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Putin agrees to investigate Chechnya's anti-gay purge

by Heather Cassell

Russian President Vladimir Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin  

Russian President Vladimir Putin is reportedly bowing to international pressure to investigate the detention of gays in Chechnya.

Gay Times reported May 8 that Putin told Russia's human rights ambassador, Tatyana Moskalkova, that he would personally approach the prosecutor-general and the interior minister in Chechnya, following growing international pressure for him to help bring an end to an anti-gay purge.

This is the first time that Putin has acknowledged and commented on the persecution of gays in Chechnya after more than a month of outrage from LGBT activists.

"I will talk with the prosecutor general [and] the minister of internal affairs so that they [can offer you] support in the issue," Putin told Moskalkova, according to Russian-controlled media outlet RIA Novosti.

A little more than a month ago independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta broke the news about the arrest and detention of an estimated 100 men suspected to be gay in Chechnya.

The newspaper also alleged that three men were killed by authorities. However, the Russian LGBT Network estimates as many as 20 men have been killed, reported the Human Rights Campaign.

Additionally, Chechen police have instructed parents to kill their gay children, according to media reports. On May 5, reports surfaced that a 17-year-old gay teen was pushed off the ninth floor of a building by his uncle with his family's support, reported Gay Star News.

An unidentified survivor told the media outlet that the persecution of LGBT people in the region isn't uncommon and has been happening since 2009.

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) pleaded with President Donald Trump to take action. In a May 5 letter she asked that Russian LGBTs be allowed to seek refuge in the U.S.

"While the United States demands that Russia stop these vile abuses, we must also provide a lifeline for refuge and resettlement for the innocent LGBT Russians being brutalized and murdered because of who they are and who they love," wrote Pelosi.

The Trump administration has been relatively quiet about the atrocities happening in Chechnya with the exception of a statement last month from the State Department that expressed concerns about what is happening in Chechnya. Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, also spoke out against the anti-gay purge.

AllOut is petitioning Putin, urging him to investigate the allegations. Sign the petition at


SF to turn out for IDAHOT

San Francisco LGBT activists will gather on International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia Wednesday, May 17 to celebrate the past year's wins and protest ongoing atrocities.

A custom-made 10-foot pink triangle will serve as the backdrop at Harvey Milk Plaza as LGBT activists continue to pressure Russia to act against Chechnya, according to a May 8 news release from Gays Without Borders.

Patrick Carney, who co-created the giant pink triangle installed on Twin Peaks over Pride weekend, will speak about the significance of remembering the LGBT Holocaust victims.

Carney is one of several speakers who will be at the rally, Gary Virginia, with Gays Without Borders, wrote in an email.

The activists will hold a moment of silence in honor of the victims in Chechnya.

In turn the protesters will also demonstrate against the ongoing murders of transgender individuals and urge resistance against President Donald Trump's threats to the LGBT community in the U.S.

The rally will also celebrate the release from prison that day of Chelsea Manning, the transgender former Army intelligence analyst.

Manning, 29, was convicted of leaking secret information to WikiLeaks. She had the bulk of her 35-year prison sentence commuted by President Barack Obama days before he left office in January.

She began her transition during her seven years in prison.

IDAHOT was created in 2004 to bring attention to the violence LGBT individuals face around the world.

Code Pink San Francisco is also a co-sponsor of the event.

The IDAHOT rally in San Francisco will take place from 6 to 7 p.m. at Harvey Milk Plaza, Market and Castro streets. Participants of IDAHOT events globally will post actions on social media using the hashtags #IDAHOT and #IFED2017 to inspire and encourage others to raise their voices.

For more information, contact Virginia at (415) 867-5004.


Trikone to hold rights workshop

Trikone, the South Asian LGBT organization, is hosting a "Chit, Chaat, and Chai: Know Your Immigration Rights" interactive workshop Saturday, May 20 from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. at API Equality Northern California, 17 Walter U. Lum Place, San Francisco.

The workshop is being led by two Bay Area-based immigration attorneys, Aliya Karmali and Aradhana Tiwari. Participants will learn how to respond to immigration officials at key points where they are most-likely to interact with them, such as airports, borders, in the workplace, and at home.

The workshop is supported by the Gay Asian Pacific Alliance, National Center for Lesbian Rights, and Asian Pacific Islander Queer Women and Transgender Community.

The event is accessible and near BART. Reserve a space by May 15 at


Bermuda legalizes same-sex marriage

Bermuda's supreme court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage May 5.

The current marriage act is "inconsistent with the provisions of the Human Rights Act as they constitute deliberate different treatment on the basis of sexual orientation," said Puisne Judge Charles-Etta Simmons.

"In so doing the common law discriminates against same-sex couples by excluding them from marriage and more broadly speaking the institution of marriage," she continued, reported the Royal Gazette.

The courthouse roared with applause, according to media reports.

"The ruling today is more than me and pieces of paper. It's more than any of that, it is what it means for Bermuda moving forward," said Winston Godwin, a Bermudian and one of the men who launched the court case.

However, not everyone is applauding.

Anti-same-sex marriage group Preserve Marriage in Bermuda was critical of the ruling, calling out Simmons for deciding to "redefine the institution of marriage," an unidentified representative said in a statement from the organization to the Gazette.

The decision came to the British territory after a long court battle waged by Godwin and his Canadian fiance, Greg DeRoche, after the men attempted to register to marry, but were denied by the registrar-general.

The two men argued that the Human Rights Act took precedence in Bermuda.

Just a year ago Bermudians voted against same-sex marriage 69 percent to 31 percent.

Homosexuality was decriminalized in Bermuda in 1994.

Following the ruling, the two men told reporters that they planned to resubmit their marriage application.

The new law goes into effect immediately.


Got international LGBT news tips? Call or send them to Heather Cassell at Skype: heather.cassell, or


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