I’m sure that by now you’ve learned about the terrible situation for LGBT Chechens. For more information, here’s a link to Human Rights Watch.
When I learned about Dale Cameron Lowry and Olivia Helling’s project, Readers & Writers for LGBT Chechens, I knew I wanted to be involved somehow. This blog post is part of it, but more about what we can do to help below.
First of all some background to why I feel so strongly about this: I am a Swedish bisexual woman, currently living in Malaysia. Just like Chechnya, Malaysia is a traditional muslim country. And just like Chechnya, it’s dangerous to be LGBTQIA+ in Malaysia.
I moved from a country that’s considered very gay-friendly, to a country where it’s against the law to be homosexual. In Malaysia, people can be imprisoned for being gay. In Malaysia, being transgendered is considered questioning the wisdom of Allah, which is forbidden, and can also lead to imprisonment or murder.
The prime minister of Malaysia compared being LGBT to ISIS, and here they want to start using psycho-spiritual therapy at the hospitals to cure people of being LGBT.
Moving from a LGBT-friendly country to Malaysia was difficult. It made me re-evaluate the acceptance and freedom I’ve always taken for granted. Living in a country where I have to worry about the rainbow pin I’ve attached to my purse, has been an eye-opener.
I fear for my gay friends here. I fear for the cute, young gay couple I saw in the isle of a grocery store who had their pinkies hooked discreetly together. They flew apart when they saw me, but relaxed when I smiled at them and pointed at my rainbow pin.
No one should ever have to worry about holding hands with their partner. No one should ever have to be afraid of being murdered for who they are. No one should ever have to be fear execution by their own government because of who they love.
I can’t believe that we live in a world where this still happens. And I can’t just sit by and do nothing. So when I heard about this initiative, I had to help.
First, I doubled my entire first royalty payment and donated it. Then, I wrote this blog post.
If you are able to help, consider donating some money to any of the organizations listed here. Buy a book from any of the authors so generously contributing their profits to this cause. Or bid on any of the items in the online auction where the proceeds will go to this cause. A lot of fabulous people offer their services and things to be auctioned off, and the auction doesn’t end until Sunday May 13th so there’s still time.
If you don’t have money to spare, sign a petition (Amnesty, All Out or Avaaz). It will only take a second, but any little thing is meaningful.
Here’s a summary of ways you can help.