Hundreds Of LGBTQ Couples Staged A Kiss-In To Protest The Attack On Gay Men In Chechnya

Amidst developing reports that gay men in the Russian region of Chechnya have been detained and tortured, LGBTQ couples around the world have held a "kiss-in" to raise awareness for LGBTQ rights and to protest the reported concentration camp-like prisons.
The campaign, started by Brazilian social justice project Sexuality Outside The Box — also known as [SSEX BBOX] — calls on couples to post photos of themselves kissing to social media, under the hashtag #kiss4lgbtqrights.
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[SSEX BBOX] told Pink News in a statement that it began the campaign in order to create "the biggest kiss in the world" to speak out "against the silencing of the LGBTQIA population in Russia."

I dedicate this picture to all those who were hurt, silenced, mistreated, hunted, tortured, martyred, caged, judged, minimized, wronged, humiliated even killed because of the fact that the way they loved was misunderstood. I dedicate this to those who could not assume their love because they never had any support. I dedicate to those who fight everyday to have a fair place in society. I dedicate to all of those who needed to run away, needed to say goodbye forever for their parents, to those who were afraid or ashamed because of the way they love. For those who did not have choice to explain themselves cuz people would never accept. To those who all time explained that they did never choose who they love and people never understood. To those who cried alone, who had no support for being minority. For all those who had no more power to fight or power to express their proud. All those who risk themselves because of love. All those who needed to hide them whole life… all those who had a entire life as a forced secret not because of option. It was needed. All those who left in the darkness and silence of the night to meet someone who they love. To all those who were afraid to go out dressed with different clothes. All those who wanted to put make up on but didn’t not because would not be accepted.. All those who could not express their feelings. All those who fight till the end in the name of love. I dedicate for all those who kept loving even if it’s so hard sometimes. All those who believed that as long as there is love there is hope. Love is beautiful. It can not be interrupted by hate. Love always wins and it will always win all the battles. It must be respected, honored, blessed, protected and sacred. Let’s spread love not hate. Love is good and world is mad.. lets fight for love. To finish this text and speech I would like to ask from the deepest part of my heart LET LOVE BE. People don’t feel guilty because of you love. <3 #gayrightsmatter #kiss4lgbtqrights #LoveConquersHate

A post shared by João Paulo Vieira Borges (@jopaborges) on

A foto mais linda do dia! #DiaDoSilêncio #NãoSilencieOAmor #Kiss4LGBTQRights

A post shared by INSTA DO BLOG LOVERS MALHAÇÃO (@blogloversmalhacao) on

#Kiss4LGBTQRights 💕

A post shared by Dan (@instadaaan) on

"In Brazil, despite the enormous violence against the LGBTQIA population, we can fight for our rights," [SSEX BBOX] told Pink News. "But our community in Russia can not and therefore needs our help."
"In Russia, LGBTQIAs are being shut up by the Putin government," the statement continued. "The LGBTQIA Parade has been banned by law for 100 years! And freedom of expression is increasingly restricted. Therefore, we will make the biggest digital kiss in the world at the place where public protests of LGBTQIA get people throw in jail: the Moscow Kremlin."
Over the past week, hundreds of couples have been posting photos on Instagram with the location tagged at the Kremlin in Moscow.
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Reports first surfaced in April that over 100 gay men in Chechnya had been detained and tortured in prisons, facing electric shocking and violent beatings. Pink News reports that at least four people have died in the alleged crackdowns.
Last week, following pressure from world leaders such as German chancellor Angela Merkel, Russian president Vladimir Putin backed an inquiry into the alleged human rights abuses — though the Russian embassy has now claimed that those investigations are complete, and found that "there are no victims of persecution, threats or violence."
Yesterday, activists were detained while attempting to deliver a petition signed by about 2 million people to investigate the prisons.
Meanwhile, the Russian LGBT Network has been on the ground providing a lifeline to victims, and helped to evacuate 40 men from Chechnya.
To find out more about what you can do to take action and help, head to the Human Rights Campaign's website.
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