By Kayleigh Sky
In recent weeks, Chechen authorities have imprisoned, tortured and murdered gay men, and even those merely suspected of being gay. Those who protest these atrocities are being rounded up as well, even while a Chechen spokesman has denied the very existence of gay people in Chechnya. Hatred is nothing new; it is, in fact, an old enemy, but it is one we must fight at every turn.
Shortly after Donald Trump won the Electoral College vote, I became involved in a local resistance group. For some time before the election, I began to suspect he’d win. The dejection I felt at this thought was extreme; I believed I was seeing the end to the America I’d loved, and that had once earned a place of respect in the world. I’m gratified by the rise of resistance, however. The power of people to make change can never be underestimated and is sorely needed in light of the events in Chechnya and around the world.
During the days after the election, the evidence of the racism, misogyny, homophobia, and xenophobia that had been fermenting under the surface of society became clear. The tolerance and respect institutionalized by law and custom rapidly eroded, and another thing that became clear was that this was not happening only in the United States. There is a saying that when you open a door, other doors will open for you. This is said for positive effect, meaning that your efforts will yield an opportunity and the opportunity will snowball into bigger and better things. Unfortunately, this saying has negative applications as well. As we are seeing, we only need to crack the door on evil and in no time the hordes will push it open and storm through. We have seen this so often in history. Massive abuse starts with a mere whisper. Who saw Hitler as the mass murderer he was when he started out in politics? Certainly, some people must have had their reservations about his views, but it is human nature to shy away from the worst of our imagination. It won’t come to that, we say. Somebody will intercede, we tell ourselves. Well, WE are the ones who must intercede, because it will come to that. It has come to that. Apathy is the most insidious of evil’s tools. We look away. Do. Not. Look. Away. Don’t despair either. It doesn’t always take a great effort to make great change. Sometimes, it only takes a multitude of small efforts joined together.
Readers & Writers for LGBT Chechens includes more than 30 writers, publishers and other book people who are helping to make a difference through royalties, other donations, and an online charity auction to be held May 5–12.
Authors, publishers, and other book people are:
- setting aside royalties for the Russian LGBT Network
- making direct donations to organizations helping vulnerable Chechens
- contributing signed paperbacks, cover design and editing services, ebook collections, bespoke short stories, char acters named after readers, and more to an online auction with proceeds to benefit the Russian LGBT Network, ILGA-Europe and Rainbow Railroad, which are helping LGBT Chechens escape to safety.
We also have a newsfeed with updates about the situation in Chechnya and what charities are doing to help. You can check it out here.
If you’re an author who would like to get involved, please sign up at Authors & Publishers for LGBT Chechens. There, you can also find answers to frequently asked questions about the auction, royalty donations, the charitable organizations that are helping out LGBT Chechens, and more.
If you are a reader who would like to learn more about the situation in Chechnya and how to help — including how to make a direct donation to a designated charity, buy a book from a participating author, or support the auction — please visit Readers & Writers for LGBT Chechens.
Kayleigh Sky is an m/m romance writer of complex stories of love and redemption that always end in happily ever after. Love matters, and everyone counts.
Nine of Dale Cameron Lowry’s best short romance stories are available for the first time in one book. Meet a sign language interpreter who finds unexpected love at middle-age, college students in their first relationships, a vampire who would rather be a vegan, and a proudly gay ex-Mormon who sells Bibles. From sweet to sensual, this collection exhibits the quirkiness, fun, and diversity Dale’s writing is known for.
Part 1: Falling Fast
- Mi Alma — Ex-Mormon Alma doesn’t know the first thing about alcohol, so he hires bartender Damian to help out at his office party. Their friendship simmers with sexual tension—and possibly something much deeper.
- Loggerhead — Soon after falling in love, Jake makes Eric a promise inspired by an old track shirt. But demanding work schedules prevent them from following through. Six years later, they take the honeymoon they never had, heading to the Florida coast in search of sea turtles—and rekindling their passion for each other in the process.
- Reading the Signs — The only thing Theo De Jong expects from his summer linguistics academy is more inspiration for his master’s thesis. Then he meets the American sign language expert Alfonso Grossman, and sparks fly.
Part 2: Falling Fantastically
- Born of Fire — The fairies on Ireland’s north coast are notorious for kidnapping, and Aodhán has the scars to prove it. When the fairies abduct the handsome youth Cainnech, Aodhán seeks to free him—but risks losing his health in the process.
- Ghost of a Chance — When shy Jeremy meets mysterious Frank at a spooky old library, their connection is instant. Their romance waxes with the full moon—but just as quickly, Frank’s interest seems to wane. He insists he loves being with Jeremy. So why does he keep Jeremy at arm’s length?
- Far From Home — Rajiv met his husband, Mateo, while working to transform Mars into a suitable home for humans. Years into their shared mission, Rajiv is ordered back to Earth to restore the barren lands of the American Midwest. With a little help from technology, the two men find innovative ways to nurture their long-distance relationship.
- Sweeter Than Blood — Keith was a vegan before a hot encounter with a stranger turned him into a vampire. Though his sire tries to help him rein in his impulses, temptation is strong in the form of Andres, one of Keith’s regular barbershop customers. When Andres finally asks Keith on a date, the real danger begins.
Part 3: Falling Deep
- Rough Love — Blake thinks new boyfriend Michael doesn’t like French kissing. Michael thinks Blake doesn’t like rough sex. Neither are virgins, except in the art of conversation. Can they set things straight before the honeymoon’s over?
- Pacific Rimming — For Mike’s 40th birthday, husband Ken encourages him to bed a gorgeous 20-something man they encounter in Pacific Rim National Park. A night of no-holds-barred passion among the three men reveals a sizzling chemistry. Can what started as a one-night stand transform into a threesome that lasts?
Books Save Lives: Participating Authors & Publishers (click books for links to buy – authors’ royalties goes to the Readers & Writers for LGBT Chechens)
These authors and publishers are donating book proceeds to the Russian LGBT Network and Rainbow Railroad. Check back regularly for updated listings.
Jo Tannah is donating 100% of all sales of The Standards Series, What A Difference A Day Makes & The Way You Look Tonight, through the end of May to the Russian LGBT Network. These are M/M romantic stories based on the lyrics of the songs of the same title.