We love Ian McKellen. That’s just a fact. But, it seems like Ian’s always doing something else that makes us love him even more.
What’s this week’s “something else?” Well, a protest just happened in London yesterday to raise attention on the ongoing Chechnya situation, and guess who was right in the middle of it.
Ian, and the hundreds of others, were protesting outside of the Russian embassy in London to demand that London do more to help the gay men being terrorized in Chechnya. Also, many of the protesters wore black “WE EXIST” T-shirts and waved signs or rainbow flags.
At the protest McKellen said,
“I’m not usually in favor of commenting or interfering on the internal affairs of another country, even when it’s as close to us as Chechnya is, but the point is that this is a matter of principle. Our principles are shared across borders, and the plight of the gay men in Chechnya is the plight of gay men and women throughout Russia.”
“What a condemnation it is of Chechnya that its authorities should believe that there are no gay people there, and if there were they shouldn’t be – it’s absolutely appalling. If gay people are invisible it’s because they are frightened to be themselves and come out, so it’s a condemnation not of gay people but the society they are trying to exist in.”
Another participant at the protest was Peter Tatchell who spoke to the Evening Standard. He expressed the need for the British government to reach out to the United Nations and have them interfere with the injustices happening in Chechnya.
All of this activity is about the many reports of gay men being tortured, captured, and even killed in Chechnya. These reports started in April, and since them more reports have been coming in by the day. That said, only a few men have been able to escape and seek refuge in other countries.
It’s protests like this that are showing governments that the people want to help this men and stop any more incidents from happening. These governments just have to listen.