There’s been threats, protests, and fiery debates in Kyrgyzstan’s parliament after a pro-LGBTI rally earlier this month.
In what was believed to be one of the first public LGBTI pride events in Central Asia, 400 people took part in a Women’s March in the capital, Bishkek on 8 March. It included demands for LGBT rights.
But, according to Radio Free Europe, visibility has sparked an ugly backlash.
Kyrgyz parliament deputy Jyldyz Musabekova wrote on Facebook: ‘The men who do not want to have children and the girls who do not want to pour tea…must not only be cursed, they must be beaten’.
‘We have to beat the craziness out of them’ she also said. ‘Are there any decent guys out there [to do that]?’ She asked.
What’s more, during a fierce parliamentary debate last week she warned Kyrgyzstan could become ‘Gayistan’.
Some members spoke out against Musabekova’s comments.
But, others echoed anti-LGBTI comments.
Ziyadin Zhamaldinov said the march had ‘disgraced’ Kyrgyzstan in front of its neighbors.
Kyrgyzstan is the only democracy and most-progressive country in Central Asia.
But, Russia’s 2013 crackdown on its LGBTI population and ongoing purge in Chechnya has increased homophobia in the region.
In November 2018, a bisexual man in Kyrgyzstan was brutally attacked and tortured. Attackers carved the word ‘gay’ onto his belly.
Activists who organized the Women’s March have faced threats and intimidation.
City officials tried to dissuade organizers from holding the march for ’security issues’.
And, some 30-40 nationalist ‘warriors’ came to heckle and intimidate marchers.
One marcher, Bektour Iskender told Radio Free Europe organizers included LGBTI rights in the march previously. But, this year, opponents noticed.
‘I urge people in Kyrgyzstan to stop being afraid of LGBT people – they’re also part of our society,’ he said.
In Malaysia, the push for LGBTI rights at this year’s Women’s March in capital Kuala Lumpur sparked a similar ugly backlash.
Police are pursuing charges against organizers under draconian ’sedition’ laws.
Government leaders also reminded the LGBTI communicate they will never be accepted.
What’s more, the public blamed LGBTI visibility for bad weather.