Posted by: kyrgyzlabrys | July 27, 2008

‘Transgender people in love’ features Kyrgyz guy’s story

Transpeople in Love book Cover

Transpeople in Love book Cover

We are becoming more and more global.  There is a new book which will be out in August that features a story of one of the transgender guys who has been with Labrys from its very beginning. Congratulations to Dan and to other transbois on this achievement.

 

 
Trans People in Love
Editors: Tracie O’Keefe & Katrina Fox
Foreword: Kate Bornstein & Barbara Carrellas

An anthology of real-life stories by trans people across the globe of being in love
 

 
Published by Routledge, July 2008 – AVAILABLE NOW!

About the Book
Trans People in Love is a illuminating resource for members of the trans community and their partners and families; gay, lesbian, bisexual, queer, and intersex people; sexologists; sex therapists; counselors; psychologists; psychotherapists; social workers; psychiatrists; medical doctors; educators; students; and couples and family therapists.
Trans People in Love provides a forum for the experience of being in love and in relationships with significant others for members of the trans community. This honest and respectful volume tells clinicians, scholars, and trans people themselves of the beauty and complexity that trans identity brings to a romantic relationship, what skills and mindsets are needed to forge positive relationships, and demonstrates the reality that trans people in all stages of transition can create stable and loving relationships that are both physically and emotionally fulfilling.

This important book features a wide range of relationships from monogamous heterosexuality and queer partnerships to lesbian vampire polyamory and BDSM  from around the globe, and reveals the diverse experiences of people in different cultures. These real-life love stories are widely varied, sometimes happy, at times tragic, many times erotic, but always honest. This book transcends gender issues and stands as a testament to the true power of love.
CONTENTS
 
• Foreword (Kate Bornstein and Barbara Carrellas)
• Acknowledgments
• 1. Switcheroo (Stenton MacKenzie)
• 2. My Desire to Be All Woman (Armanda Scheidegger)
• 3. Our Trip to Vancouver (Jody Helfand)
• 4. To Fight, Live, and Love at the Gender Border (Isaac Lindstrom)
• 5. Perfect Day (Susan Stryker)
• 6. A Transgressor’s Love (Andrés Ignacio Rivera Duarte)
• 7. I’m Not a Lesbian, My Wife Is: Norms and Perceptions in a Trans Marriage (Gypsey Teague)
• 8. Nick and Mark (Nick Laird)
• 9. Beyond Gender and Sexuality (Debra Hastings)
10. From Russia with Love (Orsekov Dan)
• 11. Queerly Beloved: How a Lesbian Love Survived Transition (Jacob Anderson-Minshall)
• 12. Sex and the Single Trannie (Monica F. Helms)
• 13. Between Shows: A True Story (Lee “Bridgett” Harrington)
• 14. To the Three Women I Loved in My Transgender Life
(Tiny Belly)
• 15. Bodies May Lie but Hearts Never Do (Nickolas J. McDaniel)
• 16. Satan and Lady Babalon: Polyamory Again at 64
(Rusty Mae Moore)
• 17. The Adventures of a Transman in Love, Sex, and Spirituality (Joseph J. Nutini)
• 18. Eternity Fields of Yokatatumba (Vidal Rousso)
• 19. My Husband Had a Sex Change—Shit Happens (Erica Zander)
• 20. Things of His (Jordy Jones)
• 21. Love Lost and Found (Martine Delaney)
• 22. From Queer to Eternity (Zayne Jones)
• 23. Kayla and Laura (Kayla Karstens)
• 24. Madam Carmen (Carmen Rupe)
• 25. Still Queer After All These Years: Reflections on Being in a Trans Couple (Joelle Ruby Ryan)
• 26. Notes for Trans People (Tracie O’Keefe)
• 27. Notes for Therapists (Tracie O’Keefe)
• About the Editors
• Contributors
 
The Editors
 
Tracie O’Keefe, DCH, is a clinical hynotherapist, psychotherapist, counselor, and sex therapist, originally from London, England. Since 2001, she has lived and practiced in Sydney, Australia. She is a trans woman who transitioned over thirty-five years ago and now runs the Australian Health & Education Centre, Sydney.
 
