Kazakhstan Society up in Arms over Holding Handsgate

4 May

kazaxia has been granted permission to reprint the following article from upstart news agency Appropriated Press.

Almaty (Appropriated Press) – Rights organizations and LGBT activists have condemned a case that opened in Kazakhstan’s commercial capital Almaty against several local websites that republished a photograph which opponents claim violates “moral values” by displaying “nontraditional sexual relations, which are unacceptable to society”.

The image – widely shared on social media – shows two elderly men holding hands, while onlookers smile. Although both men are dressed in formal suits and are apparently in some kind of palace, it does not appear to be a wedding ceremony.


The controversial image (taken from http://news.am/eng/news/322083.html)

The case is being heard in the same Almaty court as a notorious case in October 2014, when an advertising agency was fined for a poster showing the poet Alexander Pushkin and composer Kurmangazy Sagyrbayuly enjoying a passionate kiss.

Kazakhstan retains conservative social values and a controversial law that would have banned “gay propaganda” was halted by the Constitutional Council in May 2015 only after it had passed through both chambers of the rubber-stamp parliament.

However, those shown on the image of the elderly men holding hands are unlikely to face prosecution any time soon. One has been identified as Recep Tayyip Erdogan, president of Turkey. When Appropriated Press sought comment from a Turkish diplomat in the capital Astana, the response took the form of expletives and threats to take the news agency to court.

The other individual turns out to be Kazakhstan’s own president Nursultan Nazarbayev. His position affords him immunity from prosecution.

But some LGBT activists are underwhelmed by the photo. “As an expression of the two men’s mutual affection, it’s pretty lukewarm,” one commented to Appropriated Press. “It’s nothing like the famous 1979 kiss between Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev and East German leader Erich Honecker. That was a real step forward for LGBT recognition in the then Soviet Union.”



One Response to “Kazakhstan Society up in Arms over Holding Handsgate”

  1. mukul chand May 5, 2016 at 9:23 pm #

    Great post

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