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Queer rights are human rights

chechnyaimage

 

“Добро пожаловать в 20 век”

 

That’s Welcome to the 20th century in Russian. Because this week feels like we’re looking 100 years back in time.

 

Reports of concentration camps have surfaced. And the stories aren’t unclosed cases from Nazi-Germany, or investigations into 1940s European governments. They are stories of today. Of camps that exist as I write this.

 

Hundreds of gay, and possibly bisexual men have been captured, thrown into camps, tortured and some even killed in the Chechen Republic of Russia (Chechnya). The Chechen government not only deny this, but refuse to acknowledge that gay men exist in their country.

 

So, in the words of the chant that resonated outside the Russian Embassy last night…

 

“When our community is under attack, what do we do? Stand Up. Fight Back.”

 

As Fiona and I stood among the crowds, surrounded by pink flowers, rainbows, homemade signs and powerful chants, there was an overwhelming feeling of solidarity. Not only with those standing next to us, but with those who are thousands of miles away, who don’t share our rights. And our freedoms to love who we love and be who we are.

 

Charities including Pride, Stonewall and Amnesty stood among hundreds of protesters. And it made me think…

 

If our goal is to create change, is it always best to ask for money upfront? Probably not. People are sociable. They want to stand (in person or online) alongside others who share their beliefs. Together people are stronger.

 

Demonstrating and protesting is hands on. It’s in the moment. It is a moment. You might even call it experiential marketing.

 

For the likes of Amnesty and Stonewall, it’s inherent to their being. But I feel that other charities have a huge opportunity to engage their supporters to stand with them on the issues they care about. It may not create immediate donations, but it could well create long-term relationships, trust, and perhaps most importantly, change.

 

To show your support, add your name to Amnesty’s petition here…

https://www.amnesty.org.uk/actions/stop-abducting-and-killing-gay-men-chechnya

 

 
Joe

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