CANADA: Activists Issue Request For Emergency Visas To Evacuate Endangered Gay Men From Chechnya

Via press release:

With recent reports of abductions, detentions, enforced disappearances, torture and deaths targeting gay and bisexual men in Chechnya, a Canadian non-profit human rights organization announced today an emergency response plan to assist those in danger. Founded in 2006, Rainbow Railroad actively assists LGBTQ people escape danger through its global network of safe routes.

“Since we first received initial reports of gay concentration camps being established in Chechnya, Rainbow Railroad immediately re-classified Eastern Europe as a priority region,” explains Executive Director, Kimahli Powell. “This means we’re expanding our on-the-ground contacts as well as increasing our capacity to identify and assess new or alternative safe routes out of Chechnya.”

To assist in this effort, Rainbow Railroad is working closely with the Russian LGBT Network, a non-governmental organization currently leading the campaign to rescue those facing danger in Chechnya. The two organizations will work together to identify individuals who need to be evacuated – with Rainbow Railroad providing direct travel assistance.

“An important part of our emergency response plan is to support the Russian LGBT Network in their rescue campaign,” says Powell. “This includes fundraising to support the organization while allocating resources to increase the number of people we can support in the region.. In addition, we are formally requesting the Canadian government provide direct assistance to those in need by way of emergency visas.”

Donations to the Rainbow Railroad can be made here. The clip below is from last year.

  • Boreal

    Never heard of this group. Making a donation now.

    • Hue-Man

      I recently posted this story and picture from last year’s Toronto Pride.

      One of the people in his circle was a well-connected scholar and activist, Scott Long, who put [Bassel] Mcleash in touch with Toronto’s Rainbow Railroad, an NGO that specializes in helping LGBT folks around the world escape persecution, imprisonment, torture and possible death.

      Mcleash was the first person approved for the organization’s new program to sponsor LGBT Syrians to come to Canada after the new Liberal government promised to bring in 25,000 Syrian refugees late last year.

      Five months after Rainbow Railroad offered to help him, Mcleash walked through security at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport, a permanent resident of Canada.
      Photo caption: “Bassel Mcleash, right, is thrilled to march in his first ever Pride parade next to Justin Trudeau, the first sitting Canadian prime minister to ever march in a Pride parade. (Canadian Press)”

      • Lumpy Gaga

        [waves back]

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      • Richard, another Canuck

        I was so proud to be there. This was one of the moments when my tears flowed freely.

    • Todd Allis
    • gothambear

      I had not either and am spreading the word on Facebook and making a donation. Canada scores again in enlightenment and compassion!

  • FAEN

    The US government(such as it is)’protests’ while Canada tries to save lives. Enough said.

  • bkmn

    Reminder – do not hold your breath waiting for positive action from the present US misadministration.

  • Acronym Jim

    See Niki Haley? This is how it’s done.

  • billbear1961

    We will donate!

  • Lazycrockett

    Canada once again making the country directly to its south look like a clueless piece of shit.

    • GayOldLady

      In other words, making the country directly to it’s South look exactly like what it is.

    • M Jackson
      • narutomania

        Trudeau is wondering, “Ugh. Did he wash after grabbing his last pussy? Does it smell like Melania? or Ivanka?”

    • Todd20036

      For all of Trump’s yapping about the poor babies in Syria, here he could do real good.
      Instead he does nothing.
      But hey, he’s an advocate of LBGTs. Right?

    • kcken

      Yin and Yang down here right ?
      One step forward, two back.
      Bill Clinton was certain friendly, GOP passed DOMA and DADT
      After twenty some years we win at the SC for equal marriage, and now some of the states are doing everything they can to make our lives miserable.

      Guess we all have our priorities ….

  • billbear1961

    Thank you for DOING something!

  • Michael

    Conspiracy theory:

    Russia knows and supports the camps, they rigged the election, put in the most anti-gay people possible and will be getting rid of Trump & bringing the camps here.

    It wouldn’t surprise me once Pence is in power he’ll be going after us in more than one way.

    • JaniceInToronto

      Those assholes in D.C. are going to try to make the gay illegal, and they have the power to do it. I feel sorry for you guys. Punch a non-voter in the face for me, eh?

