Posted by Lucile Scott on October 7, 2013
Last weekend, GMT Initiative grantee partner Azimut Plus held a Day of Gay Pride in a park in Temirtau, Kazakhstan. LGBT in Kazakhstan are frequently subjected to discrimination and violence, and this week, days after the event, members of Kazakhstan’s parliament called for the government to close all gay clubs and prohibit LGBT from holding or advertising events. Azimut Plus informed many members of the LGBT community about the Day of Gay Pride in advance, but most declined to attend. Seven people did choose to participate, and their public acknowledgment and celebration of their sexuality is a bold statement and a milestone in the fight for gay rights in the country. The group engaged passers- by in conversation and passed out literature and mugs. They also attracted attention from one news crew. Below are quotes from participants and photos from the day.
“I wanted to create an organization that would protect the LGBT community. Its members should not be afraid to be who they are, as was the case today. People have to understand that we are just like everyone else and can be useful in society.”— Denis Kakorin, member of Azimut Plus
“Once I wrote a neighbor on the internet and told him that I loved him. He put it on his blog. Of course, the whole school immediately recognized that it was me. Some stopped talking to me, but a minority. Most did not turn away, and did not even have to discuss it with me, and we continue to be friends.”—Sergei Prokfiev, age 19
“Some people have been beaten and killed and it’s scary. Society is cruel, but it is from a low level of education. Before we hosted this event, we conducted a poll and found that society in general is not aggressive towards us. Of course, someone said that we need to be killed, burned, and cut, and that we are not worthy to live. But the fear of telling people about yourself is fraught with serious consequences. Some try to drown these feelings with alcohol or drugs. Some kill themselves.”—Denis Kakorin
“In our country, all over the place, they speak of tolerance. How beautiful it sounds. We want everyone to be tolerant, but maybe everyone should start with themselves.”—Sergei Frolov, sociologist
Participants in the Day of Gay Pride blow up rainbow colored balloons.
A man takes literature and an Azimut Plus mug from a box during the event.
Fliers and mugs were handed to passers-by.
Participants and passers-by stand in a circle and talk.
A news crew interviews one participant.
At the end of the day, the participants launch their rainbow balloons into the sky.