She is a member of the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH), Australian Association of Sex, Educators, Researchers and Therapists (ASSERT), and registered with the Psychotherapy and Counseling Federation of Australia (PACFA). Dr. O’Keefe is the author of many papers and articles on sex, gender, and sexuality diversity, co-author of Trans-X-U-All: The Naked Difference, the author of Sex, Gender & Sexuality: 21st Century Transformations, and the co-editor of Finding the Real Me: True Tales of Sex & Gender Diversity, an anthology of real-life stories by sex and gender diverse people of their gender journey. She is also the author of Investigating Stage Hypnosis and Self-Hypnosis for Life: Mind, Body, and Spiritual Excellence.
 
In addition to being a clinician and writer, Dr. O’Keefe is also a passionate campaigner for the rights of sex and gender diverse people. She was a founding member of lobby group Sex and Gender Education (SAGE) in Australia (www.sageaustralia.org) where she serves on its steering committee and can often be found educating bureaucrats and government officials regarding discriminatory laws and policies against trans people. More info at www.tracieokeefe.com.
 
Katrina Fox is a freelance journalist, writing predominantly for the GLBTIQ press. She is the editor of CHERRIE, a monthly magazine for lesbian and queer women in Australia and writes regularly for SX, a weekly arts, news, and entertainment magazine for the GLBTIQ community in Sydney, including a column “Keeping Abreast”. Her work has also appeared in DIVA, the UK’s national lesbian magazine, and Curve, a US national lesbian magazine. She is the co-author of Trans-X-U-All: The Naked Difference, the editor of Sex, Gender & Sexuality, and co-editor of Finding the Real Me. More info at www.katrinafox.com
 
·                            ISBN: 978-0-7890-3572-1
·                            Binding: Paperback (also available in Hardback)
·                            Published by: Routledge (part of the Taylor & Francis Group)
·                            Pages: 312
·                            List price ($USD) $32.95 (Paperback) or $95 (Hardback)
 
Ordering info:
 
http://www.amazon.com/Trans-People-Love-Tracie-OKeefe/dp/0789035723/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1215233039&sr=8-1
 
Or your local GLBT bookstore.
 
Note: Book will be available in UK, Australian and European bookstores from end of August.

Posted by: kyrgyzlabrys | June 13, 2008

May News At Labrys: training and training and training

Labrys news in May 2008

May was one of the busiest months of Labrys in 2008. A lot of positive events had taken place, uniting old and new Labrys beneficiaries and staff in meetings. However, in May there was also place for negative things to happen.

Lesbian woman attacked mistaken for a gay men

In the very beginning of the month, on 1st of May, one of Labrys lesbian clients told a story of assault and battery against her. This clearly hate based incident took place in late April, when she was coming back home at night from a meeting with her friends. In the very center of the city, where she could not have suspected any possible violence, she was confronted by two young men, who asked her if she was a ‘faggot’ [original language retained]. She has shortly cut hair and generally masculine appearance, which served as basis for their actions. To her words of refusal they applied force and took her by her shoulders to lead away from the street-lights to a darker part of the street, where they forced her to drink vodka with them. Later as their minds grew more and more intoxicated they demanded that she prove she was not a gay man and threatened they would rape her. Her resistance angered the assailants, prompting them to smash the vodka bottles and beat her up with them. Fortunately, a night patrol car was driving by at that moment, scaring the assailants away. However, the police officer had already noticed them and went after, detaining and consequently jailing. The case has been investigated and decided in favor of our client now.

Advocacy planning training with ILGA-Europe

Stretch

With this incident the negativity of May went away, ceding to more constructive happenings. For example, on 7-9 May members of Labrys Board and managing staff of Labrys participated in an advocacy planning training with a trainer from ILGA-Europe. During the intensive three days work participants of the training identified main agents of advocacy work for Labrys, including main targets, allies and opponents. They also developed main four problems and goals to work for.

