Taboo Until Genocide: Gay Purges in Chechnya

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Taboo Until Genocide: Gay Purges in Chechnya

Demonstrators lay roses on a rainbow flag as they protest over an alleged crackdown on gay men in Chechnya outside the Russian Embassy in London on June 2, 2017. 
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on May 30 insisted there were

Demonstrators lay roses on a rainbow flag as they protest over an alleged crackdown on gay men in Chechnya outside the Russian Embassy in London on June 2, 2017. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on May 30 insisted there were "no facts" in reports about the persecution of gay men in Chechnya, as he batted away criticism levelled by French leader Emmanuel Macron. Macron on May 29 pressed Russian President Vladimir Putin over an alleged crackdown on gay men in the North Caucasus region of Chechnya as they met for the first time in Versailles. / AFP PHOTO / Justin TALLIS (Photo credit should read JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP/Getty Images)

AFP/Getty Images

Demonstrators lay roses on a rainbow flag as they protest over an alleged crackdown on gay men in Chechnya outside the Russian Embassy in London on June 2, 2017. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on May 30 insisted there were "no facts" in reports about the persecution of gay men in Chechnya, as he batted away criticism levelled by French leader Emmanuel Macron. Macron on May 29 pressed Russian President Vladimir Putin over an alleged crackdown on gay men in the North Caucasus region of Chechnya as they met for the first time in Versailles. / AFP PHOTO / Justin TALLIS (Photo credit should read JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP/Getty Images)

AFP/Getty Images

AFP/Getty Images

Demonstrators lay roses on a rainbow flag as they protest over an alleged crackdown on gay men in Chechnya outside the Russian Embassy in London on June 2, 2017. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on May 30 insisted there were "no facts" in reports about the persecution of gay men in Chechnya, as he batted away criticism levelled by French leader Emmanuel Macron. Macron on May 29 pressed Russian President Vladimir Putin over an alleged crackdown on gay men in the North Caucasus region of Chechnya as they met for the first time in Versailles. / AFP PHOTO / Justin TALLIS (Photo credit should read JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP/Getty Images)

Erin Yaney, Staff Writer

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The LGBT community has made a plethora of victories in the past two years – Australia legalizing same-sex marriage, most American states banning conversion therapy, and over 150 LGBT candidates being elected in the 2018 midterm election. However, it is easy to forget how homophobic our society is. Homophobia is still a major ruling factor in people’s lives – and can dictate whether they live or die.

Chechnya – or the Chechen Republic – is a federal subject of Russia located in the southern part of Eastern Europe. Chechnya has not been safe for tourists and their citizens since the First Chechen War in 1994. Today, it is one of the most troublesome regions in the world with its terrorist threat is extremely high. Recently, the Chechen Republic has been in the news for their newly proposed “gay purges.” The Russian LGBT network stated that since December, 40 people have been imprisoned; however, it is most likely much more. According to BBC, “the report was compiled using evidence including survivor testimony – and made allegations of harassment, persecution, torture, arbitrary arrests and extrajudicial killings of minorities, including LGBT people.”

The leader of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, is initiating a “cleansing” of Chechnya by detaining the gay and lesbian population. This policy is not new to Chechnya; the Chechen government has already been accused of abducting and torture LGBT people once before in 2017. Kadyrov, of course, denied the allegations, saying that there are no gay people in Chechnya, and if there were, their families would kill them. According to EATG.org, Kadyrov’s spokesman, Alvi Karimov, said: “‘You cannot arrest or repress people who just don’t exist in the republic.” It is one unforgivable act to deny the existence of many – but it is monstrous and vile to abuse and murder those you claim to not exist. According to the Washington Post, Kadyrov said in 2017, “‘We don’t have those kinds of people here. We don’t have any gays. If there are any, take them to Canada.”‘ Canada is not a concentration camp.

The atrocities that happened in the concentration camps during the Holocaust have lasted decades. Those stories haunt history, families, and us as a society. Those same atrocities are happening again. Why isn’t this plastered everywhere? Why aren’t more people talking? Why isn’t anyone interfering? The hypocrisy of it all is overwhelming.

America has the luxury of free speech – the privilege of speaking up for what we believe in, the privilege to march if we are ignored. We can change what is unfair and unconstitutional. The LGBT people in Chechnya do not have that same luxury. They do not have that freedom. Tanya Lokshina said, “These days, very few people in Chechnya dare to speak to human rights monitors or journalists even anonymously because the climate of fear is overwhelming and people have been largely intimidated into silence.” What the Chechen government is doing – beating, electrocuting, exorcizing, slaughtering – is unacceptable. We must stand against the execution of a minority, of a community. We should not, and quite simply cannot, let history repeat itself.

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About the Writer
Erin Yaney, Staff Writer

Erin Yaney (10) is a new writer for Shark Attack. She is involved in the GSA (Gender-Sexuality Alliance), ITS (International Thespian Society), worked...

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Taboo Until Genocide: Gay Purges in Chechnya