Lesbian, bisexual and transgender women fleeing persecution: The Case of North Caucasus

Allegations of arrests, torture and murder of LGBT persons in Chechnya reached the world through the independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta in spring 2017. Victims and survivors of the crisis have since fled the country to find safe havens elsewhere. Most stories that have made international headlines concerns gay men, but how did this crisis affect lesbian, bisexual and transwomen? To what extent are they persecuted based on their sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and what is persecution based on them being women? And – what challenges are those who fled facing in their new home countries?

Queer World and the Norwegian Helsinki Committee are proud to be able to present the report Violence Against Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Women in the North Caucasus Region of the Russian Federation, which is based on 21 in-depth interviews with LBT women from Chechnya, Ingushetia and Dagestan about their experiences. The report is the only report tackling this issue exclusively. It is also unique because LBT women from North Caucasus have actively been taking part in developing it, through the initiative “Queer Women of North Caucasus”. They present their experiences of coming out, recognition of their identity, their hopes and aspirations – as well as violence, violations and of fleeing.

The presentation will be followed by a conversation about how states and civil society in Europe today may meet the complex needs of women fleeing both repressive regimes and their own families in a best possible way.

Valentina Likhoshva from Moscow Community Center, has been working with the situation for LBT women in Russia and the North Caucasus. She will present the report, and also share some of the experiences LBT women have met in their new home countries. Inna Sangadzhieva is responsible for the Russia department in the Norwegian Helsinki committee, and will share her insights from following the situation for women in the North Caucasus on a daily basis. Susanne Demou Øvergaard from Queer World will share some of their lessons learned from working with women who have experienced persecution based on both their gender and SOGIE. What are their main challenges when establishing new lives in other European countries? What is the responsibility of the receiving countries? What is the best and worst practices, and not the least – what are reliable sources of competence and information?

This event targets everyone with an interest for the situation in Chechnya, Ingushetia and Dagestan, as well as LGBT refugee issues and policies.

Open event, free.

17 May is the International day against homophobia, transphobia and biphobia.

Norway is hosting IDAHOT + Forum 2019.
The IDAHOT + Forum is the most important European event on LGBTIQ politics.
The conference will take place between May 13 and 15, and the title for this year’s conference is LGBTIQ Policies on the Move – Challenges and Next Steps. The purpose of IDAHOT + Forum is to strengthen European cooperation on LGBTIQ politics.

About Queer World
Queer World is a national competence partner for queer person with immigrant background. We create safe meeting spaces and generate competence building on sexual and gender diversity. Since 2004, Queer World has been working socially, culturally and politically to increase the living conditions for our target groups.

About The Norwegian Helsinki Committee
The Norwegian Helsinki Committee is a Norwegian NGO working with human rights issues in Europe and Central Asia. We have followed the situation in Russia since the nineties, and for several year already we have had a particular focus on the situation for LGBTI person. We have been a central actor in assisting victims and survivors of persecution based on SOGIE in North Caucasus, Russia in general and other European countries.



Mina Wikshåland Skouen

Senior Adviser Equal RightsEmail: [email protected]Phone: +47 90 82 50 76
Read article "Mina Wikshåland Skouen"


Inna Sangadzhieva

Director for Europe and Central AsiaEmail: [email protected]Phone: +47 97 69 94 58
Read article "Inna Sangadzhieva"