This is your friendly Ex-Muslim. Most of us are straight. We don’t have to worry about being in a relationship, holding hands, giving a peck on the cheek or kissing our loved one, or showing our love in any way. We are privileged enough to not have to worry about “coming out” or “getting married”.
Imagine you were gay. If you are in the west, chances are you’d still be okay here. In most cases at worst you might get some dirty looks or some rude comments. Sometimes abuse, but you will have every right to pursue charges and fight the abuse and discrimination.
But not in Chechnya. Islam is the predominant religion in Chechnya, practiced by 95% of those polled in 2010. So it’s no wonder that in Chechnya, you can be beaten up violently, killed, thrown in jail. The status quo has to stay at any cost. Nobody is allowed to be gay, or to promote homosexuality.
But what does that even mean – promote homosexuality? It’s such a stupid thing to say. Nobody is promoting it, we just want equal rights for our LGBT brothers and sisters in humanity. That’s all. Religious groups get special privileges, tax exemption, and even government funding to spread their anti-gay hatred. They straight up promote their crap. LGBT individuals just want to live their lives THE SAME WAY as anyone else. Just EXISTING can be a problem.
Since 2017 there have been reports of kidnappings and purges of gay men from Chechnya. Even men who escaped Chechnya and went to Russia were kidnapped and sent back, probably with the support of the Russian government.
Recently two men aged 17 and 20. That’s right, just two young men who barely even begun their lives Salkh Magamadov and Ismail Isayev were abducted last Thursday and have now disappeared.
These two men were captured and were forced to apologize on video. Magadamov said, “I am not a man, I am an empty space.” In another, Isayev asks for forgiveness for behaving in an “unmanly” way.
Nobody knows what will happen to them now. Most of us who are straight are privileged and never have to go through what these people go through. But we can still have empathy. We can put ourselves in their shoes and understand why this is awful. We should continue to fight for LGBT rights, and fight the root cause of these harmful ideas, which is conservative values coming from the Christian and Islamic teachings.
American Muslims have shown us that change is possible. A 2017 PEW Study stated that Fifty-two percent of American Muslims now agree with the statement, “Homosexuality should be accepted by society,” nearly double the number from those polled a decade ago.
We can do this. Those of you who are LGBT and living in Chechnya under fear, be strong. Change will come. It will take time but we will continue to speak on your behalf.
This is your friendly ex-Muslim signing out.