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Kazakhstan: Gay Rights Debate Heats Up Amid Homophobic Outbursts

Homophobic rhetoric is on the rise in Kazakhstan, and members of the country’s gay and transsexual community are bracing for a possible legislative assault on their rights.\n

Avatar of Alessia Valenza

22nd November 2013 09:35

Alessia Valenza | ILGA Asia

Activists for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community worry that Kazakhstan may follow Russia’s lead and adopt legislation prohibiting the “propaganda” of homosexuality – or even slap an outright ban on “homosexual relations,” as some MPs have advocated.

President Nursultan Nazarbayev so far hasn’t seemed keen to press ahead with Russia-like restrictions. Even so, several verbal outbursts by prominent politicians have heightened concerns among LGBT activists. The latest vitriolic attack came from MP Bakhytbek Smagul of the ruling Nur Otan party, who earlier in October called for legislation to “root out homosexual relations,” and urged Kazakhstan to adopt a law banning “propaganda” of homosexuality, similar to controversial legislation adopted in Russia last year. In justifying his position, Smagul cited the “national mentality,” ancient Central Asian cultures, Kazakhstan’s geostrategic location, family values, and demographics.

In May, MP Aldan Smayyl described homosexuality as “amorality” and called for legislation to class homosexuals as “criminals against humanity.”

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