We wrote a lot, too

These goals are:

  • increasing the level of activity and activism of LGBT groups in Kyrgyzstan;
  • establishing a formal system of recognition of transgender identities;
  • convincing mainstream human rights organizations in Kyrgyzstan to be open to LGBT issues and be willing to cooperate with Labrys;
  • working with media on their objective and informed coverage of LGBT issues.

17 May events: International Day Against Homophobia

On Friday 16th May Labrys conducted a public event in commemoration of the upcoming 17th May International Day against Homophobia, as the date itself fell on Saturday. Labrys team made a series of visits to offices of national and international non-governmental, governmental and intergovernmental organizations with an information package on the history of IDAHO, homosexuality and homophobia in Kyrgyzstan, and work of Labrys. Offices of nearly 20 organizations were visited with very positive feedback from the visited. Labrys plans to continue the practice of such visits in future framing them into a structured framework, as this public event proved to be very successful. For example, one of its outcomes is the offer from the office of Kyrgyz Ombudsman to include a representative from Labrys in a newly establishing youth human rights committee of Kyrgyzstan.

LGBT and Allies

On 17th May itself Labrys organized a semi-public event, gathering partner organizations and beneficiaries from LGBT communities in celebration of International Day against Homophobia. Participants of the event were brought to flanks of hills and mountains near the city limits, where they were given helium-filled air balloons and tubes with gouache for free artistry. Very soon the hill flank chosen by Labrys was full of rainbow coloured balloons with proud and peaceful calls for equality and human rights of LGBT. After an improvised speech from management of Labrys the balloons were let off to the skies with exclamations rejecting homophobia. Even after the balloons disappeared in the heights, the Kyrgyz sky was still rainbow coloured, as a rainbow-coloured kite brought to Labrys by a partner organization soared symbolizing freedom, peace, and equality. The LGBT friendly KLOOP covered the event and we are grateful to Gaara for excellent photographs.

Training for trainers on health lifestyle for LGBT

On 22-25 May Labrys took out LGBT beneficiaries and staff members to training for trainers on healthy lifestyle for LGBT conducted on the shores of Issyk-Kul Lake. It has been the second visit of the trainer from Labrys’ partner organization in Ukraine, Alena Semenova, who was invited on demand of LGBT communities. The highlight of the training was that it brought together, for the first time, activists from different LGBT organizations of Kyrgyzstan (Avallon and activists from Talas region).

Participants of the training studied basics of healthy lifestyle, including healthy nutrition habits, handling stress situations, working with alcohol consumption and smoking, as well as risky sexual behaviour and practices. In the second part of the training participants learned and practiced basics of being a trainer. According to feedback from participants this practical part of the training was especially useful to them as they acquired knowledge on training theories, holding attention of the audience, and effectively dealing with it. Labrys staff is currently working with several participants of the training on organizing their own trainings for LGBT communities.

Hate Crimes Monitoring Training with OSCE/ODIHR

May ended with two Labrys staff members participating in an introductory training for civil society on Monitoring and Documenting Hate Crimes organized by OSCE/ODIHR in Warsaw on 31 May – 2 June. Several cases from Labrys’ archive have been included in the 2007 ODIHR publication on hate crimes. The willingness of OSCE/ODIHR to include hate crimes and hate incidences against LGBT in the agenda of the organization is a very positive development, as it shows that LGBT issues are finally entering mainstream human rights discourse.

Apart from discussing key terms and basic issues of hate crimes and hate incidences together with nearly thirty other participants from all over the OSCE region (56 states), Labrys has established new contacts with LGBT activists and organizations. Among them are Serbian “Q” LGBTQ organization, Polish “UFA” (according to UFA members their name may be disabbreviated in 50 different ways) – a feminist LGBT organization, several Polish feminist and LGBT activists, as well as an LGBT activist from Northern Cyprus.

Along with new contacts Labrys has refreshed contacts with the COC-Netherlands funded PRECIS project partners from Georgia, Belarus, and Ukraine.

