Chechnya refugee fronts moving campaign for people who can’t come out on National Coming Out Day
A refugee who fled Chechnya is speaking out for everyone who can’t be themselves on National Coming Out Day.
Amin Dzhabrailov filmed a video for Canadian LGBT+ asylum non-profit Rainbow Railroad, after fleeing from torture and persecution in the Russian province of Chechnya.
Chechnya refugee: I did not expect to escape alive
He explained: “In Chechnya, being gay is like, you always have to hide who you are. It’s always about worrying and watching yourself, because it’s not accepted.
“I was kidnapped from the salon I was working in by soldiers with guns… and was tortured with other gay men for two weeks. I expected not to leave that place alive.”
After he was released from captivity, Dzhabrailov fled Chechnya, and thanks to Rainbow Railroad was able to escape to Canada.
He said: “I left everything behind – my career, my family, friends. The way I’m doing now, it’s like, and I’m not afraid to open and speak who I am now.
“It’s being yourself, each day. You don’t have to be anyone but yourself. This is the best thing.”
Help Others Out campaign is to help people who can’t come out
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The video was filmed for Rainbow Railroad’s #HelpOthersOut campaign, to raise awareness and life-saving funds for LGBT+ people ” who live in places where it’s impossible to come out without compromising your safety — or even your life.”
Rainbow Railroad Executive Director Kimahli Powell said: “Right now, countless LGBTQI people are forced to suffer in silence due to hateful laws that make them the target of state-sanctioned violence, persecution, and even death.
“It’s up to each of us to ‘Help Others Out’ by calling attention to the many countries around the world that puts a target on the backs of their LGBTQI citizens.
“Coming out is one of the most powerful ways LGBTQI people can change hearts and minds — this Coming Out Day we celebrate those who can safely be who they are, while we remember and fight for those who are forced to live in hiding.”
The group has helped save the lives of over 600 LGBT+ people around the world.