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Last week, I attended the Side-By-Side Queer Film Festival in St. Petersburg. When I was invited two months ago, I knew that I would be approached by a lot of LGBT Russians asking for help. It’s the reason I agreed to go. But I did not expect the dozens of people who raised their hands when I ended my talk and invited questions about asylum.

People asked me what their options were and how they could get out of Russia. One man asked if he could bring his partner with him when he fled. A woman wanted to know how to keep her children safe, now that Russian judges are forcibly removing kids from families with LGBT parents.

LGBT Russians are both realistic and practical. They know that they are living on borrowed time. They need your help.

As a gay man, I feel so privileged to live in the United States. I am out, and proud, and safe. At Immigration Equality, we serve the growing number of Russian asylum seekers who want exactly the same things. In fact, we only received 68 calls from Russian asylum seekers in 2012. By the end of this year we expect more than 200.

Today, I ask you to invest in the Russian Empowerment Project because no LGBT person should live in fear because of who they are or whom they love. Your donation will enable Immigration Equality to keep fighting for LGBT Russians seeking a safe place to live.

Thank you for standing with them, and with us. Together, we can ensure that America remains a safe haven for the international LGBT community.

Aaron C. Morris
Legal Director, Immigration Equality

P.S. Make a tax-deductible gift to the Russian Empowerment Project today. Your donation will help save lives and keep families together.