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Otgonbaatar Tsedendemberel, Executive Director of LGBT Centre and ILGA Asia Board Member
Pride on the steppe – being gay in Mongolia

in MONGOLIA, 12/10/2013

While the world’s eye has turned on Russia’s recent attacks on LGBT rights, its neighbour and former Soviet satellite state Mongolia just celebrated its first Pride Week. However, there is a still a long way to go before LGBT Mongolians can live open lives.  

I sit down for coffee in downtown Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia’s capital city of around 1.3 million, with Otgonbaatar Tsedendemberel. As we talk, a group of school girls sitting adjacent to us giggle. They have recognised Tsedendemberel, the first gay man to publicly ‘come out’ on a Mongolian talk-show in 2010.

Now executive director of the LGBT Centre Mongolia (the country’s first Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender [LGBT] rights organisation), Tsedendemberel, 33, is the most famous gay man in Mongolia – with only a handful brave enough to live open lives. He says he is lucky to have a supportive family, but many don’t.

“It is very difficult. That’s why there are only about five people who are openly LGBT in this country,” Tsedendemberel says.

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