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Amnesty Ireland are hoping to host a disco at Dáil Éireann to protest US Vice President Mike Pence's visit to Ireland/

The visit has been moved forward, and Amnesty has began crowdfunding to organise the event in time.

On their crowdfunding page, they said:

“He’ll be in Dublin on the 3rd of September. We want to have a Disco outside the Dáil (at 1pm) in protest. A celebration of all the people that Pence and Trump’s cruel policies are hurting; women, refugees, migrants, and LGBTI people."

They continued;

“We want to show him, and people that support him, that we’re a different country now and that he can’t go back to the USA and say that Ireland supports him, Trump or their policies of hate.

“We’re going to need plenty of colourful banners, a sound system for music, a stage for dancing and maybe even a disco ball! Leftover funds will go to support our other related campaigns.

“And we’re going to invite Mr Pence to our disco. We hope he RSVP’s.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Vice President Mike Pence (@vp) on

Pence is renowned for defending the horrible conditions in US immigrant detention centres recently, and tweeted his excitement at the prospect of celebrating his "Irish roots".

Of course, many Twitter users were highly disgusted at the hypocrisy. His grandfather immigrated to the US from Co. Sligo in 1923, so his anti-immigrant views are even more ridiculous.

Pence’s trip is expected to cost up to €10 million in security costs.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and his partner Matt Barrett attended a breakfast with Pence and his wife Karen, which must have been awkward considering the Vice President’s track record on LGBT+ rights.

Pence voted against hate crime laws during his stint in Congress, and has allegedly endorsed cruel gay conversion therapy. His wife also teaches in a school which refuses to accept LGBTI pupils.

Pence opposed the repeal of the US military’s controversial 'Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell' policy in 2010, citing that he did not want to see the military become ‘a backdrop for social experimentation’. Wow.

To make Disco at the Dáil happen, donate here. You can find full details of the event here.

Feature image: Twitter/@AmnestyIreland

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In an age of television that is still blatantly anti-LGBTQ+, one reality show rises above the rest. Love Island, in our view, didn't get enough criticism for it's heteronormativity among other flaws.

Representation of queer people remains massively lacking, especially on reality TV where most people involved are of the same weight, race, age and sexual orientation. They look filtered, pretty much.

MTV's latest series of Are You The One? is back for season eight, but with a beautiful twist: every one of the cast members are sexually fluid. Thank the good Lord, it's what we've been waiting for.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by  (@areuthe1) on

This glittery MTV show will fill the empty void of your life now that Love Island has ended. 16 singles from all over the US have flown to Hawaii for the summer to try and find love, without gender limits.

“Welcome to the most ambitious matchmaking experiment ever attempted,” said host Ryan Devlin. The cash prize is a little more than the ITV dating show…try $1 million. 

The contestants have 10 weeks, and 10 match-up (recoupling) ceremonies to try and find out who their perfect match is. All 16 contestants are fair game, so it's far more challenging this time around.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Are You The One? (@areuthe1) on

Topics surrounding gender identity and sexuality will be approached, and progressive narratives that the LGBTQ community wholeheartedly deserve.

Competitions, dates and truth booths will be part and parcel of the experience every week, but drama, fights, heartbreak, sex and juicy content ensues as a result.

The 2019 cast's perfect matches are discovered through a dating algorithm, based on a vigorous process involving comprehensive interviews, IQ and personality tests, interviews with family, friends and exes.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by PaigeAndRemy (@paigexremy) on

“The matchmakers got pretty deep into all of the contestants’ past relationship history, so they would do these interviews with the contestants and their family, friends, and exes. All that information was combined and analysed,” executive producer Tiffany Williams revealed to Entertainment Weekly.

The discourse surrounding gender identity still needs to be opened up further, and queer representation is a great place to start. Awareness and education about sexuality can be provided through the medium of reality TV (Drag Race changed the damn GAME).

“It’s still a fun, drama-filled salacious ridiculous reality show but it’s now got a social message underneath it,” Executive producer Rob LaPlante stated in an interview with Variety.

MTV have provided a relationship expert, Dr Frankie, who specialises in working with the LGBTQ community. Proper mental health support is 100 percent needed throughout the process and afterward.

Seeing as much of the drama is usually constructed, many fans have expressed concerns for queer people being exploited for entertainment. MTV appear to be deconstructing heteronormative conversations in a positive way, however. We adore the inclusive cast.

Are You The One? season eight airs on MTV at 10pm every Monday. Grab that queer content by the rainbow. 

