Empowering LGBT activists around the world
In 70 countries across the world it is illegal for LGBT people to express their love, attraction or identity. In many more, even where there are no explicit laws criminalising them, LGBT people face appalling discrimination and exclusion. In some countries, powerful religious and political forces regularly incite hatred and violence against LGBT people, creating an environment of hostility and fear. Those responsible for attacks on LGBT people often enjoy impunity, protected by powerful institutions.
Credit: Avaaz / Paul Wagner
All Out is a movement for love and equality. They use the power of digital technology to fuel LGBT activism across the world. By partnering with local organisations and networks they connect thousands of ordinary citizens so that they can take action on, or donate to, campaigns for LGBT rights. Their collaborative efforts raise the volume of local, national, regional and international campaigns.
In Chechnya, Russia, being openly gay can be a death sentence. In April 2017 as part of a ‘gay purge’ by authorities, more than 100 men were arrested under suspicion of being gay. There were reports of people being tortured, beaten, and forced to share information about other gay men in the region. At least six people died during the purge but the official response from Chechen authorities was that "gay people do not even exist in Chechnya." All Out, in collaboration with the Russian LGBT Network, immediately launched a campaign to demand Federal Russian authorities immediately investigate these atrocities and bring to justice all those responsible. After international pressure, Russian authorities finally declared the initiation of a federal investigation into the situation.
Credit: Mathias Wasik
Several activists working alongside All Out to deliver a petition in Moscow were arrested and detained. They were released with a fine. Since the first reports of arrests and torture in Chechnya were received, All Out has helped raise funds to support the Russian LGBT Network in the evacuation of 119 LGBT people, 98 of whom have already left Russia. This is because life in Russia still isn’t safe for them.
Ibrahim* is one of the many who fled to Russia after the ‘purge’ began. When he was 15, his family found out that he is gay. For three years they tortured and abused him. They drugged him, beat him, and gave him electric shocks to try to "cure" him from being gay. During the ‘purge’ in 2017, his boyfriend, who worked for the government told him he was on the list of targeted men. Shortly after, his boyfriend disappeared and no one heard from him again. Ibrahim fled to Russia where he awaited relocation to a safer country.
All Out has also helped raise funds for LGBT people fleeing persecution and living temporarily in Russia. Their partner organisation Stimul provides secret and safe temporary housing, while LGBT refugees work towards getting relocated to a safer country.
Credit: Paula Kossatz
Recognising the potential of people power, and the millions of LGBT rights supporters around the world, All Out brings cases of injustice to the attention of the public and gives them concrete ways to make a difference. Their petitions and campaigns give cases of injustice international attention, and their collaboration with LGBT support groups on the ground gives supporters the channels to make a huge difference by donating money where it is needed. They have created a network of thousands of people of all sexual orientations and identities from across the world and turn solidarity into action. Together they are building a world in which nobody has to choose between their family or their freedom, safety or dignity because of who they are or who they love.
*Name changed to protect identity