The world is spinning very fast. Only a few lines today. We had an interview with Times of Central Asia about being LBT in Kyrgyzstan, will put the link to the article here once it’s published. Should be interesting. Three more Amazon.com books arrived, we put books covers on them. FtM support group meeting happened on Sunday, there was a new guy in the group, he is 28 and Uigur (Muslim Chinese ethnic minority in Kyrgyzstan. We had a short medical book presentation, translation is finally finished. Bois asked lots of questions about possible harm of taking testosterone. Also we discussed which texts to translate next. And what to do with 140 plus 5 each month Euro that was raised by the solidarity party in Berlin. Bois seem to want very practical things and not books. Finally, the article that followed a roundtable against violence that we held on 17 May was translated into English. See below [huge thanks to CXW for quality translation]: Actual theme: Sky blue dreams [Pink dreaming – if by meaning] They don’t bite, don’t wink at you with their right eye whilst “provocatively” indicating towards a dark corner with their left, don’t say that gays and lesbians are “wow” and heterosexuals are “eugh”. And talking with them, these “abnormals”, is far more interesting than talking with the very large number of “normals” who possess, like [Ilf and Petrov’s] Ellochka the Cannibal, a minimal vocabulary. Incidentally, many mistakenly think that the word “gay” indicates just how happy representatives of this section of the population are (since “gay” in translation from English means happy). The abbreviation GAY, it turns out, stands for “Good As You”. But why is it thought that they are any worse? This is what our Moskovskii Komsomolets correspondent tried to work out, having been in attendance at a round table held on March 17 dedicated to Anti-homophobia Day (hostility and fear in relation to homosexuals). To beat or not to beat, that is the question. According to the event’s participants, this question is not asked by many people in relation to representatives of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual) community. People beat, stalk, humiliate, blackmail, distrust, hate them (including members of their own families). Or they openly laugh at them. An acquaintance, on knowing where I was going, joked in a camp tone “well, reeealy… well, youuuu! Going round the gays, you’ll be morally degraded! You’ll become that, what is it? A gaysha!” More seriously, I’m anticipating disapproval from many readers: everywhere you look the rights of pensioners, street children, the disabled, children and their parents are being abused, and here she is writing about gays and lesbians. Yes, I am writing about them. Because I do not see them as a separate category. Rights for street children are human rights. And gay and lesbian rights are, imagine it, also human rights. I am not justifying or condemning them, as I am entirely calm about things in my surroundings if they are not aggressive and don’t interfere with my life. On the other hand, I am not asserting that non-traditional sexual orientation is right and good. What I am asserting is that it is wrong to insult and beat someone up solely because he or she is gay or lesbian. As Anna Kirey, organisational coordinator of Community Association Labrys recounted, the organisation is often approached by young women who, because of their non-traditional sexual orientation, have been beaten by their fathers and brothers, forcibly made to marry in the hope of “”curing”” them. As an example Anna mentioned the story of 22 year old Tatyana. She’s a lesbian, and looks very masculine (short hair, men’s clothes). In 2002 Tatyana was meeting with a girl from a very strict family. The couple scrupulously hid their relationship, but the truth nevertheless came out: the brothers of Tatyana’s object of affection found out everything. Consequently, Tanya was raped by the brothers, who then began to visit her periodically demanding that she have sex with them. In order to avoid further violence, Tanya was forced to hide. Meanwhile a friend decided to help “”cure”” 25 year old Aigul. She found no better method than to ask a couple of male acquaintences to assist her. I don’t think I need to tell you what the young men did to Aigul. Vladimir Tyupin, chairman of Community Foundation Oazis, gave already well-known examples of when law enforcement officers carried out violence against gays. For example, a young man places an advert in the dating section of a newspaper. But then police officers come to the “”date””, and act out S&M police-style: handcuff him, beat him with truncheons, take his mobile phone and money from him. If the collected sum isn’t enough, then the blackmail starts: hand over more money, or we’ll tell your parents what you do. “”We appealed to the Prosecutor General, to the National Security Service, to the Presidential apparatus,”” recounts Tyupin. “”We conducted a round table with ministers from the Interior Ministry and Department of Justice and employees from the Procurator’s Office, we ran seminars at the police school. After this similar cases were stopped, but this year we’ve had another call: a young man told us that two policeman had lain in wait for him and demanded $200: in other words, bring us the money ‘and you’ll be fortunate’, your parents won’t find out anything.”” He managed to cut the amount down to 1500 som [approx ˆ30/$38] by bartering, and promised to bring the money the next day. Having called Oazis, he received detailed instructions about what to do. The cunning policemen, evidently having suspected something to be amiss, didn’t come for the money. I don’t doubt that they managed to successfully shake down some cash in some other place in some other way, seeing that they have plenty of methods. But if, let’s say, it is still possible to resist street violence in some way, then tackling domestic violence is more complicated. According to Tyupin, many parents, having found out that their son is gay, think that it is possible to solve the problem by getting the young man married off. Such marriages are not long-lived, even if a child