Feature image: MTV/Instagram/@areuthe1

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Victoria's Secret have hired their first out transgender model, only one year on from Ed Razek's controversial transphobic comments about the brand's annual fashion show.

The VS Angels have added Valentina Sampaio to their roster, making the model the brand's first out VS Angel. Sampaio announced the news to her Instagram followers, and her agent confirmed it with CNN.

Sampaio is already a spokesperson for L'Oréal, and was the first out transgender woman to feature on the cover of Vogue. She appeared on the cover of Vogue Paris in March 2017 with the issue covering transgender beauty.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by (@valentts) on

She later covered Vogue Brazil and Vogue Germany in the same year as well as appearing on ELLE Brazil's cover in 2016. Trans inclusivity was once again the subject, with ELLE being ahead of the curve,

Sampaio broke the news last week on her Instagram, posting a photo of her backstage during a Victoria's Secret campaign. She captioned the photo; "Backstage chick" and tagged VS Pink.

The stunning model's agent, Erio Zanon, confirmed that the lingerie brand hired Valentina to be part of a campaign for the PINK line, which will be released in mid-August.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Valentina Sampaio (@valentts) on

Many of us will recall Ed Razek, the chief marketing officer for Victoria's Secret's parent company, L Brands. The exec made controversial comments about plus size women and transgender models during an interview with Vogue last year.

Razek commented that Victoria's Secret had chosen not to include diverse women in the show, in terms of body physique and genders.

"Do I think about diversity? Yes. Does the brand think about diversity? Yes. Do we offer larger sizes? Yes," Razek told the magazine.

"It's like, why doesn't your show do this? Shouldn't you have transsexuals in the show? No. No, I don't think we should. Well, why not? Because the show is a fantasy. It's a 42-minute entertainment special."

Razek later apologised and retracted his comments, and his official statement was posted on Victoria's Secret's Twitter account:

"My remark regarding the inclusion of transgender models in the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show came across as insensitive," Razek wrote.

"I apologise. To be clear, we absolutely would cast a transgender model for the show. We've had transgender models come to castings…and like many others, they didn't make it…But it was never about gender. I admire and respect their journey to embrace who they really are."

Feature image: Instagram/@valentts

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Tinder has taken new steps to protect it's LGBTQ+ users from prejudice abroad with a feature designed for safe travel.

Despite the fact that more countries are making vital strides towards equality worldwide for the LGBTQ+ community, there are still 70 countries that persecute individuals for sexual orientation and gender identity.

The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Intersex Association (ILGA) has said that there are 69 UN member states where same-sex sexual activity is criminalised.

Thankfully, Tinder is putting this prejudice at the forefront of people's minds by taking steps to ensure the safety of its LGBTQ+ users when travelling.

The dating app announced that LGBTQ+ users will receive an alert when entering a country which has discriminatory laws.

Tinder refers to the feature as 'Traveller Alert' in a new blog post explaining their latest technological advance.

“It’s no secret that we believe everyone has the right to live how they want to live and love who they want to love.

"And while there are still efforts to protect our freedoms from LGBTQ+ discrimination, it’s important to remember that there are still nearly 70 countries around the world that have laws effectively criminalising LGBTQ+ status."

A notification will appear warning users of the sexual orientation laws in their current location and the risks they may face for expressing their orientation openly. 

“Starting today, we’re rolling out a Traveller Alert that will appear when Tinder is opened in one of these locations to ensure that our users are aware of the potential dangers the LGBTQ community faces – so that they can take extra caution and do not unknowingly place themselves in danger for simply being themselves,” the post adds.

LGBTQ+ users can then choose whether to leave their Tinder profile public or not in a nation which is volatile towards gay people.

Their sexual orientation or gender identity won’t be public information until they’ve left the country.

“Based on your geographical area, it appears you’re in a place where the LGBTQ+ community may be penalised,” Tinder’s traveller alert reads.

“We want you to have fun, but your safety is our number one priority. Please proceed with caution and take extra care when making new matches and meeting with people you do not know.”

While this marks a temporary limitation on meeting potential matches, the alert is grounded in a real threat of persecution from law enforcement agency workers going undercover on the app, laws criminalising same-sex activity and other Tinder users hostile to the LGBTQ+ community.

ILGA provided Tinder with data to create their update, and released a statement on the new feature.

“We work hard to change practices, laws and attitudes that put LGBTQ+ people at risk – including the use of dating apps to target our community – but in the meantime, the safety of our communities also depends on supporting their digital safety,” explained André du Plessis.

