In response to Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov’s statement that no gay people exist in Chechnya—and frequent reports that the region’s queer community is under grave duress—NYC-based artist Paul Tuller has created a LGBTQ Chechnya T-shirt. All 100% of proceeds from the shirt’s sales will be donated to The Russian LGBT Network, an NGO that has been working to extract members of the queer community from Chechnya safely. So far, the organization has relocated 40 gay men—and information gained from these individuals has helped shine a spotlight on the murder and torture currently taking place. Tuller says, “Reading that The Russian LGBT Network already saved 40 people from persecution was so inspiring. I knew that I wanted to make a substantial contribution. Seeing activism with direct results is uplifting and I want to do whatever is possible to support their efforts in relocating queer people in danger.” Art and activism have long gone hand-in-hand and this effort by Tuller shouldn’t go unnoticed.
Tuller’s LGBTQ Chechnya T-shirt is available online for $32. As this is a charity item, and each is made per order, the artist will not be offering returns.
Images by Tayte Hanson