Today’s Fridays with Friends has an all-encompassing significance. As readers and writers, we have the opportunity to make a difference in the current situation of LGBT Chechens. Please take a moment to read Megan Derr’s guest post below and to visit the rest of the links included. Most importantly, join the cause, every bit counts. Sharing this post and the information about the charity auction is the first step. Help us reach as many people as possible. This is a subject that needs our immediate attention. Thank you!
You may have heard the news coming out of Chechnya, part of the Russian Federation, where police are kidnapping gay men (and those they perceive to be gay) and taking them to camps for torture and state-sanctioned murder.
Readers & Writers for LGBT Chechens is raising money for organizations working directly with gay men and other persecuted LGBT people in Chechnya and the northern Caucasus, through:
- direct donations
- donating royalties to these charitable organizations
- an online auction that runs through Saturday, May 13, at 12 noon CDT (6 pm BST and 3 am Sunday morning AEST)
Words Make a Difference
by Megan Derr
Several years ago, my wife, my sister and I decided to start Less Than Three Press so that voices that went unheard might get a chance to tell their stories. Many women in queer romance come here because it’s a home they don’t find elsewhere. Many men come for the same reason, because so much of literature and general fiction is full of depressing stories where it only counts as a real book if at least one of the queer characters dies.
But the queer community reaches far beyond the books we write. Once upon a time I did an auction similar to this to fight for marriage equality. I am now happily married to my wife. What we do matters, from the shortest, silliest story we write to the most inflammatory post we reblog (or, in my case, write). Words matter, and they matter more when people try to pretend they were never spoken, that the people who said them, are trying to say them, don’t exist.
So it might feel small to contribute a story, or to buy a story, but hundreds of emails from happy readers who feel seen and acknowledged will tell you otherwise. The wedding ring on my finger says my small part years ago helped to make a difference. The Readers & Writers for LGBT Chechens auction too will make a difference to people who might not have been heard otherwise. That’s why I write, publish, and participate in things like this. It’s not the huge grand gestures that most often save a world, it’s the small ones.
Megan Derr (Twitter: @meganaderr) is a long time resident of LGBTQ romance, and keeps herself busy reading, writing, and publishing it. She is often accused of fluff and nonsense. When she’s not involved in writing, she likes to cook, harass her cats, or watch movies. She loves to hear from readers, and can be found all over the internet.
To raise money to help LGBT Chechens, she will write an original novella for the prompt of the highest bidder in the Readers & Writers for LGBT Chechens online auction.
- To learn more about the situation in Chechnya — including news updates and how to make a direct donation to a designated charity — visit Readers & Writers for LGBT Chechens
- Buy books with royalties going to help vulnerable Chechens
- Bid in the Readers & Writers for LGBT Chechens online charity auction
- Sign up to attend our Facebook event and invite friends. It’s a great way to keep up-to-date.
Authors, Publishers, and Artists
If you’re an author or artist who would like help out, please sign up at Authors & Publishers for LGBT Chechens. There, you can also find answers to frequently asked questions about royalty donations, the charitable organizations that are helping LGBT Chechens, and more.
Fridays with Friends & Favorites is a weekly post featuring authors, designers, editors, and anyone else brave enough to show up. And sometimes, my favorite book of the week might take the spotlight.