New ideas for future cooperation have sprung up from this unexpectedly LGBT-friendly training. Among them are participation in upcoming film festivals and equality prides. Labrys may also (provided funding is secured) participate in a Turkish roundtable on homosexuality in Islamic societies, which would be very useful for Labrys’ work in Kyrgyzstan.

Posted by: kyrgyzlabrys | June 7, 2008

Labrys in OSCE/ODIHR publication on Hate Crimes in 2007

Two Labrys staff members have participated in an introductory training for civil society on Monitoring and Documenting Hate Crimes organized by OSCE/ODIHR in Warsaw on 31 May – 2 June. Several cases from Labrys’ archive have been included in the 2007 ODIHR publication on hate crimes. The willingness of OSCE/ODIHR to include hate crimes and hate incidences against LGBT in the agenda of the organization is a very positive development, as it shows that LGBT issues are finally entering mainstream human rights discourse.

The case included in the report is as follows,

‘In Kyrgyzstan, a young female to male transgender person was attacked by
two men on the streets of Bishkek on 26 November. The victim was denied
help by a shopping centre security guard and was forced to flee the centre
on his own. According to “Labrys”, an LGBT non-governmental
organization, this is a common occurrence in Kyrgyzstan.’

Apart from discussing key terms and basic issues of hate crimes and hate incidences together with nearly thirty other participants from all over the OSCE region (56 states), Labrys has established new contacts with LGBT activists and organizations. Among them are Serbian “Q” LGBTQ organization, Polish “UFA” (according to UFA members their name may be disabbreviated in 50 different ways) – a feminist LGBT organization, several Polish feminist and LGBT activists, as well as an LGBT activist from Northern Cyprus.

Along with new contacts Labrys has refreshed contacts with the COC-Netherlands funded PRECIS project partners from Georgia, Belorus, Ukraine.

New ideas for future cooperation have sprung up from this unexpectedly LGBT-friendly training. Among them are participation in upcoming film festivals and equality prides. Labrys may also (provided funding is secured) participate in a Turkish roundtable on homosexuality in Islamic societies, which would be very useful for Labrys’ work in Kyrgyzstan.

Posted by: kyrgyzlabrys | May 20, 2008

International Day Against Homophobia in Kyrgyzstan

International Day Against Homophobia (or IDAHO, to be short) in Kyrgyzstan was celebrated in two parts. The first part took place on 16 May as a public action, in which Labrys staff made a series of visits to international and national civic society organizations with a packet of information. The package included facts about 17th May the IDAHO, homosexuality in general and in Kyrgyzstan, cases of homophobia and discrimination in the country, as well as information on Labrys and on How To Be an Ally. Among the international organizations visited were Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe office in Bishkek, the United Nations House, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. The list of national civic society organizations included Media Commissioner’s office, Women’s Support Centre, AntiAIDS Association, Tais Plus, Association of Civic Society Organizations.

As result of this public action more national NGOs and international organizations are aware of existence of LGBT issues in Kyrgyzstan, and of the work Labrys is doing in this direction. We found the action to be an effective tool in building networks with strong potential partners from the civic society sector of Kyrgyzstan. In future we want to continue this new-found tradition with quarterly visits to organizations of the country.

Contrary to expectations the day of 17 May turned out to be very bright and sunny. In previous years the veterans of LGBT movement noticed it always rained or the weather was otherwise unpleasant. However, this year conditions for celebrating IDAHO were perfect. Labrys team gathered nearly forty people from the community and partner organizations to take them out of the city limits for an improvised helium-filled balloon pride moment on one of the mountainsides near Bishkek.

Each of us was given a white balloon and tubes of colourful gouache to paint whatever we wanted on the surface. Some wrote “LGBT of the world, Unite!”, others drew LGBT rainbows, while the youngest of our guests (two girls aged 2 and 3) drew colourful flowers and stars on their balloons – which soon took flight after a few inspirational words from Labrys executive director Anna Kirey. The flight of more than forty rainbow balloons was beautiful and everyone fell silent for a moment in contemplation of that beauty.

