Local politicians refuse to stay silent over treatment of gay men in Chechnya

- LGBT politicians and activists in San Francisco held a vigil and protest Tuesday night in front of the Russian Consulate to call for an end to what they describe as the inhumane way gay men in the Russian Republic of Chechnya are treated. 

They chanted, "Homophobia's got to go", a passionate plea for the world to listen .

They say it's a message from San Francisco to Moscow and Chechnya

"Chechnya is part of Russia. Russia has been a terrible place for LGBT folks for a while now," says Jeff Sheehy, a San Francisco supervisor.
 
He sponsored a resolution that was passed unanimously by the Board of Supervisors Tuesday, condemning Chechnya's mistreatment of gay men.

Amnesty International says more than 100 men suspected of being gay have been abducted, tortured and some even killed in Chechnya.
 
"Five- member panel of the United Nations having confirmed that this has all happened. So yes...we have to speak up and raise our voices to demand that this stop immediately," says Mark Leno, former California State Senator and Assemblyman.

David Bogachik wrote on the sign he's carrying,"Russian government is responsible for what is going on in Chechnya."

Bogachiksays he came to the U.S. from Ukraine a year and a half ago. He says he's transgender and couldn't make the transition in his own country.

He says he had to choose between his profession and who he truly is.

"I am a psychotherapist. It was not possible to combine my identity and my profession in Ukraine," says Bogachik.

At the rally, people wore armbands with a pink triangle, a symbol the Nazis used to identify gays,
These activists say they can not stay silent.
 
"Anything that anybody does to the LGBT community anywhere, we're going to come out and stand up for them," says Louise Fischer, Co-Chair with the Alice B. Toklas Democratic Club .
 
"Every minority can imagine this fear ...being terrorized in that way. Certainly we're so lucky here. But bullying knows no boundaries," says Rafael Mandelman, the event organizer.
 
"We need to let these Russians know, they're going the wrong way
 
Organizers say people here can help by participating in protests.
They urge support for organizations such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International. They say every action counts.
 


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