  • Lars Littlefield

    This is great news. A rainbow underground railroad was my first reaction to the Chechnya problem. Although I’m not Canadian I think it would be great to give all the Chechnyans hospice in Winnipeg. Hear me out. I don’t have anything against Winnipeg or the Chechnyans. But Winnipeg is cold with a similar climate as in Chechnya, so less problems with refugees acclimatizing to their new environment. Second, Winnipeg is a great city often overlooked by the rest of Canada and the world. It could use an infusion of lots of new LGBT blood to prop up the small LGBT population that already exists. Winnipeg has the largest rail yards in all of Canada, (and probably the US, too). Imagine the fun of setting up a new gay bar in a bunch of rail cars that could be moved around for convenience — even LGBT sojourns to other Canadian cities for Pride events. There are so many possibilities. 🙂

    • marshlc

      Winnipeg also has serious cultural chops. Active and accomplished theatre, arts and music scenes.

      • Lars Littlefield

        Don’t forget Winnipeg’s world-class ballet company. It’s up there with the Kirov (Marinsky) and ABT, possibly a bit ahead of ABT (shock and horror).

        • Jean-Marc in Canada

          It’s also home the Canadian Museum of Human Rights…apropos indeed.

          • Lars Littlefield

            And to be fair, it’s cold as fuck in the winter!

          • Jean-Marc in Canada

            Oh I know, there’s a reason we call it Winterpeg

          • prixator

            And occasionally (often) outside of winter, too. I visited once in October and it was COLD.

  • Jon Doh

    Thank you Joe for posting this info and donation link. It feels good to do something to help.

  • Rex

    Compassion, what an underused concept.

  • kcken

    CANADIAN: Let’s watch a movie
    AMERICAN: Have you seen Titanic?
    CANADIAN: What’s that aboot?
    AMERICAN: Yes, it was. A huge one that sank

    • Natty Enquirer

      That’s jokes.

    • Tempus Fuggit

      It’s almost cute how Americans think Canadians say “aboot”.

      • The only person I’ve ever met who said “aboot” was from Virginia.

      • kcken

        Apparently if i say “house” or “garage” it’s a dead give away.

        • safari

          What about roof?

          • kcken

            I’ll bring that up in a conversation and get back to you , eh.

        • Jon Doh

          I learned Canadian from watching HGTV, not from living near the Canadian border for many years.

    • kcken

      I texted that joke to my BF (American) then I had to explain it. HAHAHA..

      OMG I love him 🙂

  • Hue-Man

    Some are claiming the 40,000+ Syrian refugees have closed down spots for LGBT refugees – see link. My guess is it’s an unintended consequence of moving all your immigration resources to deal with a large number of Syrian refugees, leaving fewer bureaucrats to handle the “normal” refugee claimants, including LGBT.

  • david fairfield

    It wouldn’t even occur to the Trump administration to do something this amazing and heroic.

    • SFBruce

      Of course not. Trump used his own foundation, an organization to which he contributed little, buy huge portraits of himself, and to pay off his legal obligations. That’s what philanthropy is for the orange one.

      • prixator

        I have no proof, but I don’t believe he has ever (willingly) done anything in his entire life that didn’t provide some benefit to him.

  • CatApostrophe

    Thanks for the donation link! Couldn’t give a lot this time but gonna pass it on!

  • j.martindale

    While we can do something palpable here to help the situation by making a contribution, one thing we could encourage our government to do is match their rhetoric with action. The people that are being helped by this organization will need a place to go. The United States should offer free haven to the Chechnya gay refugees. Ambassador Haley should be encouraged to take this concrete step to assist those in need.

    • ChrisMorley

      tRump isn’t a fan of Muslims. Chechens are mainly Sunni Muslims.

      I’m guessing one of two major reasons the US isn’t keen to actively intervene to protect gay Chechens is because they are Muslims.

      • Lumpy Gaga

        We need to make donations in Rex Tillerson’s name.

  • Robert Anthony

    Thank you for posting this Joe!

  • CanuckDon

    I must say that Rainbow Railroad’s promotional video is very well done. Rather than using a photo gallery of heartbreaking images, we get to see three dedicated, compassionate individuals who we’ll trust with our donations. That’s a very important thing these days with the wide array of charities. I’m proud of these people….wishing I could do more myself.

