LGBTQ Activists: “The U.S. Hasn’t Accepted Any Queer Immigrants From Chechnya”

"First of all, it’s not a purge, it’s a genocide."

The detention, torture, and killings of queer people in Chechnya has resumed—and is getting worse.

It’s been nearly two years since reports of an anti-LGBTQ purge in the region began to emerge, yet there has still been no official investigation by Russian authorities. Last month, the U.S. State Department and European Parliament issued a statement urging Russia to investigate the anti-queer crackdown, which local advocates report have resumed.

“We are deeply disturbed by credible reports out of Chechnya about renewed attacks against individuals perceived to be members of the LGBTI community,” said Robert Palladino, deputy spokesperson for the U.S. State Department in a statement.

Adam Eli of the grassroots activist organization Voices4 and Lyosha Gorshkov, a queer professor who fled Russia, joined MTV News’ Dometi Pongo on “Need to Know” to discuss Chechnya’s genocide of its LGBTQ community and the obstacles for those seeking asylum in the U.S.

“It’s concentration camps for sure, it’s genocide for sure, medieval torture with electrocution…with raping with bottles, and it’s humiliation with people held up in basements of rehab centers and police precincts…” says Gorshkov of the torture of queer victims.

Eli says when media outlets first picked up on the news out of the region, it focused on the purging of gay men. The activist says it’s important to remember lesbians, trans people, and gender non-conforming individuals are also at risk.

“First of all, it’s not a purge, it’s a genocide,” says Eli. “Second of all, it’s affecting all queer people, not just the gay community.”

“In terms of genocide and massacre towards LGBTQ people, it was the first. We were stunned, we were petrified, we thought those people could make it to the United States for example, but they didn’t because the United States has not accepted any queer immigrants from Chechnya.”

Watch the full MTV News interview below.

Lamar Dawson is a pop culture junkie and pop diva addict living in Manhattan. Follow him on everything @dirrtykingofpop.