Why Ellen DeGeneres And Others Are Calling For A Global Stand Against Homophobia

"The world needs to rise up."

Recent news of anti-gay violence in the Russian republic of Chechnya has sparked outrage and concern from many around the world, including celebrities such as Ellen DeGeneres, who are calling for immediate action to end homophobia.

According to reports which first emerged earlier this month from the Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta, more than 100 men in Chechnya suspected of being gay have been detained in what some are calling "concentration camps," with some believed to have been killed. They reportedly range in age from 16 to 50 years old. One man told The Guardian he was put in the back of a van and taken to a detention facility, where he was tortured with electric shocks and beaten.

A spokesperson for Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, meanwhile, called the reports "absolute lies and disinformation," denying that gay people even exist in the republic. "If such people existed in Chechnya, law enforcement would not have to worry about them, as their own relatives would have sent them to where they could never return," he said.

Earlier this week, beloved talk show host Ellen DeGeneres tweeted information about these reported atrocities and called for people around the world to "rise up."

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As reported by The Huffington Post, other high-profile members of the LGBTQ community and their allies, such as Matt Bomer and Mark Ruffalo, have also spread the word and urged followers to sign Amnesty International's petition to urge Russian and Chechen authorities to investigate. (You can do so here.)

United Nations Human Rights experts are making a similar plea, stating, "It is crucial that reports of abductions, unlawful detentions, torture, beatings and killings of men perceived to be gay or bisexual are investigated thoroughly."

Like DeGeneres, Guardian columnist Owen Jones has urged action not just in Chechnya, but around the world, calling for a "global uprising against homophobia." 

"Let this become the biggest outpouring of international solidarity with LGBT people in history," Jones writes. "Let the persecution being meted out on the bodies of gay men now begging for their lives become a catalyst to build a global movement to unapologetically purge all hatred of LGBT people."

Protests have already begun, with hundreds gathering outside the Russian Embassy in London earlier this week holding signs and rainbow flags.

Meanwhile, stories of solidarity related to other homophobic incidents continue to emerge from other countries and lend hope to the cause. In the Netherlands, for example, two lawyers started a social media movement by walking hand in hand after a gay couple was attacked for doing the same.

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