We’re Not Powerless and We’re Not Alone: Let’s Help Save the Lives of LGBT Chechens
When we saw the news that the authorities in Chechnya were baiting, torturing, murdering and sending gay (and perceived-as-gay) Chechen men to labour camps, I think a lot of us wanted to turn away from the news. Definitely not because we didn’t care, but because it’s so horrible, so evil… and yet what could we do about it?
Dale Cameron Lowry found a way to help. The Russian LGBT Network needed donations to help evacuate LGBT Chechens. Dale had an indie-published anthology. So they decided to donate royalties from that anthology to the cause, and then invited others to do the same.
That’s actually how I first met Dale. I spotted their post in one of the groups we shared, and I threw out the idea that we should start a charity auction. I’d seen one done to help raise money for the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami in Japan, and it raised a lot of money. We could do something similar. (And since I’m a sucker, I offered to organise it.)
I don’t think I need to tell you how amazing it felt to actually be able to do something to help, because every time I reached out to ask someone to donate or thank them for giving so generously, they kept responding with: no, thank you for giving me a way to help.
And as we went along, more and more people joined in to help spread the word. To create graphics. To donate money. Last I saw, we’ve collectively donated over $7,000, and that’s even before the auction opened.
Within an hour of opening bidding, we had over 10 bids all above the minimum bid price. To give you an idea how extraordinary this is, all the charity auction experts say over and over to expect between 30% and 60% of the retail value. And in the first hour, someone bid 3 TIMES the retail value.
Just look at how amazing our community is. Just look at how much we have accomplished. Look at how caring, how compassionate, how generous we are.
None of this — donating royalties, a charity auction — would have been possible without this community.
No matter how dark it gets, we don’t have to lose hope, because we’re not powerless and we’re not alone.
Here’s how you can help:
Check out the items up for auction.
Bidding closes Saturday May 13th at NOON CDT*
*6 pm BST; 3 am Sunday morning AEST
Authors, publishers and freelancers have donated so many incredible prizes, from a handmade and so-very-cosy reading quilt to signed paperbacks to original stories to gigantic ebook collections. Browse the items here.
Wish someone would write that trope or relationship you’ve always been looking for? Now is your chance. Bid on one of the original stories.
Check out Books Save Lives
These authors are donating their royalties to one of the organisations evacuating LGBT men from Chechnya. Find your next read here.
Share the word on social media and your blog!
Or share the Books Save Lives.
Or share them all!
The hashtag for English efforts is #chechenrainbow.
Donate directly to the Russian LGBT Network
Dale Cameron Lowry put together an FAQ to guide you through the donation process (it being in Russian and all).