According to the government, gay and bisexual men do not correspond to the heterosexual image of masculinity in Chechnya. As a result, they are systematically persecuted. From 2017 to 2020, Chechen security forces arrested, imprisoned and tortured more than 150 people, mostly gay and bisexual men.
“People are humiliated, tortured and forced into unofficial detention centers. In this context, they are also obliged to disclose their personal contacts. With this blackmailed information, security forces will then find other people from the LGBTQ community. In addition to these grave crimes, local organizations also documented cases of family members committing “honor killings” of LGBTQ people, pressured to do so by Chechen authorities.”
Four men Human Rights Watch interviewed said that the police interrogated them under torture, demanding that they identify other gay men in their social circles, in some cases showing them photographs. Police seized the detainees’ cell phones for the same purpose. One man said the police handed him over to his family, exposing his sexual orientation and indirectly encouraging his family members to kill him.
Ms Lorsanova is bisexual. She says she was beaten by Islamic healers, kept in a psychiatric clinic against her will and drugged there and by her own family because of her atheism and her sexual orientation.
Veronika Lapina and David Isteyev, activists from Russia's LGBT network, have spent much of the last few years helping LGBT men and women escape Chechnya. It is more difficult to help women escape as they can’t move without a male guardian.