▲ Up
22:43 26-07-2017
АКИpress CA-News Tazabek Turmush
Loss of 2022 Olympics big disappointment to Kazakhstan’s LGBT community
11:51, 14 August 2015, 3766

AKIPRESS.COM - lgbt-holding-hands For many in Kazakhstan, losing out on the 2022 Winter Olympics bid – especially in such a close vote – was a disappointment. Despite the fact that the Olympics would have likely brought only economic drag and bad press, the country narrowly missed out on the chance to finally shake the image of, and association with, the character of Borat, who has tailed Astana for nearly a decade, The Diplomat reports.

However, there’s one segment of Kazakhstan’s population that likely feels even more disappointed at the decision to award the Winter Games to Beijing. For LGBT individuals in Kazakhstan, the possibility of landing the 2022 Games was one of their main hopes for defending their rights, identity, and safety in Kazakhstan. Earlier this year, the country’s Constitutional Council struck down Kazakhstan’s impending “anti-gay propaganda” law on technical grounds – presumably to comply with regulations required by the International Olympic Committee. At the time, the ruling stood as one of the few bits of good news out of Central Asia in 2015.

Now, though, any external motivation for keeping a Russia-style LGBT crackdown at bay has slipped away. A member of Kazakhstan’s parliament has already said that the draft legislation may well be reintroduced before the year is out, mirroring Kyrgyzstan’s sudden push against its LGBT population.

The timing of the IOC’s decision, and the fallout for Kazakhstan’s LGBT population, coincides with a new report from Human Rights Watch detailing sexual minorities’ struggles in the country. Interviewing nearly two dozen LGBT individuals, the 31-page report, titled “'That’s When I Realized I Was Nobody': A Climate of Fear for LGBT People in Kazakhstan,” details a nationwide atmosphere as intensely homophobic as any time in recent memory.

The report didn’t mince words in covering the existing fear: “The LGBT people Human Rights Watch interviewed in Kazakhstan said that fear influences all aspects of their lives – fear that their sexual orientation or gender identity will impede their access to education, employment, and health care; fear of violence while walking down the street; and, too often, dread at the prospect of everyday interactions with intolerant and sometimes psychologically abusive family members.”

To be sure, the Soviet legacy of legalized homophobia plays a large role in shaping the resultant anti-gay views. But HRW also lays much of the blame at the feet of the government. “The Kazakh government’s deafening silence on the human rights of LGBT people, combined with the acerbic anti-gay rhetoric of some members of parliament, has contributed to the social sanctioning of discrimination against people based on their real or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity,” the report notes. And considering Kazakhstan’s recent backslide, there’s little likelihood the government will step in to uphold its pledges anytime soon: “Kazakhstan has long been a country of quiet repression, but since December 2011, when strikes in western Kazakhstan were brought to a violent end, the government’s overall human rights record has significantly worsened.”

While the “anti-gay propaganda” law remains shelved for the moment, the chance to land the 2022 Winter Games seemed the only thing preventing the legislation’s return. Now that the Games have gone elsewhere, Kazakhstan’s LGBT population seems set to suffer the consequences. As HRW researcher Kyle Knight noted, “There is no shortage of homophobia that could motivate others to revive [the anti-LGBT law], and the government has done little to provide LGBT people protection.”

Full access to all news articles in English

1 month2000 somsubscribe
year20000 somsubscribe
These subscription fees are for private individuals only. Please contact us via phone +996 (312) 900-776 or email info@akipress.org for corporate subscription inquiries
17:23 'Turnover between Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan amounted to $339.3 mln in January-May' - Minister of Economy17:21 EU to open Delegation to Mongolia17:16 US moves one step closer to imposing fresh Russia sanctions17:14 Atambayev signs ratification of $20 mln loan from Saudi Fund for Development for North-South Road rehabilitation17:12 Kyrgyzstan ratifies agreement with Georgian on avoidance of double taxation16:57 Men who wanted give a ride to 24yo Polish woman in Issyk-Kul tell their versions of what happened16:55 11 civil servants from Kyrgyzstan to attend graduate school in South Korea16:52 Kyrgyzmani gains 4th place at Asian Weightlifting Championship in Nepal16:14 France wildfires force mass evacuation16:08 Chairperson of Yakutia's State Assembly presented to Kyrgyz Academy of Sciences works of Kyrgyz authors translated into Yakut16:05 Election Commission recommends Tekebayev to appeal to court for a permission to Kyrgyz language test that presidential candidates must pass16:05 Special bricks used in construction of Burana tower found during excavations in Naryn15:50 Indian PM Modi invites Mongolia's Battulga to visit India15:49 Eyewitness tells court about robbing Bakiyevs' properties with help of Ata-Meken MPs15:45 Kyzylorda region plans to export meat to Russia15:26 Mass bull die off reported in Jalal-Abad pasture15:24 MFA of Kyrgyzstan, French Senators discuss upcoming elections in Kyrgyzstan15:15 EU court backs migrant deportations by Austria, Slovenia15:06 John Malkovich arrives in Astana15:02 Government approves draft protocol on requirements for exporting horses to China
© AKIpress News Agency - 2001-2017. All rights reserved
Republication of any material is prohibited without a written agreement with AKIpress News Agency. Any citation must be accompanied by a hyperlink to akipress.com.
Our address:
Moskovskaya str. 189, Bishkek, the Kyrgyz Republic
e-mail: english@akipress.org, akipressenglish@gmail.com;
Tel/Fax: +996(312)90-07-75