Chechnya’s Human Rights abuses against the LGBT community

Amnesty International are currently working to raise awareness of Chechnya’s abduction and killing of LGBT people. ‘According to independent daily newspaper, Novaya Gazeta, up to 100 men suspected of being gay have been abducted as part of a coordinated government campaign.’ It has been in the news for the last month about human rights abuses being meted out to the LGBT community in Chechnya simply because of their sexuality. Time magazine showed it on their YouTube channel, as did CNN and Sky News.

Dozens of gay men from Chechnya who’ve been trying to flee the region in fear for their lives are hopeful that a country will act as a safe haven for them and issue them a visa. Nine men have already been granted visas. Two of them went to Lithuania, which has announced its involvement. “It’s very important to act, because they are suffering,” Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius told the BBC. He would not name the other countries involved but described them as “allies”. His country’s decision was an “implicit message” to Russia, he said, because “we are taking care of Russian citizens… [whose] rights were abused”.

If you are thinking, ‘where is Chechnya?’ or ‘why have I heard of this place before?’ then maybe a read of the Washington Post’s 9 questions about Chechnya and Dagestan you were too embarrassed to ask  might be worth a read!

chechnya

#allemannenhandinhand

There are so many different ways of protesting or trying to bring about change.

To protest (verb) – express an objection to what someone has said or done

If you decide to go out and protest then you can consider: signage, shouting, sit-ins, petitions, silence, marches, boycotts, putting your body in the way, mock awards, vigils, silliness, singing, praying or flash mobs. There are hundreds of other ideas on non-violent protest and sometimes you can do something specific to the cause you are protesting about.

This is what has recently happened in the Netherlands, where men are showing their support for gay men being able to hold hands and openly express their relationships. Over the weekend in the Dutch city of Arnhem there was a vicious assault of two gay men.  Ronnie Sewratan-Vernes suffered four missing teeth and a severed lip, whereas Jasper Vernes-Sewratan was left with injured ribs. Jasper said they usually hide their relationship, but had decided to hold hands as they walked home after a night out. Dutch politicians as well as celebrities are joining with other Dutch men to show their solidarity to the gay men who were attacked – by holding hands.

Alexander-Pechtold-Wouter-Koolmees

The politician Alexander Pechtold attended a meeting at The Hague with Wooter Koulmees a financial specialist.

hand in hand

hand in hand 3

Super Bowl 51 – a spectacular show

Adverts by Coca-Cola  and Budweiser; an amazing half time performance by Lady Gaga; and a thrilling final catch to swing the game to the Patriots. A spectacular show!

gaga

Lady Gaga is no stranger to our RE lessons with year 9 students studying the Lady Gaga video for her song Judas for all the religious symbolism. We also know her for all the work she does for LGBT+ rights. At the Super Bowl she mainly sang the choruses from her hit songs but when it came to her 2011 hit, “Born This Way,” she again offered another clear message of acceptance by choosing to sing lyrics from a verse towards the end of the song: “No matter gay, straight, or bi, Lesbian, transgendered life/I’m on the right track baby/I was born to survive.”

Coca-Cola’s advert won praise from many for its multli-lingual singalong advert which emphasised the multicultural nature of the USA, whereas Budweiser was both praised and criticised for its story of how Adolphus Busch moved to the US from Germany in the 1850s and then co-founded the Anheuser-Busch company. The company maintains that it is not intended to be a political statement, and that it has been in progress since well before the US election in November last year. This didn’t stop Trump supporters sending out the call to #BoycottBudweiser.
But if all you want out of the Super Bowl is the sport: here’s the Edelman catch right at the end!
USP NFL: SUPER BOWL LI-NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS VS ATL S FBN USA TX

It’s not all fine for people in the LGBT+ community

When Jeremy Corbyn leader of the Labour Party in the UK said that people ‘chose’ to be LGBT+ he was criticised, but a journalist writing for the Independent says Corbyn wasn’t being offensive. In fact after being called obscene names and given dirty looks for showing affection to his partner in public, he wonders whether many of the LGBT+ community would argue it is easier in the closet.

“The truth is, I have no idea why I’m gay, and while it would be nice to think that I was “born this way”, and genetic studies strongly suggest this may well be the case, it shouldn’t matter if it’s a “lifestyle choice”, to borrow a phrase that’s been thrown at me by religious friends.  Denying that it cannot be a choice devalues the experiences of those that have made such a decision, and adds an extra layer of discrimination that the LGBT community does not need. I’ve never met anyone that claims to have consciously decided to be gay, but that doesn’t mean it’s not possible.”  Zak Thomas in the Independent.

Church of England still rejects same-sex marriage

The Church of England bishops have rejected the need to change its standpoint on same-sex marriages. A new report entitled Marriage and Same Sex Relationships after the Shared Conversations, by the Church of England bishops suggests new teachings on marriage and relationships should be drawn up to replace those introduced in the 1990s. It said, despite rejecting the idea of changing policy on same-sex relationships, that the new teachings should provide “maximum freedom” for gay people. 

The report also said there was “some support” in the House for the new document including “penitence for the treatment some lesbian and gay people have received at the hands of the Church”. Penitence means the action of feeling or showing sorrow and regret for having done wrong which is like repentance.

In England and Wales the Marriage (Same-Sex Couples) Act was passed in 2013 and became law in 2014. It allowed marriage for the first time between gay people because the Government believed that it should not prevent couples from marrying unless there are very good reasons – and loving someone of the same sex is not one of them. The law stated that religious organisation were allowed to opt out of being forced to conduct same-sex marriages as part of human rights legislation which guarantees the freedom of thought, religion and conscience.