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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, March 7 2014 - Volume 42 Issue 10
Social media enables LGBT activism in Tajikistan
Section One
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Social media enables LGBT activism in Tajikistan

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Social media are allowing LGBT Tajiks to engage in debate with their fellow countrymen according to translations published recently on Global Voices website.

Tajikistan, a former republic of the Soviet Union, is over 95% Muslim and intensely conservative. The country has been described as 'hell for Gays.' Nevertheless, a recent Radio Ozodi story about the country's Gay residents touched off a string of blog posts about LGBT issues.

In February, the Russian-language weekly Avicenna published a story about Tajikistan's first sex reassignment surgery, leading to yet more online commentary.

Gay rights blogger Drugoi - which means 'different' in Tajik - reposted these stories on Blogiston.tj, triggering multiple reactions and counter-posts.

'These people have been cursed by God,' Ant wrote.

'Let's call a spade a spade,' Rustam Gulov posted. 'Homosexuality' is not a 'scientific' word; it has been invented for the promotion of this filth! The same goes for words such as 'sexual minorities' and 'gay.'

'In reality, there are more direct and ordinary words - pidarast, gomik, pedik, sodomit, [kunte] [Russian and Tajik pejorative terms equivalent to English 'faggot'].

'They should not be defended! They pave the way for zoophiles, all sorts of necrophiles, and even pedophiles!'

'They should be eradicated so that other people think twice before becoming part of this filth!' Mir Aziz added. On the other hand, some bloggers rejected homophobia.

'Mir Aziz, and why do you need the head?' Emir wrote. 'For violence? Or perhaps for fascist slogans??? Think about it, you are calling openly for discrimination and violence against other human beings!'

Many bloggers suggested that Gays were not part of Tajik society, or even human.

'You are all too aggressive,' Drugoi responded. 'Homosexuality has been banned and persecuted for thousands of years. There was even criminal persecution of homosexuals. Isn't the fact that all this persecution has not changed anything a good lesson for you? Some people are born with a different sexual orientation, and this cannot be changed. As for 'psychologists' that call homosexuality a psychiatric disease, they are poorly-educated idiots.'

'You should understand that we exist,' Drugoi concluded. 'We are not an anomaly or disease; we are human beings just like you. And we have the right to a dignified life.'

Global Voices is an international collective of bloggers who report online stories from 167 countries. In many cases, they cover news not usually reported in mainstream media.

Global Voices translates in 35 different languages. All translations in this story are theirs.

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