It has been three weeks since the now notorious 14 Feb press conference “Labrys” held at information agency 24.kg, during which we spoke of the four years of Labrys existence, our main directions of work, and God’s tolerant attitude to homosexuals. It is now possible to summarize and analyze the general media and public reactions to it. Aside from the national mass media bodies present at the press conference (three TV channels, three radio broadcasters, three information agencies, and one newspaper), the news have spread far and wide. The general remark regarding the media coverage of the press conference is that regardless of the main information cause – history and achievements of “Labrys” – the coverage has focused on two main points of media preference: community centre and transgender issues. The only exception to this rule is Strana.KG web portal, which reported on Labrys work.
For example, Gay.ru, Russian LGBT information portal, informs its readers about efforts of Labrys to work on issues of gender-marker change for transsexual and intersex people in cooperation with the Ministry of Health. It also writes about Labrys community centre in a separate news item, focusing on funding partners of the organization. The same news item with slight differences was published on the website of Ukrainian feminist organization Jenskaya Set.
Russian information agency, Rosbalt focuses on the ‘shelter’ component of Labrys community centre project – however, in doing so, it confuses the main goal of our shelter, falsely specifying that the shelter was established for transsexuals. It is unclear where has the communication gone wrong, but it is not the only publication asserting that Labrys shelter is only for transsexuals. Another web portal, Dobrososedstvo, joins the Rosbaltian opinion that the shelter is only for transsexuals. (For those reading about this project for the first time, we hasten to assure you – the Shelter is for all LGBT and affiliated groups and it makes no preference for one or another group.)
Several other media agencies have published news items about Labrys transgender rights advocacy work. This was, perhaps, taken as the ‘exotic’ side of the organization’s work, as the news items focused on the fact that Labrys is attempting to establish partnership with the government of Kyrgyz Republic on the issue of gender marker change. In this line there are information agency 24.kg, Russian Gaylyday.Ru, information agency Akipress, Ar-Namys party RSS, Central Asian News portal.
Among the few, but very noted mass media that covered Rev. Maksim Bratukhin’s speech about God’s tolerance for homosexuals, are Strana.Kg web portal and Channel 5 (no link available.) The latter channel became the unintended culprit of a poisonous press release and press conference held by Russian Orthodox Church, of which we informed in the previous post.
This ‘scandal’ was highlighted by kloop.kg news portal with an in-depth investigation at the heart of the argument between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Apostolic Orthodox Church, which Rev. Maksim Bratukhin represents. At the press conference and the press release, the Russian Orthodox Church calls homosexuals ‘sodomites’ and names Labrys as the organization that works on protection of rights of ‘sodomites’ – adding into the bundle offences against Reverend Maksim Bratukhin, calling him a ‘masked pervert’.
Labrys intends to react to this uncalled for aggressiveness by the Russian Orthodox Church with a videocast that is now being prepared by Labrys staff. We will also prepare an open statement focusing on human rights of LGBT persons and affiliated groups, calling for non-discrimination and integration of LGBT into the general society as equal members.
So, stay tuned for the fantastic video-cast!