Homophobia is still an epidemic in society, despite progress occurring with equal marriage and representation.

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How many times have we heard the absurd phrase; "Women are from Venus, men are from Mars"? Too many times, that's for certain.

It's long been believed that men and women are simply wired differently when it comes to sexuality and arousal, due to the way our brains and hormones work.

Popular psychology posits that men are more visually oriented, responding to body in front of them or images. Women are presumed to be more emotionally driven and desiring intimate relationships.

The stereotype that women prefer their imaginations and reading erotica versus men being addicted to porn is neither true nor a healthy way to see arousal.

macaulay culkin playboy GIF

The image of men gorging on PornHub and Playboy while women masturbate once every five years has gone out the window for good, thank Goddess for that.

According to a new study, gender plays absolutely zero role when it comes to sexual arousal. This would make total sense, and will hopefully help us include those who are gender non-binary and LGBTQ+.

The latest reseearch from the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics (and published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal) proves that men and women aren't different when it comes to our responses to sexy stimuli. 

roxane gay women GIF by Women's History Month

A meta analysis of 61 previous studies conducted by researchers delivered somewhat surprising results regarding sex and cis-gender. 

Members of the research group wrote: “These results offer strong quantitative evidence that the neuronal response to visual sexual stimuli, contrary to the widely accepted view, is independent of biological sex.”

AKA: We get off on the exact same things. Women are just as likely to get turned on by viewing pornographic images as men. I wonder how many (male) scientists it took to crack this code? ASK WOMEN.

Dr. Hamid Noori of the Max Planck Institute argues that while men and women may see similar brain responses to arousing video or images, they still respond in very different ways.

masturbating sex and the city GIF

“There are differences in behaviour — the number of men going to porn sites is roughly 80 percent of the consumers,” Noori said. This is obviously because most porn is AIMED at men.

“But men and women respond the same way at the brain level to visual sexual stimuli. What we do with it afterwards is what brings the difference.”

One thing to note is that this study relies on meta analysis (previous research combined) rather than conducting new physical or medical tests to examine specific behaviour.

awkward bill hader GIF

The scans are also unable to see brain activity at the most microscopic levels, so men and women can possibly show different reactions to provocative stimuli.

However, the concept of men being more turned on by images and hardcore porn while women just want 50 Shades of Grey and a secret vibrator is fairly outdated.

If they would just make porn ethical, female-friendly and LGBTQ+ inclusive then plenty of women, gay people and gender non-binary folk, would head to the sites. It's simple maths.

Studies always rely too heavily on heterosexual people, predominantly straight men, for data results. Not anymore, suckers.

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Nicholas Sparks has issued an apology after emails he sent in 2013 were seen as ''anti-gay''.

The Notebook author appeared to be banning an LGTBQ club at Christian school Epiphany School of Global Studies, which he founded in 2006.

The 53-year-old took to Twitter to say sorry for his words, which he said were taken out of context.

He said, ''When in one of my emails I used language such as “there will never be an LGBT club” at Epiphany, l was responding heatedly to how the headmaster had gone about initiating this club.''

He continued, ''Like most schools, Epiphany has procedures and policies for establishing any student club. My concern was that if a club were to be founded, it be done in a thoughtful, transparent manner with the knowledge of faculty, students and parents – not in secret, and not in a way that felt exceptional. I only wish I had used those exact words.''

He added, ''Similarly, when I referred to a prior headmaster addressing the presence of gay students “quietly and wonderfully,” I meant that he supported them in a straightforward, unambiguous way – NOT that he in any way encouraged students to be silent about their gender identity or sexual orientation.''

Nicholas says he now sees how his choice of phrase could have hurt members of the LGBT community.

He said, ''As someone who has spent the better part of my life as a writer who understands the power of words, I regret and apologise that mine have potentially hurt young people and members of the LGBTQ community, including my friends and colleagues in that community.''

The emails were first published by The Daily Beast and were released as part of an ongoing lawsuit with the former headmaster, Saul Benjamin, over an alleged pattern of ‘harassment, racism, and homophobia.'

Nicholas denies the claims. 

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Every since June began, we've been waiting in the shadows for the explosion of rainbows and glitter during Pride Month.

Mainly, we've been anticipating PrettyLittleThing's brand new Pride campaign, which pays homage to the LGBTQ+ community with a gorgeous line of clothes.

They're hoping to fly all colours of the rainbow this year, representing equality, love and acceptance through some epic threads.

