August 1, 2017 | Arts / Entertainment

Short film explores dark reality for Chechnya's gays

"Unable To Breath" film about Chechen gay purgeWith so much going on in the world, it is easy to forget about the gay purge taking place in Chechnya, a semi-autonomous region in Russia.

As a way to remind everyone of the reality facing many gay men in the area, the Russian LGBT Network has released a video that shares the personal experience of one man who was targeted by Chechen authorities because of his sexuality.

The video is also part of a new report by the group, which was created following interviews with 33 men. From it, the group has been able to detail the torture, humiliation, and extortion queer men have been subjected to. The report will form the basis of a lawsuit through the International Criminal Court if Russia refuses to take action against Chechnya's government.
 
Unable To Breath offers a first-hand account of what is actually happening to gay men when they've been rounded up by police.
 
The narrator of the film points out that "coming out is impossible in Chechnya." This has become even more dangerous after the country's President, Ramzan Kadyrov, called on families to "deal" with queer relatives. Many of the men actually lead double lives; they are often married with children, as a way to hide their true sexual identities.
 
The video is dark and disturbing, but it is a valuable reminder of the fight for gay rights still taking place around the world.
 

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