$300,000 to rescue LGBT Chechens; next event: Hong Kong

Fundraiser to help LGBT Chechens will be held June 2 in Hong Kong.
Fundraiser to help LGBT Chechens will be held June 2 in Hong Kong.

LGBTI rights supporters have raised $300,000 or more to help Chechens whose lives are in danger because a homophobic crackdown in Chechnya. The next fundraiser will be in Hong Kong.

Fundraisers have included one on Facebook that raised more than $256,000, according to the Los Angeles Blade. Proceeds go to Rainbow Railroad — the Canadian organization that works to help LGBTQ refugees in crisis. In this case, it works with the Russian LGBT Network to help endangered Chechens reach safety.

Image from a Chechnya fundraiser in San Francisco.
Image from a Chechnya fundraiser in San Francisco.

A further plea for Chechen relief collected $35,000 on Facebook. Like the earlier one, it used a new fundraising feature offered by Facebook.

The effort has been international. Relief efforts have been launched by many groups, including ones in Finland, Sweden, the United States, and the United Kingdom. Information on the Hong Kong fundraiser is below.

Fundraisers have been both online — on GoFundMe.com, on AllOut.org and on Booster.com— and face-to-face — in San Francisco, California, U.S.A; Manchester and Bristol, England, U.K.;

This is the announcement of the June 2 fundraiser in Hong Kong:

Hong Kong Loves Chechnya fundraising event

30 May 2017

Planet Ally Coalition Organizes Charity Fundraiser for Chechen LGBTI Community

Planet Ally, an international LGBTI advocacy group, is spearheading an event to raise money and logistic support to aid LGBTI individuals in escaping persecution in Chechnya. This event will take place on Friday 2 June from 19:00 to 22:00.

Several organizations, including Rainbow Railroad, the Russian LGBT Network, and All Out funding campaigns have pooled their resources to coordinate efforts to help LGBTI individuals escape the persecution they are facing in Chechnya. Human Rights Watch has noted that LGBT individuals in Chechnya face persecution including torture, imprisonment and “honour” killings.

The event will include a Skype session with organizers from Rainbow Railroad, an expert panel discussion on LGBTI refugees, and live performances from local Hong Kong entertainers Les Fight and La Chiquitta. Interested parties can help by attending the event and donating money or air miles to help at-risk individuals escape persecution. Local LGBTI establishment FLM is hosting the event and offering standard drinks for $50 HKD to support the organizing effort.

Bess Hepworth, Founder of Planet Ally and lead organizer for the event, stated, “true allyship has no borders. The situation in Chechnya is absolutely dire and it’s vital our LGBTI community and our allies speak out and act in solidarity and support our brothers and sisters at risk in Chechnya right now. We must ensure that kind of LGBT persecution this doesn’t escalate into blueprints for hate in other regions of the world.”

For more information: planetallyapp@gmail.com

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About Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, and editor / publisher of Erasing 76 Crimes. Contact him at info@76crimes.com.

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