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Thursday, 5 August 2010

Kyrgyzstan: Stories of gay and bisexual men

Kyrgyz (Kirgyzstan, Uzbekistan, China)Image via Wikipedia
A new report from the Kyrgyz group Labrys looks at the life modes and sexual practices of 30 gay and bisexual men living in Kyrgyz Republic.
It happened in December. A guy was stopped by militia. Out of nothing they start checking for documents. He didn’t have any. He’s a bit feminine, mannered – so they got it immediately. They said: “You’re gay, aren’t you? Let’s go to your parents now.” They demanded eight thousand soms.

Last year I told my classmates about MSM. They listened to me and then beat me up, saying I should never tell them about MSM. There were 17 of them. I wrote a claim against them. It was accepted, but then cops came and told me not to come up to them and talk about MSM with them. They paid 12,000 soms for my treatment and the case was closed. I had two ribs broken and brain concussion.

There was once, but at least I did not sufer too much. At work one guy got into my inbox and saw my registration on a forum, and that’s it – talks and jokes started around me. But directly they wouldn’t tell me anything. I treated this as an experience that I would have to go through one day. I didn’t leave my job because of that. With time our communication got better. Although in the beginning it afected them, but later they got to know me better.

A bunch of scum was shouting after me: “Gay boy!”. Thanks to the girl band “Tatu” for some cultural changes. That song was really popular back then. Instead of yelling: “faggot”, as they would usually do, they yelled: “Gay boy!”

There’s an awful lot of stories like that – in my life. I was in a hospital for three months with a broken jaw. I was attacked. I went out of the club. Right behind the gates they got me. I only saw their boots. Usually SG’s wear them.

Mainly they beat you. Like, here’s a “faggot”, “goluboi”. I was an open one and my hairdo was all colors of the rainbow. Most probably people didn’t like that. Of course, nobody likes us.

Of course, it’s not easy living here. Constantly someone’s yelling something, pointing ingers. A lot of things happened. But that was before. Now they’ve stopped getting at me. They know I can respond. So they’ve stopped meddling with me. I can stand up for myself.

I was working with one girl. She knew. One time we sat in one company, where she said I was gay. There were guys there, a lot of them. Some said: “Hey, live as you want”. But another huge one, about two meters high, caught me and threw me at the wall. I left then. Sometimes I see those guys and they start: “Let’s go behind the corner, we’ll talk”. If they have an opportunity to beat me – they won’t miss it. If they can kill me – they will. When they see me they start whispering to each other. After this it got even worse. I started getting calls like: “Give us this much money”. That girl also told everyone at work. They started persecuting me. I wanted to commit suicide because of this whole story. It was nine in the evening, winter. I was standing on a bridge, wanted to jump of. I don’t know why I changed my mind. I felt bad for my mom. She wouldn’t have survived it.

Syinat Sultanalieva, Executive Director of Labrys, said in February that violations of the rights of people of non-traditional sexual orientation occur most frequently within the family.
“Our organisation has started a ‘refuge’ project.  We provide temporary accommodation to those people who have been thrown out of their homes, or who have left of their own accord because their families do not accept the choice they have made”, said Sultanalieva.

“The project has been running for four years, and in that time around 100 people have come to us. In 2010 we are determined to focus all our strengths on the rehabilitation of LGBT people [who come to us for help].  They often have no support, no prospects, and we try to help them to [reintegrate] into society.”
“Police who come across someone from the LGBT community try to blackmail them and frighten them by saying that they will reveal their sexual orientation.  Medical staff refuse to admit them for treatment.”
Labrys was founded in April 2004.  Today, the group has around 1000 members

Kyrgyzstan: Stories of gay and bisexual men

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