The latest PrettyLittleThing campaign collaborates with some badass babes in fashion and social media: Jade Laurice, Mitchell, Julia Ofelia, Gothy, Alexander Ko, Leslie Sidora & Chloe Scantlebury.

The online retailer has gathered the ultimate gang of pride advocates, who each have their own #MyPride story to tell. Despite their race, sexuality and gender, they're loud and proud and we love them for it.

100 percent of the profits of the stylish campaign is going towards various registered Pride charities across the UK, which makes buying every gorgeous item of clothing even better.

Some of the PLT Pride advocates have opened up about why Pride is so special to them, from self-love and positivity to making bold political statements.

Down-to-earth make-up artist Mitch has a sunny personality that glows as bright as the glamour he creates; 

“No matter where you come from, what you are, what you identify as, what you look like, we can all share the same love. For me, that’s what Pride is all about.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by mitchell (@mmmmitchell) on

Jade Laurice infuses style with substance, as an influencer and all-round badass babe. Her goal is to smash expectations of queer women and challenge your misconceptions;

“Pride is important to me because it is an event where my visibility and equality as a queer woman is prioritised and celebrated.

"Pride makes me feel empowered as an individual but also gives the LGBTQ community a platform where we can help the next generation.” YAS kween.

Julia Ofelia is a vibrant pansexual babe, with a Scorpio sting and zero time for intolerance in our heteronormative society;

“Pride reminds me that there is a huge community of beautiful and diverse people who do accept me for who I am.”

Left: Black FREEDOM Crop Tee, €14.00
Right: UNISEX Pink EQUAL Oversized T-shirt, €14.00

UK-based drag queen Gothy Kendoll from #hausofkendall spins serious tunes as a DJ and serves serious looks on his Instagram too, so the level of fierce is always sky-high.

Rumour has it the queen is appearing on the UK series of Drag Race, and we desperately hope the gossip is true. We'd love to see Gothy working the runway and winning lip sync battles.

“Working throughout the year within the gay community, I recognise that pride season is a time when we can truly celebrate who we are and how far we’ve come in recent years.”

The Pride collection is live as of this week on the PrettyLittleThing website, so wear your rainbow colours and don't let anyone hold you back.

Stand proud to support the LGBTQ+ community, and refuse to hide your pride. Equality is the greatest look of all.

lady gaga pride GIF by MTV Movie & TV Awards

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News that Ariana Grande is headlining Manchester Pride has caused quite a stir already, with many arguing that the ticket prices have become extortionate as a result of the big name booking.

However, Grande is once again under the spotlight as reports are claiming that she's getting paid €116,000 MORE than Kylie Minogue to perform.

Sources close to the pop star are claiming that the Thank U, Next singer is getting a HUGE €291,000 for her Pride show, which hasn't impressed ticket buyers.

This tweet caught the attention of Grande the other day, who responded to the criticism with an eloquent note defending her performance;

"Hi my love, I have nothing to do with ticket pricing- Manchester Pride sets those rates, and they’re mostly out of my control," she tweeted. "The LGBTQ community has been so special to me and supportive throughout my entire career."

"The relationships I have with my LGBTQ fans, friends, and family make me so, so happy,’ she continued. "I want to celebrate and support this community, regardless of my identity or how people label me. And also I wanna visit a city that means so much to me."

"LGBTQ representation is incredibly important, and I’m always proud to share the stage with LGBTQ artists! Over the years, pride events have been headlined by performers and artists of all sexual orientations and genders, including straight allies like Cher and Kylie Minogue," she said.

"I’m not claiming to be the hero of the community or the face of the LGBTQ rights movement – I just wanna put on a show that makes my LGBTQ fans feel special and celebrated and supported. That’s all I wanna do," she concluded.

People aren't impressed that Ariana Grande is getting over €116,000 more than Kylie to perform, with a source at The Sun writing;

"Obviously they’re both massive stars but Ariana is like gold dust at the moment, so the organisers offered her top whack to take part."

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Ariana Grande (@arianagrande) on

The 25-year-old has paid attention to the criticism, but claims that ticket pricing was out of her hands. Kylie Minogue herself has yet to comment on the whole debacle, but the pay difference is most likely due to Ariana's demand.

As a recent Grammy winner, as well as releasing two albums over the last six months which have both reached number one, she's one of the world's most popular pop stars.

7 Rings, Thank U, Next and Break Up With Your Girlfriend, I'm Bored show no sign of leaving the charts anytime soon, and we definitely can't get them out of our heads. They're bangers.

