Metro Weekly

GLAAD calls on Trump to condemn anti-gay persecution in Chechnya

Organization joins chorus of voices warning White House that "time is not on the side" of LGBTQ Chechens

GLAAD is calling on President Donald Trump to personally condemn a series of attacks in the Russian region of Chechnya against men suspected of being gay.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley has previously spoken out against the anti-LGBTQ violence in the region, calling on authorities to investigate and put a stop to any detention, torture, or murders of LGBTQ people. But the White House has been largely silent on the issue.

“President Trump must speak out in support of human rights and against the anti-LGBTQ violence in Chechnya,” Sarah Kate Ellis, the president and CEO of GLAAD, said in a statement. “Ambassador Haley’s statement was a step in the right direction, but President Trump and the United States must take a stronger role in keeping LGBTQ people safe and holding those responsible for these attacks accountable. LGBTQ rights are human rights, and it’s up to the United States to lead the effort in protecting LGBTQ acceptance across the globe.”

According to reporting from news outlets in the region, as well as survivor testimony, more than 100 gay and bisexual men in the predominantly Muslim republic were rounded up and placed in concentration camps.In the process of rounding up the men, several prisoners were tortured and electrocuted under interrogation, so that they might identify other gay men they knew.

At least three men have been killed in the pogrom, including one who died while being tortured and two others who were murdered in “honor killings” by relatives after police eventually released them.

GLAAD is adding its voice to that of the New York Times editorial board, which urged President Trump to acknowledge and condemn the atrocities, warning: “Time is not on the side of gay people living in terror in places like Chechnya.”

According to the British Foreign Office, Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov intends to have the republic’s gay community “eliminated” by the start of Ramadan, which kicks off on May 26, reports the U.K.-based PinkNews.

In addition to Haley, the State Department has expressed concern about the news reports regarding the detention and abuse of gay and bisexual men, condemning such actions and saying it is “deeply disturbed” at reports that some Chechen authorities appear to be inciting violence against LGBTQ people.

Others speaking out against the abuses include former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former Vice President Joe Biden, U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus, and foreign ministers from the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Australia, and Canada.

John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at jriley@metroweekly.com