Posted by: kyrgyzlabrys | July 16, 2007

Yet another homophobic article

This is a translation of an article from Vecherniy Bishkek published on 6 July 2007. ‘Labrys’ and two other organizations wrote open letters to the editor about the article. Texts in Russian coming soon. Special thanks to K for translation. The Joys of Gay Brotherhood and Film Kyrgyz homosexuals will soon become the heroes of a documentary film that a Polish human rights activist intends to make in Bishkek. In her opinion, the republic’s gays are able to live in peace and freedom, and she believes that our society demonstrates a high level of tolerance towards homosexual love. A Gay Oasis in a Desert of Straight People Gay people in Kyrgyzstan are united in an organization that boasts the romantic name Oasis and that receives financial support from a fairly large number of international organizations, including the Global Fund. For some reason, sponsors from Holland seem to be particularly concerned with the development of gay communities. Oasis maintains resource centers in Osh and in Kara-Balta, and the gay movement is growing and expanding – seed groups have also sprouted in Issyk-Kul and Jalalabad. Homosexual men gather in the center of the Kyrgyz capital, in two nightclubs where women are not welcome. Not out of antipathy towards the female sex, but just to keep the ladies from becoming upset at the sight of a whole horde of attractive men who are, in a very particular sense, completely useless. This sometimes provokes an entirely disproportionate reaction. Particularly despairing ladies have been known to throw themselves, fists flying, at the “”traitors,”” causing actual physical harm, and to pull out clumps of hair from carefully styled hairdos. Male “”naturals”” (straight people, which is how gays refer to those who adhere to a traditional sexual orientation), incensed by a gay pair embracing, can also fly off the handle. In order to avoid any displays of sexual extremism, our homosexuals, like those around the world, prefer to hang out with and relax in a very narrow circle. After visiting a few such gatherings, Vecherka correspondents have reported to our readers several peculiarities of gay fiestas. At first glance, the spectacle is dumbfounding (especially when men began to passionately kiss each other), but you get used to it. Homosexuals dance well, especially those pretending to be women. I still can’t forget one fellow from Osh – what a luxurious lady named Madina with a silicone chest he made! In general, everyone was very much like people everywhere, and it even began to strike me as incomprehensible that such an uproar should be made about these gays. After each such article, the newspaper’s editors were inundated with indignant phone calls. One true Muslim called down the immediate wrath of heaven upon our poor heads for purportedly propagandizing homosexuality, and we had to spend a long time explaining that there was no propaganda involved, that it was simply a statement of fact taken from real life and an entirely unambiguous study of an unorthodox phenomenon. These are the kind of genetic jokes that Mother Nature plays on us, and no one is immune to them. An extra chromosome crawls out of left field, and it’s game over. Whether you’re a Muslim, a Jew, a Christian, or just a nudist, you’re in the same boat with everyone else: off to the gay community with you. A Measure of Democracy Experts maintain that up to ten percent of any ethnic group is “”condemned”” to being gay. Several years ago, an international group called BOS (“”A Quick Evaluation of the Situation””) came up with an estimate of 35,000 homosexuals in Kyrgyzstan. “”Such a figure is entirely possible,”” said Vladimir Tyupin, the leader of Oasis. “”Although as of today only 7,950 people are registered with our organization.”” When asked where all the others are, Mr. Tyupin said, “”Underground. Not every gay person can openly admit their orientation, since strong social prejudice is still very much alive. Closeted gays aren’t to be envied – they are obliged to enter into traditional marriages, and then they suffer with their wives while feeling intensely dissatisfied. This leads to neuroses, nervous breakdowns, illnesses, etc. Our organization is intended to provide ‘our’ people with social and psychological help and to supply them with informative literature, condoms, etc.”” No matter which way you look at it, the civilized world considers society’s attitude towards sexual minorities one of the measures of democracy. Vladimir Tyupin confirms that in our country, everything is normal so far. The police don’t especially target gays for harassment, people aren’t fired for showing signs of being gay, nobody throws stones on the street, and the law criminalizing homosexuality has long since disappeared. And that all shows us in a good light. In Uzbekistan, for example, such a law is still on the books, and it is occasionally applied, although mostly to intimidate political enemies. In fact, a well-known journalist in Tashkent who was attempting to criticize the Karimov regime was charged with sodomy and jailed. And anyway, our gays don’t stick out very much. Their hairstyles and outfits are remarkably modest: no leather pants, dog collars, chains, or brightly-painted lips and eyes. An untrained straight person would be hard pressed to immediately tell if they were looking at a gay person. For example, I just recently discovered that part of Bishkek’s Prospekt Erkindik, from the Russian Drama Theater to Toktogul Street, is a gay cruising ground. We walked up and down the street for two hours, but we couldn’t pick a single person out of the loitering crowd as being definitely gay. They themselves, however, know each other instantly: they claim it’s by a particular look in the eye that only initiates pick up on. Parades Aren’t Our Style When the whole commotion surrounding the gay parade happened in Moscow and Luzhkov said that what he considers to be a profane outrage would take place in the capital only over his dead body, correspondents from the foreign press attempted to prod Oasis into a repeat of the incident in Russia: would there be a massive gay parade in Bishkek? Why aren’t Kyrgyz gays taking to the streets? In reply, the head of Oasis patiently explained that our gays don’t feel the need for such demonstrations, which are always either about pursuing political goals or wasting large sums of money that somebody donated. Here, he said, there are neither such political goals waiting to be reached nor such donations waiting to be spent. A certain balance has been achieved in Bishkek between the straight community and sexual minorities, and it is not in anyone’s interest to rock the boat. There are some problems that are more pressing than others. According to the most recent voluntary study, the number of homosexuals known to Oasis to be infected with syphilis has grown to 26 people (there used to be 9). But that’s not too bad, since syphilis can now be treated with a single tablet. The worst problem is the appearance of the first case of HIV infection. Gays run a higher risk of catching AIDS than any other social group, and the appearance of even a single case is already a serious danger signal. In general, one has to wonder just who the Polish journalist is going to find to photograph in “”gay”” Bishkek, much less capture on videotape. Details Incidentally, “”informational”” literature of this sort is liable to throw any prude for a loop. The bright brochures are liberally sprinkled with photographs showing passionate gay lovers in elegant poses. With bait like that, any paragraph is an easy read, whether it’s about sexually-transmitted diseases (information that straight people should memorize as well) or about safe sex (only with condoms – another universal survival law). The only thing not for a general audience is advice such as “”how to find new colors in the game of love.”” Homosexual sex is a very specific affair that comes equipped with an entirely different class of “”techniques”” with names that fail to resonate in the straight ear: rimming, fisting, fellatio. But once you really try to understand it and begin to wrap your head around all information in the brochures, you finally just want to say, in a general’s baritone, “”well, I never – you lot are full of surprises!”” Olga Dyadyuchenko

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Responses

  1. […] conferences, such neutral and humane information is greatly needed, not least to counteract the hyped-up “salacious” stories that some local newspapers publish from time to […]

  2. […] Belyi parakhod for the Bishkek-based LGBT organisation Labrys. This is certainly not the first time homophobic articles have appeared in the Kyrgyzstani media, but as an example of the pseudo-logic that homophobes use […]

  3. […] conferences, such neutral and humane information is greatly needed, not least to counteract the hyped-up “salacious” stories that some local newspapers publish from time to […]


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