A WOMAN claiming to be Chechnya’s first transgender person has spoken of fleeing Russia after an attempt on her life.
The woman, known as Leila, said she transitioned in the mid-2000s, and even worked for former Chechen president Akhmad Kadyrov before her transition, International Business Times has reported.
Her relatives were ordered by unknown people to kill her, and she received threatening texts. Despite this, the police would not take her concerns seriously, and threatened to escort her back to Chechnya.
Following the attempt on her life, Leila fled to the United States.
She told Russian television station Rain that LGBTI persecution in Chechnya began when president Ramzan Kadyrov came to power in 2007. She said she knew at least two people murdered for their orientation.
Chechen officials have denied gay people exist in the region, amid allegations of widespread persecution and concentration camps torturing gay and bi men.
The US has denied visas for around 40 gay Chechens who are in hiding in Russia, according to the Russian LGBT Network.