After the air launching there was free time, during which we painted each other’s cheeks with rainbow flags, flew rainbow kites and had some snacks provided by Labrys. The whole event was closely followed by ally journalists from kloop.kg internet blogging and news portal, thanks to whom (especially Timur) we now have the opportunity to post some pictures from the Kyrgyz IDAHO.

Posted by: kyrgyzlabrys | April 30, 2008

Kyrgyzstan: Halt Anti-Gay Raids – a Human Rights Watch report

The very well highlighted situation with unexpected visits of militia to our Community Centre has received a great amount of international attention. Among others, it has been addressed by Human Rights Watch, which released a press release on 17 April. We apologize for bringing the news with so much delay – there shall be no excuses, only apologies on our part. The press release may be read here.

Labrys has also sent an Individual Communication to UN Special Rapporteurs on Arbitrary Detention; Promotion and Protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression; Violence against women, its causes and consequences; Situation of human rights defenders. We are currently waiting for a response from them and possible reaction from Kyrgyz authorities.

On 9 April 2008, PRESS-UZ, an “independent” news agency of Uzbekistan, published an offending article about the surprise militia visit to Labrys, which was reported on our blog previously. The article, titled “Kyrgyz Militia Checked Pederasts and Prostitutes from Netherlands”, cites Kyrgyz news agency “24.kg” as the source of its information. However, the stark difference between the methods of delivering information of Uzbek and Kyrgyz agencies may be identified at the very beginning of the article. Just the title of the article already reflects the distorted and slanderous information contained in the body.

The article describes Labrys as an organization defending interests of “pederasts” and “prostitutes”. It also implies that the official dinner with participation of national and foreign partners of Labrys, the Board and the staff was a “sexually perverted” party.

Connected to this the article reminds its readers that Netherlands was among the first countries in the world, which legalized prostitution, “sodomy”, and usage of drugs. It is further on added that a number of Dutch NGOs aspire to diffuse such “European values” on the territory of CIS countries.

The original article may be found here: http://press-uz.info/index.php?title=home&nid=244&my=042008

In response to this extremely slanderous piece by “independent” Uzbek journalists, Kyrgyz human rights defender Dmitriy Kabak has sent the editors a letter of protest in which he questioned their ethics and adherence to providing objective truth. Uzbek journalists did not stay behind and provided a response, in which they countered Kabak’s protests with ones of their own, again calling Lesbian women, Gay men, Bisexual and Transgender people “sexual perverts”. According to their response, Uzbek journalists are against the “propaganda” of non-heterosexual orientations, which, in their opinion, undermine the traditional family values.

The response article may be found at: http://www.press-uz.info/index.php?title=culture&nid=273&my=042008

Posted by: kyrgyzlabrys | April 9, 2008

Surprise militia visit to Community Centre causes public stir

It has been a little over an hour since the last militia officer left the Community Centre premises today on 8 April 2008. No victims or traumas were left after the unexpected visit of Kyrgyz law enforcement representatives; however a lot of food for thought was.

It was a cozy dinner with Labrys’ national partners (Anti-AIDS Association, Tais Plus) and those from Netherlands (COC, HIVOS) and Moldova (Gender Doc-M), the staff, the Board and a few volunteers and clients of the Shelter with various issues being discussed in different corners of the training hall (as we call it), when four unauthorized people came in through the door. The three of them turned out to be militia, with one being a district militia officer and two others – his assistants. The fourth person was the head of building cooperative in which the Community Centre is located. The cozy dinner was interrupted with the first aggressive sound of the district officer’s voice, who rudely demanded that literally everyone present at the dinner (nearly 30 people) prepare their documents to be checked.

Without first introducing himself, the officer also demanded that all organizational documents pertaining to Labrys’ registration, rent and financial systems be presented to him immediately. Allegations were made that the Community Centre was a cruising den or some other suspicious place. To attempts at discussing the issue on composed and legislative terms, the district militia officer threatened to detain everyone should he be not presented with identification cards. This was a problem for nearly half of the guests, who had not expected that they would be asked to show their passports and questioned on their registration details. It is not exactly a common thing for ordinary citizens to be always carrying their passports wherever they go unless there is a specific governmental decree demanding to do so.

