LGBT travellers

Is the road, border or area open and accessible to foreigners? Is there danger?
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faevil100
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LGBT travellers

Postby faevil100 » Sun Jan 07, 2018 5:20 pm

Hi,

I was wondering whether anyone who has travelled in the region has any advice for LGBT travellers? I have lived in Russia and visited Georgia, Armenia & Azerbaijan before with my partner; we have always been discreet and never declared our relationship or sexuality to anyone (and stayed in places with twin beds), but some of the other countries in the area (which we'd love to visit) are much more 'high stakes' for LGBT people - up to and including the death penalty. My general instinct is that LGBT people who remain discreet are unlikely to be at any greater risk than other Westerners, particularly as I guess traditional 'tells' that would mark us out in Western countries (we're not overly camp, but also not very macho) may not be recognised as LGBT markers in these countries. Am I right to think this, or am I naive and should avoid travelling to these countries at all?

Thanks in advance.
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bwv812
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Re: LGBT travellers

Postby bwv812 » Mon Jan 08, 2018 3:52 am

I think you'll be safe.

It's interesting that gay locals—even in places like Iran—can be fairly flamboyant and obvious by western standards, simply because being gay is such an alien concept to the general population that nobody even pauses to think someone might be gay.
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steven
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Re: LGBT travellers

Postby steven » Mon Jan 08, 2018 8:24 am

Your instinct is right. You'll be fine. I wouldn't flaunt it like bwv suggests. In the big cities in Iran and Kazakhstan, LG (I will leave out the BT, since B is confusing and T is really problematic all over the region) would have come out towards their friends and everyone is fine with it. But you wouldn't go and organise a gay pride parade.

Almaty is cosmopolitan and still has gay bars. In Bishkek all the gay bars have closed down, as well as the craft beer brewery run by 2 lesbian girls. Dushanbe has never seen a gay bar, in Uzbekistan it is also still illegal to be gay.

http://www.eurasianet.org/node/81626
http://www.eurasianet.org/node/86311

In short, it's totally fine to travel here, just don't shout it from the rooftops. Met an Australian guy in Uzbekistan last summer who was having sex with men left and right. He even had sex with a top judge in Samarkand!
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alillate
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Re: LGBT travellers

Postby alillate » Mon Jan 08, 2018 11:54 am

An extension of this question, I'm transgender (female-to-male) and contemplating travel through the region. I've lived in China (granted pre-transition and without the added layer of religion) and like the OP am not particularly concerned about my sexuality being an issue when traveling (thanks for confirming that). However, I am a somewhat wary when it comes to issues around gender identity. I'm short and not particularly masculine or buff, but am generally read as male and will be traveling with a male passport. My assumption is that trans people, or at least trans men, are far enough off most people's radar that with proper caution and discretion I won't raise suspicions. Is this perhaps naive/ do you see potential hiccups I'm not anticipating?
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Re: LGBT travellers

Postby steven » Tue Jan 09, 2018 8:22 am

Transgender is definitely something that freaks people out in Central Asia and is waayy out of their comfort zone. As a foreigner I assume you will be fine, maximum get some weird looks/comments, but I would be careful not to hang out in seedier places and watch out at night.

Transgenders getting beat up: it definitely happens. Now, these are locals, and the likelihood of local youths turning on you is rather small as a foreigner. But there is no need to go and look for trouble.
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