You may have heard the news coming out of Chechnya, part of the Russian Federation, where police are kidnapping gay men (and those they perceive to be gay) and taking them to camps for torture. Several state-sanctioned murders have also been reported.
Readers & Writers for LGBT Chechens is raising money for organizations working directly with gay men and other persecuted LGBT people in Chechnya and the northern Caucasus. We do this through direct donations, donating royalties to these charitable organizations, and an online auction that runs through Saturday, May 13, at 12 noon CDT (6 pm BST and 3 am Sunday morning AEST).
‘Standing Together Is Important’: Two Voices on Helping LGBT Chechens
At first, Petra Howard of Dragonsfly Edits wasn’t sure how to get involved in fundraising for LGBT Chechens. She’s not an author and so auctioning out autographed copies of books isn’t an option for her, nor is setting aside royalties. Then she realized she could help by donating her services to the auction. She’s offering two services: proofreading and edits for works up to novel-length.
“It breaks my heart that we live in a world where people can’t be who they are, can’t love the people they love openly and freely, and where religion is the underlying reason for why this is the case,” Petra says. “There are very few people who can affect change on their own so, standing together—fusing our voices—is important. Not to say: ‘Look at me, I’m trying to make a point.’ But to say: ‘We will not stand by and let our brothers and sisters think they are alone.’”
Texas author Laura Stone, who donated a set of three signed gay romance novels to the auction, adds, “As both a queer woman and the mother of three LGBT children, gay rights have been at the forefront of my mind, especially as we live in a conservative part of the United States. But that is nothing–nothing–compared to what our LGBTQ friends are being forced to suffer and endure in regimes like Chechnya, Russia. I write stories of love and hope, always with the promise of a family who will love and accept them, and I’m committed to adding that voice to the world with the hope it can one day drown out voices of hate.”
- To learn more about the situation in Chechnya — including news updates and how to make a direct donation to a designated charity — visit Readers & Writers for LGBT Chechens
- Buy books with royalties going to help vulnerable Chechens
- Bid in the Readers & Writers for LGBT Chechens online charity auction
- Sign up to attend our Facebook event and invite friends. It’s a great way to keep up-to-date.
Authors, Publishers and Artists
If you’re an author or artist who would like help out, please sign up at Authors & Publishers for LGBT Chechens. There, you can also find answers to frequently asked questions about royalty donations, the charitable organizations that are helping LGBT Chechens, and more.
Laura Stone, novelist, ghostwriter and media blogger, balances her writing life with being a Master Gardener and raising her three LGBT children. She lives in Texas as proof that it’s not completely populated by hard-line right wingers, and because that’s where the good tamales are.
Petra Howard is the owner of Dragonsfly Edits (Twitter: @DragonsflyEdit). Her aim is to get more people, especially children and young adults, to read. Anything and everything in general, but ‘Rainbow Tribe’ literature in specific.