The Tajikistan government announced it has made an official register of 367 ‘known’ gay and lesbian citizens.
The central Asian country will ‘test’ this group of people to stop ‘the spread of sexually-transmitted diseases’.
Zakonnost, a newspaper published by the Tajik Prosecutor-General’s Office reported the list included 319 gay men and 48 lesbians. It said ‘affiliation with sexual minorities has been proven’.
A former state in the Soviet Union, Tajikistan is a largely Muslim country with a population of 8.7 million.
Even though it decriminalized homosexuality in 1998, it remains one of the worst countries in the world for LGBTI people.
Several reports found even though it is not illegal to be gay in Tajikistan, the country is deeply homophobic.
‘In Tajikistan, despite the abolition of the article [against homosexuality] in the criminal code, homophobia remains a very big problem. Obvious cases of discrimination are beating, rape, robbery. Gays and lesbians do not go to the police for fear of publicity and blackmail,’ the director of Equal Opportunities, Kiromidin Gulov, told a BBC interview in 2011.
Why is Tajikistan registering gay people?
Zakonnost reported the government created the list after two state ‘operations’ last year called ‘Morality’ and ‘Purge. It did not elaborate on what that meant.
It is not known what kind of checks the gay and lesbian people will undergo, but said were ‘put on a register due to their vulnerability in society and for their safety and to prevent the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases’.
An anonymous police source told AFP the ‘strict medical records’ were needed for gays and lesbian because ‘such people have a high risk of contracting sexually-transmitted infections through infectious diseases’