Make the Pride March Count — Give Visas to Chechnyan LGBTQ Refugees

As thousands of people get ready to walk in Pride Marches in the coming weeks, news reports indicate that the State Department is refusing to grant visas to LGBTQ people fleeing torture and detainment in Chechnya and Russia.  Whether marching or not, everyone can participate in demanding human rights for LGBTQ people all over the world. Contact New Jersey’s representatives on Foreign Relations and Foreign Affairs Committees and demand that the State Department grant visas to people fleeing Chechnya!

Call your senators
(202) 224-4744 Sen. Menendez
(202) 224-3224 Sen. Booker
Call Rep. Smith (R-4)

(609) 585-7878 NJ Office
(202) 225-3765 DC Office

Call Rep. Sires
(908) 820-0692 Elizabeth Office
(201) 309-0301 Jersey City Office
(201) 558-0800 West New York Office
(202) 225-7919 Washington DC Office

Your talking points:

  • I am participating in a Pride March this weekend, or, I stand in solidarity with those participating in Pride marches this weekend.
  • I want my country to help LGBTQ people trying to escape torture in Chechnya.
  • It is unacceptable that the State Department has said there is “no political will” for granting visas to refugees from Chechnyan concentration camps! There IS political will!
  • I want you to work with your fellow committee members to ensure that the State Department grants visas to LGBTQ Chechnyas whose lives are in danger.


The world has been horrified by reports that gay men in Chechnya have been rounded up into concentration camps and tortured. Now, Russian LGBTQ organizations report that State Department officials are discouraging efforts to get visas for Chechnyans fleeing human rights abuses. Russian advocates have been told “there was no political will” in the US for granting such visas! Make the Pride March count, and tell our New Jersey representatives on committees that oversee the State Department that there IS INDEED POLITICAL WILL here in New Jersey! 

Both of New Jersey’s senators are on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Sen. Menendez is actually the ranking member of the subcommittee that covers human rights! Rep. Chris Smith  (R-4) and Albio Sires (D-8) are on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Contact your senators, and your House rep if you are in the 4th or 8th district!

(Not sure what district you’re in? Find out here.)


If you can spare a few more minutes, contact the State Department. Tell them there is indeed “political will” to give visas to LGBTQ people fleeing torture in Chechnya! You can send an email here, or call the State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor at 202-647-4000.

Too nervous to call your representatives? No problem! Call them after hours and leave a voicemail. Still too nervous? Don’t worry — you can send them a letter!

Sen. Bob Menendez: One Gateway Center, Suite 1100, Newark, NJ 07102

Sen. Cory Booker: One Gateway Center, 23rd Floor, Newark, NJ 07102

Rep. Chris Smith (R-4): 4573 South Broad Street, Hamilton, NJ 08620

Rep. Albio Sires (D-8): 800 Anna Street, Elizabeth, NJ 07201