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Paul Tuller, a Brooklyn based illustrator, is using his art to support victims of the anti-gay purge happening in Chechnya right now.
His “LGBTQ Chechnya” shirt is available for sale now, with 100% of the profits being donated to the Russian LGBTQ Network. The network is an interregional, non-governmental LGBTQ human rights organization that is helping gay and bi men flee Chechnya.
We had the opportunity to ask Tuller some questions regarding his response, his support and his resistance.
Where were you when you first found out about what is happening in Chechnya?
I was in my apartment in Brooklyn having a coffee with my queer roommate. We both couldn’t believe this was actually happening.
What was your initial response?
Disbelief. Followed by the need to find a way to help.
Why is it important to help right now?
As long as this persecution is going on it’s an urgent humanitarian issue. The Trump administration hasn’t vocalized any concern over Chechnya and without strong international pressure to investigate I doubt Moscow will do anything.
What made you decide on this design?
I wanted something strong and relatively simple. I’m used to lettering in my illustrations so I wanted to stick to my strong suits.
How did you learn about the organization Russian LGBT Network?
I was researching ways I could help and a few publications had mentioned the Russian LGBT Network and the work they do.
Why did you choose them to support?
I think it’s incredible to see that they have already helped 42 gay men escape persecution. To hear about direct results like this is inspiring and I want to help them continue their work.
How do you resist?
This year has been all about protesting and staying informed. In high school, I worked at an LGBTQ safe space for youth so activism has been part of my life since I was a teenager.