What do you think of the debate on Manchester Pride? Is it acceptable for allies to get paid that much?

Olly Alexander from Years & Years recently pointed out that Pride will support more LGBT+ artists when people LISTEN to those artists' music, to hike up demand for them at festivals and concerts.

It's a two-way street; support can't just be shown one day of the year at Pride for LGBT+ musicians; it has to be 365 days a year for it to make an impact.

Feature image: Instagram/@arianagrande

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Legendary talk show hosts Graham Norton and Alan Carr have signed on to be celebrity judges on RuPaul's Drag Race UK this year, and we're GAGGING with excitement.

The pair will appear as rotating resident judges every week, and will join RuPaul, Michelle Visage and a celebrity guest judge.

Both iconic hosts are major fans of the iconic show, which has been a global worldwide hit since it first aired back in 2009.

Let's not forget that Norton actually appeared on the original version of All Stars season two back in 2016.

He said he has been a fan of the show forever; "Becoming part of the Drag Race family makes me ridiculously happy! I can't wait to see what the UK drag queens bring to the party, but they better werk!" 

In the video announcement on Twitter today, Graham joked "maybe this is what the UK's good at."

For the Drag Race UK grand finale, both Norton and Carr will appear on the judging panel.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by (@rupaulsdragracuk) on

Alan Carr met Ru-Paul when he appeared on his chat show Alan Carr's Chatty Man but has been a fan for years of the pop culture phenomenon.

"Wow! To be sat next to Michelle Visage and Mama Ru as a guest judge on possibly one of my all-time favourite shows EVER is a dream come true," he said.

"I can't wait to see what the UK Queens have got in store – it's going to be sickening! *does death drop*"

The Emmy award-winning show will be coming to BBC Three this year, it was announced in December.

Feature image: Gay Times

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Guardians of the Galaxy actor Chris Pratt has hit back at Ellen Page after the actress called him out for attending an alleged "infamous anti-LGBTQ" church.

The Juno star criticised Pratt on February 8 after his appearance on The Stephen Colbert Show, questioning why he didn't address Hillsong's 'infamous' views.

She later elaborated on her frustration, writing on Twitter;

“If you are a famous actor and you belong to an organisation that hates a certain group of people, don’t be surprised if someone simply wonders why it’s not addressed. Being anti LGBTQ is wrong, there aren’t two sides. The damage it causes is severe. Full stop."

She continued her emotional statement;

“If LGBTQ+ people are expressing their pain, their trauma, their experiences… maybe just try and listen? Open your heart, stop being defensive and have compassion. It’s a beautiful and life changing feeling, empathy.”

The 31-year-old is married to Emma Portner since last January, and made an impassioned speech on The Stephen Colbert Show accusing Donald Trump and Mike Pence of continued dangerous discrimination against the LGBT+ community.

“I am fired up tonight, it feels impossible not to feel this way right now, with the president and Vice President Mike Pence, who wishes I couldn’t be married. Let’s just be clear. The Vice President of America wishes I didn’t have the love with my wife.”

Now Chris Pratt has responded to her claims about Hillsong, a celebrity-infused church in Los Angeles which has faced controversy over it's views.

Pastor Carl Lentz, who leads its New York branch, in 2015 said that he believes homosexuality is a sin and that a gay member of the church could never hold a leadership position. He claims that the church opens its doors, but doesn't encourage the 'gay lifestyle'.

Pratt took to Instagram writing: “It has recently been suggested that I belong to a church which ‘hates a certain group of people’ and is "infamously anti-LGBTQ." Nothing could be further from the truth."

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by chris pratt (@prattprattpratt) on

He continued; “I go to a church that opens their doors to absolutely everyone.” He elaborated on how the Hillsong community helped him through his divorce with actor Anna Faris.

“Despite what the Bible says about divorce my church community was there for me every step of the way, never judging, just gracefully accompanying me on my walk,” Pratt said.

“They helped me tremendously offering love and support. It is what I have seen them do for others on countless occasions regardless of sexual orientation, race or gender.”

We'll have to wait and see if Ellen Page answers his statement. 

Feature image: USA Today's FTW

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It seems like every celebrity has been getting themselves into a spot of bother lately, even heartthrob singer-songwriter Shawn Mendes.

The 20-year-old Canadian artist has let his guitar-strumming fingers 'accidentally' like a transphobic tweet, and Twitter went OFF.

The tweet is hella offensive for trans people, so bear in mind it could be triggering to see. In essence, it makes a joke about testicular cancer for trans women, and Shawn liked it either by mistake or on purpose.

