Lesbian Visibility Day 2018 in Kyrgyzstan


#LVDKG2018 #LesbianVisibilityDay2018 #LesbianVisibilityDayInKg2018

Lesbian Visiblity Day is an international day of celebration, which started in 2008. On this day we openly speak of the double discrimination of lesbian women, of lesbophobia and oppression of lesbians within patriarchal civil rights movement

Why is this important to us?

Despite the letter “L” being the first in “LGBT”, most of the time it is the gay community that dominate within the queer rights movements, often filling the agenda with patriarchal mottos. The needs and priorities of lesbians are thus relegated to the secondary positions. Because of this, the issues pursuant to lesbians, such as objectification of lesbian women, sexual harassment at common LGBT platforms, stereotypes regarding lesbians and lesbophobia, are rarely discussed.

Moreover, Kyrgyz state and society designate women as second-rate citizens in many spheres of life through systematic discrimination and social barriers, proclaiming gender equality on paper alone.  Those, who do not fit into the ideal vision of a ‘real woman’ are denied subjectivity and independence. All efforts to openly claim one’s rights, freedoms and speak of our needs are ignored and interpreted as ‘perverse’, ‘inhumane’ and in violation with ‘the Kyrgyz traditions’.

In order to ensure our own security, lesbian women have to make up stories of ‘strong and loving male partner’, ‘solid families’ and the infamous ‘female happiness’. It is due to this double discrimination lesbian women cannot speak openly of themselves, build relationships and demand equal rights.

In preparation for the Lesbian Visibility Day, a series of support group meetings of LBQ (lesbian, bisexual and queer) women took place in the community centre run by Labrys. During these meetings we discussed access to healthcare for lesbians, useful life hacks and tried to find out where and how lesbians meet each other. We also pondered what the LVD means for LBQ women in Kyrgyzstan, what our expectations are, which issues we want to raise awareness of and discuss, and how we want to celebrate LVD. The answers to these questions were given by the LBQ women themselves in a series of short articles, which you can read here http://www.labrys.kg/ru/stuff/ (in Russian).

We also organised a series of events in the month leading to the LVD – a workshop on zine-making, a photo and story-telling project and the exhibition in the community centre, and finally a big party at our LGBT club of Bishkek.  We also made a video, which was shown at the event. Due to security considerations the exhibition and video screening were limited to our safe spaces and were not published elsewhere.

Lesbian Visibility Day became the day when we raised vital issue of lesbian existence, sought to find answers and allies, when we made small steps towards improving our lives. On this day we want to make a statement that lesbian identity exists and is valid, that it should be recognised and celebrated! Community organisation Labrys congratulates all lesbian women in Kyrgyzstan and Central Asia on Lesbian Visibility Day!

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Quote of the month:

  • Chingiz Aitmatov, kyrgyz writer

    Chingiz Aitmatov, kyrgyz writer

    "I want the person I love not to be afraid of loving me openly. Otherwise - it is humiliating"

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