The surprise militia visit lasted for over two and a half hours, during which the tensity of situation swung up and down in a cosine-like manner. The main point of contention between Labrys affiliated persons and the militia was that for Labrys guests it was a public event to which one might come with presents, but not necessarily with documents, which are usually kept at home for security reasons. For militia officers the case was that Community Centre was rented in an inhabited condominium and thus could also be considered a living quarters, all inhabitants of which must have their documents at first demand.

Majority of explanations and official documents clarifying the status of the Community Centre were disregarded as impertinent by the district officer, who focused on demanding everyone’s passports or detaining everyone if the former condition was not met. At this point Labrys had already contacted a number of human rights activists and lawyers, as well as media representatives, to advise on the situation. With the plea of their soonest assistance, Labrys refused to succumb to the threatening and aggressiveness on the part of militia officers, and insisted upon discussing the issue from legal points of view.

The staunch stance of Labrys only angered the district militia officer, who acted on his threat of calling additional enforcement. The latter arrived quite soon in the form of five other militia officers with one, whose status was higher than that of the district officer. The arrival of militia enforcement, to district officer’s possible inner surprise, only served to mitigate the clash. The head of district militia office proved to be a professional and composed officer, who clarified the situation and kept himself within the bounds of allowed.

Soon after their arrival the Community Centre premises were filled with new participants of the surprise evening with militia – local human rights activists and lawyers. With the combined professional assistance of activists and Anti-AIDS Association consultants, the conflict soon subsided, as it was agreed that should the militia be still interested in organizational documentation of Labrys, we would bring all the documents to them the next day. It was also agreed that contrary to threats of the district officer to take everyone into temporary detention, no such things would be done. By the end of the incident, the last officer to leave the office – the district militia officer himself – was smiling in a peacemaking manner.

After all of the militia officers left the Community Center, Labrys and its guests gathered for a short debriefing session. Unfortunately, it is not the first time when Labrys is visited and questioned extremely aggressively and rudely on the purpose of its existence, which is suspected to be for malicious or illegal reasons. The first time when militia came with an unauthorized visit to Labrys office a few years ago, the officers had thrashed the door, demanding to be let in and threatening that everyone would be raped or otherwise violated if they were not. Thankfully, this time there were no such excesses with the exception of an allegation at Community Centre being an illegal cruising place. However, this could also have been the case because of the presence of our foreign partners and highly qualified and professional allies from national partner organizations.

Learning from previous experience with militia, this time we tried to document every word and action of parties involved on video and photos. The incident will also be covered by various news blogs and information agencies. We will soon update you with pictures and a short video on the event once it is edited, so do check us out in the coming days. Until then we wish you all a peaceful and non-militia disturbed time.

Posted by: kyrgyzlabrys | April 5, 2008

March News

March 2008 gave a strong impetus to the season of spring in Labrys. We conducted two discos for the community, which is an innovation in Labrys practices. As the discos were very popular with our girls and boys, it was decided to hold two gatherings a month instead of one as it was before. This, we believe, should help us strengthen the community unity and also allow our outreach workers a better access to target groups.
 
There was also one adjusting meeting of the Board of Labrys facilitated by Labrys staff. All members of the Board (minus one, who delegated her right of vote to the Chair of Board) were present at the meeting, discussing several issues. Among them were their functional responsibilities, questions regarding the general purpose of having a Board, fundraising strategies. The next meeting was scheduled for beginning of April with an agenda continuing that of the first meeting.
 