His fans were quick to point it out to him, telling him to unlike the tweet immediately and apologise for any unintentional harm caused. His fans definitely have some good sense..

The Stitches singer replied pretty promptly, explaining that he had accidentally liked the tweet while scrolling through his feed (hmm).

"Must of accidentally liked it scrolling down a feed, you know me and I'd never. Sorry," he tweeted to his 20 million followers.

He tweeted a simple, 'Love you' afterwards, most likely thanking his devoted fans for spotting a mistake which could have landed him in even more trouble had he not explained and apologised.

Why did a transphobic tweet pop up in his feed, though? He does follow over 50,000 accounts so it is probably difficult to keep track of all the comments coming his way.

He has also been very supportive of the LGBT+ community in the past. 

When producer Teddy Geiger transitioned last year, Shawn urged others to "just open your eyes and open your mind, because, for me, going through one of my closest friends going through a very big transition period in her life, was incredible to watch."

Feature image credit: esmondstation.com

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Activists are gathering in Chechnya following reports of mass arrests, torture and murder of LGBT people in the Russian republic.

A complaint has been filed by activists in the gay and trans communities who are demanding that Russian authorities open a criminal investigation into the reported homophobic campaign by security forces.

The LGBT Network, a St Petersburg-based organisation, stated that it submitted the complaint to the Investigative Committee, which is the equivalent of MI5 or the FBI.

As a result, LGBT+ activists are gathering this Monday, February 4 at 6:30pm outside the Russian Embassy to show their solidarity with the Chechen gay community.

The The LGBT Network are demanding that the alleged detention or at least 14 people and death of one person be investigated, as well as probing claims of torture.

The group are attempting to compel Russian authorities to act on the reported new wave of persecution targeting Chechnya's gay community, Chechnya is predominantly Muslin, and is ruled by the dictatorial leader Ramzan Kadyrov.

In 2017, the campaign of hatred saw dozens of gay men rounded up and tragically tortured. Chechen authorities shockingly asserted that homosexuality doesn't exist in Chechnya, thereby denying the claims.

Director of the LGBT Network, Igor Kochetkov, told ABC News that the 14 cases in the complaint only applies to one police station in the capital, but there are others being detained all over the country.

The director said; "We believe several dozen people are detained, no lower than 40." His organisation helped dozens of gay men escape the country in 2017, and aided them in their search for asylum abroad.

Police are reportedly seizing the victims' passports when they are detained in order to stop them from fleeing, according to Kochetkov. Unlike two years ago, this time women are also being detained.

The Investigative Committee have declined to open a criminal case and rejected any appeals against the decision. 

In response, Irish groups such as; Amnesty International, BeLonG to Youth Services, Dublin Bears Events, Dublin LGBTQ Pride, FLAC, GCN, Dublin Gay Theatre Festival, Outhouse, ShoutOut, The Rainbow Project, USI, This is Me, the National LGBT Foundation and NUI Maynooth have pledged solidarity with the LGBT+ community in Chechnya.

Image; Facebook 

Groups and activists will gather this coming Monday in protest of the alleged treatment of gay Chechan people.

They wrote on their event page; "Since December, violence and persecution against those perceived as being members of the LGBT+ community in Chechnya has escalated. The Russian LGBT+ Network has reported that up to 40 people have been illegally detained, while a further two have died as a result of torture."

"We are calling on the Irish government to officially respond to the human rights violations being perpetrated in the region," it continues. They are also making a list of requests for the Irish government and the United Nations.

"We condemn the escalating violence against LGBT+ people and urge An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, to publicly condemn the anti-LGBT+ crackdown. The Irish Government must raise this issue at the highest possible level with Russian leaders and call for an immediate end to this harrowing persecution."

They also make demands for asylum seekers to receive protection;

"The Irish government needs to live up to its international protection obligations to recognise and protect Chechen refugees who reach Ireland, as well as using its full consular influence, facilities and resources to support The Russian LGBT+ Network in its vital work in Russia and the region at this time in affording safe options to those at risk."

"We call for the United Nations Human Rights Council to investigate the human rights situation in the Chechen Republic."

They concluded with a rousing statement; "The Irish LGBT+ community will not let this matter rest or fall out of the news cycle. We will continue to stand with the LGBT+ community in Chechnya and demand that the Russian authorities put an end to the violence and bring those responsible to justice."

The protest takes place this Monday February 4 at 6:30pm in Rathgar, outside the Russian Embassy. We'll see you there.

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