On 8 October “Labrys” presented the brochure on homosexuality in Kyrgyzstan written for the first time in Kyrgyz language. The target audience was the Kyrgyz society in general, which, we thought, needed undistorted and clear information about homo and bisexuals, homophobia and discrimination. We also addressed the situation of homo and bisexuals in the rural areas of the country, where it is much harder for LGB to simply live, let alone to express themselves freely or to do as they please. Homosexuality-unfriendly traditions and religious dogmatism are especially strong in areas outside of the “liberal” capital, which forces LGB people there to suppress themselves in fear for their safety.
The press conference lasted for about thirty minutes, during which we managed to summarize the content of the brochure and to answer questions of journalists. Majority of them were information-oriented and neutral in nature, although there were a couple of journalists that insisted upon being passively aggressive. They asserted that the right of homosexuals for free expression of their selves was an offence to them. In other words – protecting rights of homosexual minority was, according to them, an infringement upon rights of the heterosexual majority, which felt morally insulted by the very presence of homosexuals in their vicinity.
The most interesting bit about the press-conference, however, came a little later – after everything was said and done and recorded. The news items that were produced from the information presented at the press-conference were all conveniently controversial, almost edited out of their original meaning. The main broadcasting channel in the Bishkek area, NTS, for example, focused on the theoretical assumption about the possibility of presence of people with homosexual behavior in the Kyrgyz parliament. This unassuming assumption, in the version of NTS, was turned into a confident statement – possibly with an aim at riling up the audience. Afterwards, NTS editors put a news item about Muslims and the holy Ramadan – an attempt at juxtaposing two opposing social views on liberties and rights of individuals. In addition to these news items, there were reports on websites of information agencies. While the agency journalists used the information given in the press-release correctly, the responses of internet readers were more than outraging. Some anonymous readers proposed that gays and lesbians should be dismembered for being unlike them, while others limited themselves by simply insulting the homosexual community.