  • narutomania

    Any help that can be given to adult gay men, lesbians, and bisexual and transgendered persons to get them to safety is, of course, a wonderful thing.

    But I cannot help thinking about the gay and lesbian teenagers, or those who are even younger who are yet to grown into themselves. What about them? They are going to grow up in a region of country with fewer and fewer adults to help them.

    • Silver Badger

      Your solution?

    • Jean-Marc in Canada

      Actually, there are many adults who spirit the kids away with them using fake ID’s and such. That said, more could be done for the younger ones who can’t pass.

  • Dan M

    Emergency Visas to Canada? Trump’s going to have build a second wall to keep them out of the U.S. 🙂

    • kcken

      A lot of Canadians I know are avoiding coming here anyway. He won’t need the wall…

      • JWC

        I will not cross the 49th for any reason haven’t since 911

        • JaniceInToronto

          You could not drag me across the border with a tractor.

          Nope. Too crazy there. Too many hateful assholes, including Trump, but particularly Sessions. He is beyond horrible.

        • prixator

          Last time I was in the U.S. was June 2001. Don’t think I’ll ever go again. No desire to go there (but I used to go often and enjoyed myself).

          • JWC

            I agree The part that turned me off the most was that I worked at a major Canadian airportThere I had access to all parts of that facility Including US Customs We had a good report always exchanging jokes Then 9/11 happened and it was serious stiff business no joking It was as different as Night and day and us still that way today

          • prixator

            My aunt/godmother lives in California and I visited often from age 10 to 36. At one point, I even entered the green card lottery.

            Then my aunt married a Republican and she just totally changed. She was the first person in my family that I came out to and she and her daughter were always trying to set me up with some guy.

            After she married this guy, she became Republican, mean and anti-gay. Our last exchange was her telling me that gay people had enough rights and didn’t deserve marriage. Haven’t spoken to her since.

            Sort of symbolic of how my opinion of the States has declined to the point of not wanting any further contact.

    • whollyfool

      Pretty sure we’ll need the wall for traffic in the other direction….

    • EyeJelly

      If there’s ever a wall along the US/Canada border, I don’t think it’s the Americans who’ll be building it.

  • Gene Perry

    Yeah, Canada! Now, will US join efforts? The UN? Waiting …

  • Thanks Joe. I donated and posted on Facebook about this.

  • Lumpy Gaga

    Whoops. Did I dive in too soon? I donated to that other group (the one run by the “Jew from New York”). I thought their $6K goal was modest for the stated purpose… Anyway, all tapped out now.

    • John

      I don’t get the reference. Who is the “Jew from New York”? Is that a slur, by chance? If so, just who is slurring whom? A confusing post, for me at least.

      • Lumpy Gaga

        A right-wing take on wikipedia (not “Conservapedia”, but it turned up on the first page of Google hits – I remember now what it was but I’m not giving it any more hits) described the organization that way (as well as categorizing it under “Organizations founded by Jews”).

        Both of those delectable bon mots were extracted from the edit history of the entry “describing” the soliciting org, which was running a fundraiser to help get gays get out of Chechnya.

        (And let’s not forget “Sexual Bolshevism”!! But, do we ever?)

        Sealed the deal. They got my money.

    • NancyP

      If you mean “All Out”, that is a media campaign organization – petitions, etc. – and not a practical get-money-to-pay-off-(whomever)-to-get-LGBT-out organization like Rainbow Railroad. I wanted to find an asylee resettlement organization, and this Rainbow Railroad seems appropriate, given that Canada is a more likely destination and also in better odor with Rest Of World at the moment than the USA.

  • Lumpy Gaga

    When Taboola teases:

    What Mariska Hargitay Looks Like Now is Crazy

    do they mean she actually looks crazy?

  • Ninja0980

    Meanwhile our government talks tough but aren’t doing a damn thing to help them.
    Actions speak louder then words.

  • Jean-Marc in Canada

    Proud to say we donate regularly. Ever since the purges in Uganda and Botswana. They do great work.

  • Claude Jacques Bonhomme

    I went to donate, but got a warning from my browser that the site is not secure. They don’t seem to have a valid certificate. I wrote to both their credit card processing service and their info line. I’ll wait for reassurance.

  • Claude Jacques Bonhomme