Videos courtesy of ACT UP/NY:
https://youtu.be/U575_QVnoQI - Activists stage memorial
https://youtu.be/NxTed-OnPb8 - Lyosha Gorshkov of RUSA LGBT
https://youtu.be/Q9QLYsq5IIM - Yelena Goltsman of RUSA LGBT
https://youtu.be/NwUd-WFNmCw - Milk Queen from Rupaul’s Drag Race
https://youtu.be/7Xmlqv2RKik - Rabbi David Dunn Bauer of Beit Simchat Torah
April 24, 2017 – New York, NY – Over the weekend, Russian-speaking LGBT activists and their allies protested and staged a memorial for the LGBT people tortured and murdered over the past month in Chechnya as part of anti-gay persecutions there.
About 60 activists chanted and held a rally outside the Russian Consulate in New York City. The event was organized by RUSA LGBT, a US-based LGBT network for Russian-speaking LGBTQ individuals, their friends, supporters and loved ones.
Lyosha Gorshkov of RUSA LGBT said, “We are here to support our compatriots, our Russian-speaking LGBT community in Chechnya, and also we are here to demand human rights for everybody.”
RUSA LGBT was joined by activists from ACT UP/NY (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power), Human Rights First, Rise and Resist, and Caribbean Equality Project as well as religious leaders from Beit Simchat Torah. Activists chanted slogans like, “Queer Chechens under attack! What do we do? ACT UP! Fight Back” and “Kadyrov, you can’t hide, we charge you with genocide” in reference to Chechnya’s current leader, Ramzan Kadyrov, who despite denying reports of purges has made many public statements dehumanizing gay Chechens.
Still, many activists found hope in Saturday’s memorial and show of solidarity. "The most important thing, happening today, is your presence, and your support! It is more valuable than money," said Yelena Goltsman of RUSA LGBT.
After the rally, many activists left flowers and signs asking that US visas be granted to LGBT Chechens on the doorstep of the Russian Consulate.