is added to the family. “”We had a case with a Uighur guy who was forced to marry,”” says the head of Oazis. “”They divorced soon after the birth of a daughter. In the family they could not forgive him that he also became openly gay: his brother in anger ran a knife across his throat, thankfully not deeply. They stitched his throat up. His parents sent him off to Jalalabad, and we don’t know what’s happened to him now.”” Vladimir Tyupin also doesn’t know how to prevent domestic violence. It is not possible to bring about major changes in the situation by conducting seminars on an ad hoc basis or meetings with parents. Moreover, parents are often in an aggressive frame of mind. “”Parents think that we pervert their children. Thus, they say, if there was no Oazis then there’d be no homosexuals, but now you’re recruiting them. We don’t recruit anyone, and do not drag anyone in. It is not a fashion thing, people are born like this. And I think that it’ll take more than one generation before parents begin to accept people for who they are.”” Certainly, to say that the appearance of the LGBT community in the republic is entirely the result, as the heroine Mordyukova from the film Diamond Hands said, “”of the noxious influence of the West”” would be untrue. Proof of this is a history recounted by Natalya Pavlova of the crisis centre Sezim. A young man (or, more accurately, a transwoman who was born with a male body) lived in a distant village, in a patriarchal family. Here there were neither TV channels nor newspapers with “”morally lax”” content. However, this person always felt that the sex indicated in his passport did not have any relation to him. He felt very uncomfortable, uneasy in men’s clothes. It was only when he had ended up abroad to study that he was able to wear women’s clothes, and, correspondingly, behave as a woman. In Kyrgyzstan he had come up against constant and practically unsolvable problems and was literally torn between love for his parents and the fact that he could not live with them, since they would not accept him for who he is. Moreover, a highly-placed relative, whom he told about his problems in a fit of sincerity, began to blackmail him. Now nothing is known about the fate of this person, but most probably he is living abroad. The account given by Alex, whose father beat him practically constantly because of his gender identification (Alex was born a girl), was very impressive. “”I know that many people think that they can cure us or force us to live as they want using violence or threats. But this is not just our problem. It is a problem for the whole of a society in which people have got used to rooting out things that they don’t understand. However, any person has the right to live as he wishes when it is within the law.”” To cure or not to cure? This is still one more question that causes arguments amongst philistines. Those that are not calling for them to be “”beaten, shot, hanged, trampled to hell”” suggest “”curing”” them instead. As it turns out, there is no accurate, scientifically-supported answer to why people with homosexual tendencies are born. Different reasons are mentioned: genetics, psychology, social reasons. Each of these can be easily supported, and disproved. As Anna explained, the World Health Organisation removed homosexuality from the list of psychiatric disorders in 1993. The American Psychiatric Association had done this much earlier, in 1973. Russian psychiatry finally got rid of the diagnosis of “”homosexuality”” in 1999. Until then, homosexuality was considered an illness, which, as it turned out, they tried to cure in a number of ways. For example, at the start of the twentieth century, homosexuals were simply castrated. Some of them agreed to such barbaric treatment themselves, others were forced. Later this method of treatment was discontinued, since the sexual orientation of the homosexual-eunchs remained the same. Using one highly “”original”” method, medics tried to to achieve a state in which even one look at a male body would cause revulsion: homosexuals were shown pornographic pictures of naked men, and as soon as they were aroused they were either subjected to electric shocks or injected with a medication that caused nausea and vomiting. Revulsion, of course, occurred, but only for a short time. Many doctors, using Sigmund Freud’s conception according to which “”we are all born of childhood””, linked explanations for sexual deviance to psychological traumas suffered by homosexuals during childhood (although Freud himself warned that “”attempts to turn… a homosexual into a heterosexual will most probably be unsucessful””). Patients attended intensive sessions of psychoanalysis, hypnosis and autotraining for long periods of time, but without any results. By the middle of the twentieth century one more surgical cure had appeared: the so-called lobotomy. Surgeons separated the connections between the spheres of the brain, cut out the hypothalamus, thus destroying the areas of the brain aswering for sexual behaviour. People who had undergone a lobotomy were observed to suffer either from a full loss of sexual libido, or from coordination problems, and serious vision problems were found. There were also cases of paralysis. Hormonal therapy was also added to efforts to cure homosexuality, with equally sorrowful results: gays who took female hormones suffered a total loss of libido, and started to gain weight as though on yeast, and many grew breasts. Those who were taking male hormones experienced an increase in sexual activity, but their attraction to people of the same sex did not disappear. Gland transplants similarly did not produce any positive results. Thus we can conclude that curing homosexuals is pointless. At the very least, no sucessful method exists today. The famous psychologist and sociologist Igor Kon in his book Moonlight at Daybreak: the Faces and Masks of Same-Sex Love writes: “”The example of the lefthander is educational. In answer to the question ‘with which hand do you write?’, nine out of ten people say with their right, ten percent with their left, but around thirty percent of righthanders sometimes write with their left. We know that lefthandedness is connected with the particularities of the functioning of the hemispheres of the brain, and furthermore that it is governed by the same region of the hypothalamus where the ‘gay gene’ is located. Like homosexuality, lefthandedness is twice as common amongst men as amongst women. However, it is not ñîïðÿæåíà with any kind of psychological or moral disorders. There is no need to force the lefthander to be righthanded, since they can already be anyone, even world champion in boxing and tennis””. Similarly, gays, lesbians and bisexuals can be wonderful musicians, artists, writers, and so on. Many may be extremely surprised to learn that the famous philosopher Socrates was of the non-traditional sexual orientation, as was Plato, Aristotle and Diogenes. Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Richard the Lion Heart, the explorer James Cook, Mikhail Przhevalsk, the artists Leonardo da Vinci, Michaelangelo and Claude Monet. Homosexual writers include William Shakespeare, Molle, Cervantes, Oscar Wilde, Jules Verne and even the famous children’s author Hans Christian Andersen, and composers have included Schubert, Tchaikovsky and Chopin. The famous designers Christian Dior and Gianni Versace, whose, I think, clothes homophobes, wear with pleasure, likewise did not prefer women. Amongst well-known female bisexuals have been the poetesses Marina Tsvetaeva, Anna Akhmatova and Sophia Parnok. The writer Jorges Sand, the famous artist Frida Kahlo, and German cinema actress Marlene Dietrich were also noted for their involvement with women. The inimitable and wise woman Tove Janssen, author of the beloved Moomin Troll children’s book (as well as the fantastic cartoon!), never hid her lesbian tendencies. President Roosvelt’s wife, Eleanor, despite being married, was always drawn towards women. The spouses did not divorce, since they came to a sensible agreement: breaking up with negatively impact of Franklin’s political career. The Eleanor Roosevelt Prize is still awarded annually for promising work in the defence of human rights today. The famous Soviet comedy actress Faina Ranevskaya, author of the phrase “”homosexuality and lesbianism are not perversions. Perversions are hockey on grass and ballet on ice””, was also of non-traditional sexual orientation. Who can say that all of those listed above (about their talents I’ll stay silent) were ill, abnormal? In any case, no more than you or I. Disaster, we’ll die out! Cry homophobes, accusing homosexual couples that the human race will die out because of them. Enough! Firstly, in any state the proportion of LGBT people is not greater than ten percent. Secondly, Asian regions of the world, where there is a tradition of having large numbers of children, are definitely not threatened with extinction because of homosexuals. It is more likely that mankind will perish as a result of drunkenness, drug addiction and endless wars, of incapability and a lack of desire to compromise, of indifference to others’ problems and the absence of ïðåñëîâóòàÿ tolerance. Among the suggestions of how the position of the LGBT community in Kyrgyzstan could be improved in some way was the founding of a shelter for young people who, putting it mildly, have been unable to find common ground with their parents. One of the participants of the round table suggested organising within the NGO system something like a legal centre, whose employees could assist people of non-traditional orientation with legal consultations and represent their interests in court. A psychologist, who had attended the round table, noted that the founding of a special psychological service. Of course, parents should be punished for physical and moral harm to their own children, but nevertheless it would be more more beneficial to carry out corrective psychological work in families that have run into this sort of problem. After all, in some ways the departure of their son or daughter from home is no less a tragedy than it is for the children themselves. And about moral laxity… Let’s remember, for example, cases of paedophile priests, about which our newspaper has written more than once: according to a statement by the Vatican, over the last 50 years Catholic priests (!) in the USA have sexually abused more than ten thousand children. More than four thousand “”servants of God”” have been accused of sexual abuse. No less than $650 million has been paid to victims of abuse throughout America. Let’s remember about the children’s homes where carers get away with god knows what. Let’s take a look at the underpass by TsUM where young mothers use their children to earn money. Let’s not lay the blame for lax morals and future extinction of the huam race on gays. We ourselves are to blame. Epilogue One day, Nikita Khrushchev went to inspect an art exhibition in the Manezh. He went in, looked round the artists’ works, and began to complain that Homo Soveticus was being shown “”dung smeared in a frame”” under the guise of paintings, and finally made his conclusion, having described the artists using the magical word “”faggots””. I prefer a different sharp-witted definition expressed on the web forum Diesel [www.diesel.elcat.kg] from a user going by the nick of Denim: “”Personally, I think that a real faggot is the kind of man who will sit in a minibus warming the family jewels and not give up his seat for a pregnant woman! Faggots are those people who sit high up in power, passing laws that are negative for the people and who decide to pay us such wags, pensions and allowances that one can buy only soap and string. Faggots are the policemen taking money off the little old ladies who sell sunflower seeds. They are the men who beat their pregnant wives up and give them syphilis as a ‘present’. They are the beloved sons who sell every last thing from their parent’s home just to be able to get drunk.”” I’ll second that. Moreover, I’ll add on my own account that efforts to force everyone to comply with a common norm using violence are far more destructive for society than any deviation from those norms. Elena Ageeva.
Posted by: kyrgyzlabrys | July 11, 2006
Posted in Uncategorized