I’ve been writing on the holocaust of gay men in Chechnya for over a month. As world leaders have begun to speak out things seem to be getting even worse. Even Angela Merkel has pressured President Putin of Russia into promising he’d look into these events. President Kadyrov of Chechnya has said this whole situation is fictitious and lies made up by people from the west and journalists.
As I wrote in a previous article Kadyrov went on Russian T.V. and promised all gay men would be killed or exiled from Chechnya before Ramadan, the High Holy Day of Muslims, which starts on May 26th.
Here is just a brief description of what happened to this gay teen in Chechnya as shared in the magazine “Snob”. In his interview he includes the story of a 17-year-old boy’s death. The 17-year-old was pushed off of a 9th floor balcony by his uncle, after being outed. His story begins when he went to his mullah (a religious scholar) and told him in confidence about his sexuality. The mullah responded, saying, “As a Chechen and as a man I do not want to see you here. Neither in the mosque, nor in this district. I want you to leave now, because everything you said is the most disgusting thing you can find out. I hope your relatives have the dignity to wash away your shame. Go away”. Family members are currently being encouraged to weed out LGBT-identifying people and “wash the shame” away of their gay relatives. If they refuse to “sort it out”, the state has promised to intervene” (source). When a mullah uses the term “Wash away your shame” they mean that the gay person die by honor killing at the hands of their own family.
I’m going to share a few excerpts from the story in “Snob” but I would ask that you read the entire tragic story of this young man’s life. In the article he will tell you about his first true love and how that came to pass. More importantly he shares with you the abuse of his family against him, the love of his mother who he’d rather tell he has cancer and is dying than tell her he is gay. He tells you of when he was picked up in a black car and told he just needed to go to the police station to give a 30 minute statement as a witness. Instead he is whisked away where he was nearly beaten to death, ribs, nose and bones splintered and broken while being kicked by large military style boots filled with something heavy intensifying the pain he felt in his back and kidneys.
Here are just a few paragraphs from the article as translated through Google Translate.
2000: “We always had a lot of detentions on any grounds – you know how many times my mother bought me? And when I was 19 years old, a soldier shot me in the leg. People have been tortured here since the year 95. The first time I was detained because I was gay, in two thousand. (link)
2011; The gays were caught, beaten and made very easy money. The amount was determined by the status: the higher the status, the more money was required. I met with the guy for three years – there was a strong attraction, we each approached in everything. This love, probably, was not between Romeo and Juliet. He was a little literary man, I also – the novel then tried to write the mountain. And he wrote poetry. My mother knew him as my friend, we did not show a relationship. I lived only with my mother in a big house, so basically he stayed with me.
2012: My young man was detained, severely beaten. He was threatened: if he does not bring money, they will tell all his relatives. They beat him with a (electric) current, they wanted him to give out three more (names). Under torture you do anything, when they use force, when the pain is unbearable. He broke down and named me and another guy from Nalchik – no one else knew. But I had to get home. I had a mother – old & sick… I could not bring her such trauma: she was expecting that she would have grandchildren. For me, the mother was more important than himself, I was ready to kill myself a hundred times than to tell such things.
2014: I came back to my mother .…I wanted her doctors to cure her – they do unreal things. My mother was told: your son is pidaras (faggot) he deceived us – he promised to surrender people and knocked over. He needs to return home, or we will force him back. Mom was forty-ninth year of birth, she has three classes of education, she does not know the words “pidaras”. It was a day after I left that I received a message that my mother had a massive heart attack simultaneously with a stroke, and if I do not come, I can not see her. I broke up and flew home… Mother was already paralyzed, without feelings. In 18 days she died. I buried her and left. I did not find out what she learned from them, and what did not. They morally killed me.
2017: I got a residence permit in the country where I live now, they protected me, gave me an apartment, social allowance. They sent us for lessons – my memory is very bad because of stresses, it’s difficult to give a local language. Now I’m looking for an easy job for my level of language – a driver, for example. I often go to rehabilitative events – we are driven by psychiatrists, psychologists. When the migration police were interviewed, the employee burst into tears from my story. All because I’m gay. I did not want to be gay. I did not choose this path. But what should I do if I’m like this? I understand that this is abnormal, this is a deviation. I still somehow hate myself. I hate myself this way. Not only myself, I hate all gays. I hate those who want gays to live free. What freedom? This link) will take you to the story translated into english.
This is just a very small section of the article in “Snob” (link). I urge everyone to read the complete article to understand the torment and torture these gay men live through daily fearing for their lives. They despise themselves because they are taught they are deviant and worthless as humans. Please ask others to read this story to understand why it is up us to continue to speak out against this ongoing human rights crisis in Chechnya.