Kyrgyzstan's Anti-Gay Bill Preserves “Historical Values”, Violates Constitution

'Patriotic' Kyrgyz youth groups have upped their anti-LGBT rhetoric in recent times (Photo from used with permission)

‘Patriotic’ Kyrgyz youth groups have upped their anti-LGBT rhetoric in recent times (Photo from used with permission)

Vigorous discussions continue to take place [ru] in Kyrgyz society about a law that would limit the rights of LGBT people to hold Pride events and promote tolerance towards homosexuality, actions the two lawmakers that proposed the bill consider [ru] “propaganda”. 

The law, first sent [ru] to parliament in March and expected to be voted on by MPs in the coming weeks, aims at the “preservation and protection of the traditional family, humane, moral, and historical values of Kyrgyz society.” 

Specifically the bill prohibits the spreading of any kind of videos, photos, or written material “containing open or hidden calls for non-traditional sexual orientation or creating a positive image thereof.” Under this bill any kind of “organization of or participation in peaceful assemblies which aim at making publically available information about any form of non-traditional sexual orientation” could be considered a criminal act. Punishments envisaged in the bill range from fines ($15-$580 USD) to six months imprisonment. 

“Perverted Europe”

Commenting under an April article on Vecherni Bishkek one of the bill's supporters, Alina, stormed [ru]:

геи это угроза обществу. как в европе общество извратилось в конец, развелись эти геи и лесбиянки, которые даже хуже животных. если допустим их распространение, то скоро некому рожать будет. лгбт в последнее время при поддержке международников активизировались, надо закрыть все эти НПО. А их права никто не нарушал, не фиг кричать что ты гей. пусть на общих основаниях получает услуги, кто им что скажет?

Gays are a threat to society. In Europe society is absolutely perverted, those gays and lesbians who are even worse than animals are everywhere. If we allow them to spread, no one will give birth soon. Recently, with the support of international organizations LGBT have become more active. Those NGOs must be shut down urgently. And their rights are not violated, there is no bloody need yelling that you are gay. Let them receive services like everyone else, no one will say anything.. 

Another conservative MP from the Kyrgyz parliament, and a regular subject of Global Voices’ Kyrgyzstan coverage (12, 3, 4), Tursunbai Bakir uulu, says [ru] he supports the bill initiated by MPs Kurmanbek Dyikanbaev and Torobai Zulpukarov.

Я поддерживаю своих коллег, хотя они из других фракций, зато мы все патриоты своей земли и наследия, завещанного нам славными предками!

I support my colleagues although they are from other factions, but we are patriots of our land and heritage bequeathed to us by our glorious ancestors!

At stake is the morality of the Kyrgyz people, stress the bill's proponents. In comments addressed [kyr] to the Euroean Union, who called on the government to take steps to combat sexual discrimination, one reader of Vecherni Bishkek said:

биздин Кыргызстандыктар эч качан сайпана болгон эмес,болбойт дагы.Биздин дуйного коз карашыбыз силерден айры.ЛГБТ деген агитация менен прoпагандага эмне учун ЖК уруксат берет? Биз кыргыздар ансыз деле дуйно жузундо аз,кичинекей калк быз.Биздин ата-бабаларыбызда сайпаналар жок болчу.Биз кыргыздар,(мен билген) сайпаналыкка барыбыз тен каршыбыз,элибиз колдобойт сайпаналыкты.

(Dear) EU, Kyrgyzstani people have never been gays and never will be. We have a different perception of the world. Why should Jogorku Kenesh (Parliament) allow any LGBT propaganda? The Kyrgyz nation is very small. Our ancestors were not gay. We, Kyrgyz people (those I know), are totally against homosexuality and our people will never support it. 

The two MPs have received [ru] more than 60 letters from LGBT groups demanding to recall the legislation before it goes to a vote. They argue that apart from violating the constitutional right to freedom of assembly among others, the bill promotes [ru] violence against representatives of LGBT community. 

A bad track record

They would not be the only ones. When Human Rights Watch released [ru] a report on police intimidation of LGBT community members on January 29, Kyrgyzstan's Grand Mufti promptly released fatwah against manifestations of LGBT the following day. “Kyrgyz Indigo”, another LGBT organization reported that a group of people attacked three representatives of their organization because of their sexual orientation and gender identity shortly after the bill was announced on April 14. Harassment of LGBT groups and their supporters via social media is common.

On its official webpage Labrys published letters from LGBT people they have received since the bill was first sent to the parliament. (Translations run clockwise from top left).
Marat wrote [Kyr]: I am Marat and I am against this bill. I have always wanted to be a girl. These people suffer a lot. We are not guilty because it is a natural phenomenon. Who would understand how much one's soul has to suffer?

 To:Dyikanbaev K.S.;From:Marat Artem wrote[ru]: Dear Dyikanbaev K.S., Kochkorov U.T., Zulpukarov T.Z., My name is Artem. I am transgender and I am a PERSON like you are and a CITIZEN. I believe that the bill about “shaping a positive image of LGBT” is unjust. This bill forbids me to EXIST. Why can't the state protect its citizens from itself? 


Citizen of Kyrgyzstan wrote [ru]: To Kochkorov U.T. Dyikanbaev K.S. Zulpukarov T.Z., Your bills and bans are based on ignorance and prejudices. They promote hatred in society. Even the comments in discussions call for destruction (of LGBT). Here they are talking about real people.Your inferences in favour of the bill are mystical but I am real. Your fear about propaganda is not provable but our wounds and threats are real for us. The fact that the majority is on your side does not mean that the majority is right. If you agree that there are people in Kyrgyzstan that have to be destroyed, it means that there are people in the parliament who support extremism. 
While opposition to the bill beyond the immediate LGBT community is difficult to detect, there is a common feeling Kyrgyzstan should be dealing [ru] with more important issues. As another Vecherni Bishkek commenter noted:

Очень печально, что Дыйканбаева и Зулпукарова совсем не беспокоит бесконечная пропаганда насилия, убийства и жестокости, которыми кишит наше телевидение, пиратские диски и видео в Интернете, а беспокоит “пропаганда” нетрадиционных отношений. Геи уж никого не убивают, а вот пропагандируемое насилие, чернуха, ментовщина, уголовщина во всех сериалах и фильмах…это нормально? Задумайтесь, депутаты – от чего вероятнее всего угроза жизни? ОТ ГЕЯ? Или так разрешаемой вами пропаганды уголовщины, насилия, убийств на ТВ?

It is very sad that Dyikanbaev and Zulpukarov are not worried about the endless propaganda of violence, murder, and brutality, which our televisions teem with, [or can bee seen via] pirated CDs and online videos, but they are worried about the “propaganda” of non-traditional relationships. Gays do not kill but violence, gruesome stories, police brutality, criminal acts which are glamorized in soap operas and movies…are these normal? Think about it MPs, which one is more likely to cause a threat to life? GAYS? Or the propaganda you permit [including] criminal acts, violence, murders on TV?

 On June 6, Bishkek held a round table [ru] debating the need for the bill, wherein lawyer Yulia Voltsava stressed [ru] the proposed law's contradictions vis-a-vis existing national legislation. MPs Zulpukarov and Dyikanbaev did not attend.

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