Bolashak, a Kazakhstan national movement known for its calls to extradite Rakhat Aliyev to Kazakhstan, and a group of social activists from Almaty have petitioned to legally ban gay “propaganda” in Kazakhstan, Tengrinews reports.
They organised a press-conference in Almaty on September 11. The activists urged the Parliament to introduce changes into the country’s legislation to ban gay “propaganda” and prohibit the people known to be gay from holding public offices and serving in theKazakh army.
The lawmakers are now working on a new version of the Marriage and Family Code that already bans people known to be gay from adopting children. This is where the anti-gay changes are expected to appear soon.
The legal ban is highly called for, according to Bolashak’s leader Dauren Babamuratov, 30, because the Kazakh society has been experiencing a lot of pressure from its gay members over the past several years.
According to Bolashak, “over 100 stories mentioning LGBT representatives have ‘seeped’ into the country’s media over the past two years”. To understand the scale of the gay threat to the Kazakh society one should know that there are around 2700 media outlets in Kazakhstan, a country the size of Western Europe, but with a population of only 17 million.Babamuratov continued by saying that “unconfirmed reports suggest there are about 14 gay clubs and bars in Almaty” with effectively “made Almaty the gay capital of Central Asia”, and expressing his outrage at the fact that “open discussion of the issues related to LGBT community is treated by the society as a natural process”.
To support the claims that gay propaganda existed in Kazakhstan the chief speaker reminded about the scandal over the now infamous ads poster depicting a local version of the world famous gay smooch, this one between two historical figures – one Kazakh, the other – Russian. The poster caused quite a stir among Kazakhstanis and several political figures even slammed it publicly. A law suit was filed against the poster creators.
“We have stooped so low that LGBTs no longer hide their orientation. One can see a lot of people in the city’s malls and other public places — these are young people in coloured pants. This means they no longer hide their (sexual) orientation. I think it is very easy to identify a gay person by his or her DNA. A blood test can show the presence of degeneratism in a person,” Dauren Babamuratov, the leader of the Kazakh national movement, said.
“Unfortunately, suppressing activities of the LGBT community in Kazakhstan is extremely difficult, because there is no law in our country prohibiting this type of activity, that is, the promotion of homosexuality,” he concluded.
The activists believe that the law should prescribe rules prohibiting sexual minorities from conducting the “outreach” work in public places.
Head of the Youth Policies Department of the Akmaty Akimat (Municipal Authorities) Sanzhar Bokayev, who was the only representative of the city administration at the meeting, declared that Kazakhstan’s gay community was “supported and funded from abroad”. “This is a big problem that concerns our society,” he said.
Secretary of the People’s Communist Party Yelnur Beisenbayev supported the speakers and went as far as saying that gay people were not sick, they where criminals and deserved a much harsher treatment. “Besides the legal ban of the propaganda we should also adopt an anti-sodomy law like the one we had during the Soviet time. We need these laws, to makes these (gay) people ashamed of themselves in our society,” he said. The anti-sodomy law he was talking about was cancelled in Kazakhstan only in 1998.
Nagashybay Yesmyrza, a journalist known for calling Hitler a war hero, tagged representatives of LGBT degenerates and returned to his favourite rhetoric: “To preserve the Aryan race it was important that be blood was not mixed. Hitler was against all those gay people,” he said. But when asked by the journalists how a same-sex union could possibly “mix blood” and produce a child, he had no adequate answer.“There is no gay ‘propaganda’ in Kazakhstan, but there is homophobia,” Kazakh activist and journalist Zhanar Sekerbayeva spoke up against the proposed ban, adding that there were other much more pressing problems, such as corruption and unemployment, that the Kazakh Government had to be concerned about.
She called Kazakhstan not stopped following Russia and copying Putin’s imperialistic regime. Russia adopted its law banning gay “propaganda” last year.
Intolerance to LGBT is a common feature of Russia and Central Asia, and their “post traumatic” societies, she said.
“The question of gay marriage in Kazakhstan has never been on the agenda. No one has been promoting it (gay lifestyle). There have been no public speeches or gay pride parades. There is only homophobia and discrimination of women,” she said.
“LGBT community is not an invention of the West. And they (gay people) are much more traditional than ‘traditional’ heterosexuals. LGBT people have always been there since the ancient times – Ancient Rome, Greece, it is only that the attitude towards them was different,” said the young journalist and social activist.
“Bolashak is carrying absolutely patriarchal views. (…) We propagate nothing, we don’t organize pride parades, we are not shouting slogans in the street. Outlawing us would be a discrimination,” Sekerbayeva said.
“I don’t see the future of my country in discrimination of gay people,” she concluded.
Director of Freedom House in Kazakhstan Viktoria Tyuleneva agreed that the proposed law was a “discrimination based on sexual orientation that is prohibited by the international law and the law of Kazakhstan, starting from its own Constitution”. “If this (anti-gay-propaganda) law is adopted Kazakhstan will face grievances at every international forum it attends, and this will draw a squall of criticism from all international organisations,” she is quoted byRadiotochka as saying.
But banning gay propaganda is more than just public appeals in Kazakhstan. Amendments into the Code On Marriage and Family are already on their way.
Earlier, Aldan Smayil, a Member of the Parliament’s Lower Chamber, the Majilis, said that Kazakhstan needed a legislation that would enable it to close down gay clubs and bringing their owners to justice. He also declared that the idea of gay pride parades in Kazakhstan was unacceptable.
The MP said that representatives of sexual minorities needed help of psychologists. And promised to make sure that law enforcement authorities would tighten their control over the people organizing events in support of the LGBT movement.The passionate fighter against gay “propaganda” Babamuratov said at the end of the press-conference that in case the law would not be adopted by the Kazakh Parliament soon, everyone would have grounds to say that “LGBT values are being lobbied in our country”.
By Dinara Urazova and Tatyana Kuzmina (Dmitry Khegai and Dinmuhammed Kalikulov contributed to the story)