Community Centre
 
The Community Centre/Shelter project of Labrys is proving to be a huge success. The number of beneficiaries turning to community centre resources (films, books, recordings, magazines and newspapers – or simply communication and interaction with likeminded individuals) increased greatly, nearing 62 with 206 visits; while the number of Shelter clients reached 11 with 26 more coming for a night.  Several trainings for L, G, B, T community reps took place on the Community Centre premises, focusing on such issues as HIV/AIDS, normality of being homosexual, and psychology of communication.  Biweekly support groups for lesbian women, bisexuals, gay men and transgenders were also conducted, introducing notions of self-help to our community members. Psychological counseling offered by Labrys’ new psychologist also proved to be very popular with Labrys beneficiaries, who find her assistance quite useful. The number of those using medical services offered by partner organizations of Labrys also increased exponentially compared to numbers of previous months.
 
To summarize – March showed that the Community Centre/Shelter project is viable and is living up to the high hopes Labrys put into its establishment and development.
 
Homophobia of Russian Orthodox Church
 
As previously reported on our blog (http://kyrgyzlabrys.wordpress.com/2008/03/04/russian-orthodox-church-against-sodomites/), on 3 March Russian Orthodox Church held a response press conference following the 14 February press conference Labrys held at information agency “24.kg” on results of work and achievements of the organization. With us there was also gay-friendly priest from Apostolic Orthodox Church Maksim Bratukhin, who spoke of God as love and his acceptance of homosexuals as his equal children. These remarks caused quite a ruckus within the Russian Orthodox Church in Kyrgyzstan, prompting them to release a poisonous press release and to follow up with a press conference. During the latter, representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church insisted upon calling LGBT people ‘sinful sodomites’, and Maksim Bratukhin – a ‘masked pervert’. Several allegations were also made about homosexuality in general, which was equaled with bestiality and pedophilia.
 
In response to this publicly voiced homophobia of the Russian Orthodox Church, Labrys team compiled a video cast, collecting opinions of civic activists, journalists, LGBT and Maksim Bratukhin himself. The video cast (both Russian-language and subtitled into English versions) may also be found at our blog (http://kyrgyzlabrys.wordpress.com/2008/03/14/videocast-on-google-video/ ;  http://kyrgyzlabrys.wordpress.com/2008/03/20/113/ ). Our video-response proved to be very popular with the video being viewed more than 400 times during the first hour of being up on renowned Kyrgyz video archiving web resource Video.KG.  The video cast and the whole story with Russian Orthodox Church was highlighted by Global Voices Online.
 
Advocacy and Public Communications
 
Labrys is working on final touches on informational materials planned for March and April. Among the prepared items are the 10th edition of Labrys magazine and two brochures: one for parents and friends of LGBT, and another by and for transsexuals. The magazine is on the finishing line and is ready to be published within the next few days, while the brochures might take another two weeks to be finished. Do look for updates regarding our information materials!
 
Advocacy direction of Labrys’ strategic interests is also progressing. The work on trans-documentary has been edited by Labrys team in record short terms and is now going through final corrections and touch ups. The documentary is intended for viewing by governmental officials, non-governmental organizations and international human rights institutions as one of our main tools in lobbying the gender marker change without surgeries. Currently Kyrgyz legislation allows change of documents for transsexuals only after gender correction surgeries, which are very expensive and not conducted in Kyrgyzstan. This creates significant difficulties for Kyrgyz transgenders on their way to finding themselves.
 
However, not everything is as bright as we would have liked. While the trans-documentary is being readied up, our previous agreements with Kyrgyz Ministry of Health and Soros Foundation Kyrgyzstan on establishment of a working group on gender marker change issues are faltering slightly. The Ministry of Health is refusing to acknowledge its previously voiced agreement to establish the working group, despite documental evidence. We are currently in the process of brainstorming possible avenues of approach together with Soros Foundation Kyrgyzstan. Regardless of the results, however, Labrys does not intend to abandon the advocacy of gender marker change, and is already looking at other opportunities.
Posted by: kyrgyzlabrys | March 20, 2008

Church videocast with subtitles

The videocast prepared by Labrys team in reaction to homophobic remarks of Russian Orthodox Church (as seen in the previous post) has been reworked to add subtitles for English-speaking readers of our blog. The subtitled videocast may be viewed at the Overstream.net.

Posted by: kyrgyzlabrys | March 14, 2008

Videocast on Google Video

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