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Home / Press Release / Human Rights First Honors International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia with Call To Action for Persecuted Chechens
May 17, 2017

Human Rights First Honors International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia with Call To Action for Persecuted Chechens

Washington, D.C. - In honor of International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia (IDAHOT), Human Rights First today celebrates the work of human rights activists around the world who promote and protect equality for some of the most marginalized and persecuted lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) communities. This year the organization marks the occasion by calling for immediate action to end the persecution of gay and bisexual men in Chechnya.

“IDAHOT is a moment for the global community to come together to stand up against discrimination and violence, it’s when we can unite in working to create a world where all people are afforded the same rights and dignity,” said Human Rights First’s Shawn Gaylord. “At a moment when gay and bisexual men are imprisoned in camps and being abused in Chechnya, the global community must demand action, it must demand justice.”  

IDAHOT is an annual day celebrated around the world by LGBT activists, allies, and human rights organizations, commemorating the anniversary of the the World Health Organization's removal of homosexuality from its list of officially recognized mental illnesses. Human Rights First's monthly feature titled “Voices for Equality” highlights the crucial contributions of activists to the global human rights movement by profiling an activist working on behalf of equality for all.

In April, independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta reported on the mass detention of over one hundred men “in connection with their nontraditional sexual orientation, or suspicion of such.” During the crackdown at least three men have been killed. Journalists reporting on the situation have been threatened by Chechen government officials and clerics. In addition to the deaths, survivors reported beatings and torture, as well as being forced to disclose the names of other suspected gay men in the region. As the crisis continues, LGBT organizations on the ground are evacuating victims from the country.

Today, more than 50 members of Congress signed onto a congressional resolution in support of the goals and ideals of IDAHOT. Introduced by Representative Barbara Lee (D-CA), it calls attention to the negative effects of homophobia, transphobia, and discrimination and calls for full equality and inclusion for members of the LGBT community.

Yesterday evening, Human Rights First hosted a reception to honor IDAHOT featuring Representatives David Cicilline (D-RI), Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY), as well as Lyosha Gorshkov, co-president of the Russian-Speaking American LGBT Association. The theme of the evening was “#EyesOnChechnya” in honor of the ongoing struggle of gay and bisexual men being persecuted in the Russian republic.

For more information or to speak with Gaylord please contact Christopher Plummer at plummerc@humanrightsfirst.org.