological effects of a gruesome crime scene on a seasoned homicide cop.
I was thrilled when Jo Tannah told me last month that she wanted to participate in Books Save Lives with two titles — including one that she'd previously published with Wayward Ink, The Way You Look Tonight. Books Save Lives is a project of Readers & Writers for LGBT Chechens that raises funds for the Russian LGBT Network and other charities helping gay men escape Chechnya, where police are currently conducting a campaign of terror against anyone they suspect of being gay. Here's an interview I did with Jo last February when The Way You Look Tonight first came out.
The Readers & Writers for LGBT Chechens online auction, held May 6–13, raised a total of $2,709 USD for four organizations that are working to bring gay Chechens to safety. This brings the total raised so far by the group to $10,326. Readers & Writers for LGBT Chechens continues to offer ways for both writers and readers to get involved.
The BBC reports good news for some of the 43 men who have escaped Chechnya, where their lives were in danger from an anti-gay campaign being conducted by the Chechen authorities. Nine men being assisted by the Russian LGBT Network have been granted visas to countries offering refuge outside the Russian Federation.
French LGBTQ rights groups filed with the International Criminal Court Monday to accuse Chechnya of carrying out a “gay genocide."
With the Readers & Writers for LGBT Chechens charity auction ending tomorrow (get your bids in!), we've gotten a ton of support from writers around the blogoverse, and for that I'm grateful. A quick round up of a few that posted today, one from days ago that I missed in a previous roundup, and a poem that is timeless in its relevance.
Four Russians and an Italian were detained by Moscow police on Thursday when they attempted to deliver petitions containing 2 million signatures asking the Russian prosecutor general to look into the Chechen government's persecution of men perceived to be gay, Agence France-Presse and Australia's SBS News reported.
Lately, one of my favorite times of day is checking out all the blogs that are talking about ways to save the lives of LGBT Chechens. Back before the internet, few of us would have known about what's going on in Chechnya, and fewer of us would have been in a position to help. But that's all changed. We may not be able to change government policies or social prejudices in one fell swoop, but we can provide real, tangible assistance to many of the men who've been swept up in Chechnya's anti-gay purge — men who would have had no place to turn only a few years ago. Here are a few excerpts from the blogs I visited this morning.
Thanks to My Fiction Nook, Diverse Reader, and authors Annabeth Leong, Lisabet Sarai and Sarah Hadley Brook for drawing attention to the situation in Chechnya and the Readers & Writers for LGBT Chechens fundraising auction. Annabeth wrote a post on her author blog that did a great job of capturing one of the things we're trying to do at Readers & Writers for LGBT Chechens — build up people's spirits with great queer stories while dealing with tough realities that continue to threaten our community.
digitalSTAGE has created this heartbreaking short play, Unchechen, based on news reports and interviews with survivors of the attempted purge of homosexuals in Chechnya. It consists of monologues by a father and his son, who has been arrested on suspicion that he is gay. Watch it, then write a letter or sign a petition to express your concerns to Chechen and Russian authorities.
Author Nell Iris wrote a moving post today about the situation in Chechnya and ways to help. In it, she talks about her experiences living in a country where being gay is against the law.
Jeff Adams & Will Knauss of the Big Gay Fiction Podcast highlighted the Readers & Writers for LGBT Chechens online charity auction in their last two episodes. You can check the most recent episodes in the links in the post.
Chechen president Ramzan Kadyrov's has threatened to "eliminate" the gay community in Chechnya by the end of May. As pressure increases on LGBT Chechens, more are sure to flee, and they need our support to find a safe place to land.
"How can I be more kind?" It's a question at the heart of the poetry of Hafez, a Sufi mystic often quoted by pirate captain Salim al-Mandri, the beloved in this time-travel romance. And it becomes a crucial question for our hero Dylan, who's not sure how to square his affection for Salim with his revulsion for violence. Falling for a Pirate by Meredith Bond is an adventurous romance with a philosophical soul.
The Russian LGBT Network is saving the lives of gay/bi Chechens, and those perceived to be gay. In an audio interview with NPR, the network's communications director talked about the dozens of men they have helped evacuate from Chechnya over the past month or so, as well as the Russian government's inaction. She said that international pressure has led to some minimal response, and that more pressure could help. So get involved!
- Russian LGBT Network — Organization working directly with LGBT Chechens.
- ILGA-Europe — organization providing funds to LGBT/humanitarian organizations in the Russian Federation who are helping LGBT Chechens get to safety
- Help Save the Lives of LGBT Chechens — FAQ that answers common questions Westerners might have about the effectiveness of LGBT humanitarian aid in Chechnya and the Russian Federation.
- Rainbow Railroad — Canadian organization working with the Russian LGBT Network to get fleeing Chechens to countries where they will be safer.
- American Friends of Rainbow Railroad — A fundraising organization for Rainbow Railroad. U.S. taxpayers who want to deduct a charitable donation from their income taxes can donate here.