LEADING BLACK LGBTQ+ LEADERS SUPPORT BLACK LGBTQ+/SGL RUSSIAN ASYLUM SEEKERS; CALLS FOR GLOBAL PRAYER FOR BRITTNEY GRINTER TO BE BROUGHT HOME



(WASHINGTON, DC – MARCH 9, 2022) – Over the weekend, it was reported that WNBA Center Brittney Griner was detained at a Russian airport last month and subsequently jailed. 

In reaction to the reports, David Johns, Executive Director of the National Black Justice Coalition, a leading Black LGBTQ+ civil rights organization, issued the following statement:  

“Black and LGBTQ+ people living in Russia and in the Ukraine  face the twin perils of racism in an overwhelmingly white nation and anti-LGBTQ+ harassment and persecution in a nation where the community is routinely excluded and ridiculed. We pray for and call for safety, physical and mental well-being, for all Black LGBTQ+ people in Russia, including our own Brittney Griner.

We hope that Black LGBTQ+ people living in countries where being who they are or learning more about who they are is against the law, including Russia, are able to seek and find refuge in communities in the United States where being who you are is affirmed. We hope that in the matter of days, we can welcome Brittney and Black LGBTQ+ refugees home.“

Kierra Johnson, Executive Director of the National LGBTQ Task Force:

“From racist discrimination and abuse reported at the Ukrainian border to attempts just last month by the Russian government to dissolve the largest LGBTQ organization in the country, it is clear that people of color and queer people in both countries are not only in the crosshairs of waring nations but of escalating racism and homophobia. Our hearts go out to all of the people suffering from war and violence in the Ukraine and Russia and we are reminded of the additional impact of war on people of color and our  lgbtq+ family who are fighting for their freedom and lives. As a queer woman of color my hope is that the Russian government is honoring the humanity of  Brittney Griner and that she is being treated with respect and dignity and will be returned to the US promptly.”

Melanie Willingham-Jaggers (they/she), Executive Director of GLSEN

“The news of Brittney Griner’s detainment in Russia is absolutely heartbreaking. GLSEN sends love and support to her wife and family. GLSEN unwaveringly supports BG and all that she embodies for all the big, visible androgynous Black lesbians and non-binary people everywhere. She is one of us, and we value her.

As a Black, queer, and nonbinary leader of the leading national organization working to guarantee LGBTQ+ students safe and affirming education, I hope Brittney is treated with dignity and humanity with her health and safety as a priority. We wish for Brittney’s safe expedient return to the U.S.” 

We invite the global community to join us in solidarity with Brittney and her family by joining our global call for prayer regarding her swift and safe return home.

Join us in signing the petition to secure her return here.

Contact: Cathy Renna, Communications Director, National LGBTQ Task Force, 917-757-6123, crenna@thetaskforce.org.


The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) is America’s leading civil rights organization dedicated to the empowerment of Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer+, and same gender loving (LGBTQ+/SGL) people, including people living with HIV/AIDS. 

The National LGBTQ Task Force advances full freedom, justice, and equity for LGBTQ people. We are building a future where everyone can be free to be their entire selves in every aspect of their lives. Today, despite all the progress we’ve made to end discrimination, millions of LGBTQ people face barriers in every aspect of their lives: in housing, employment, healthcare, retirement, and basic human rights. For more information go to https://www.thetaskforce.org

GLSEN works to create safe and inclusive schools for all. GLSEN envisions a world in which every child learns to respect and accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, and/or gender expression. Each year, GLSEN programs and resources reach millions of students and educators in K-12 schools, via action at the national, state, and local level. Since 1990, GLSEN has improved conditions for LGBTQ students across the United States and helped launch an international movement to address LGBTQ issues in education.