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

Post by faevil100 »

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

Post by bwv812 »

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

Post by steven »

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

Post by alillate »

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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steven
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Re: LGBT travellers

Post by steven »

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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faevil100
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Re: LGBT travellers

Post by faevil100 »

Unfortunately, things seem to be regressing rather than progressing in Uzbekistan with regards to LGBT rights - https://www.theguardian.com/global-deve ... uzbekistan
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steven
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Re: LGBT travellers

Post by steven »

faevil100 wrote:
Sat Apr 10, 2021 2:41 pm
Unfortunately, things seem to be regressing rather than progressing in Uzbekistan with regards to LGBT rights - https://www.theguardian.com/global-deve ... uzbekistan
I would actually disagree. The fact that there are people who are saying that homosexuality should be decriminalised and are actively standing up for LGBT rights is a marked change from the past, when no one would dare to even think such a thing could happen. The vast majority is still of course anti-LGBT, but the fact that there are a few percent that aren't is an improvement. These attitudes have always been there, it's only now that they are coming to the fore as they are being challenged.
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faevil100
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Re: LGBT travellers

Post by faevil100 »

steven wrote:
Sun Apr 11, 2021 5:53 am
faevil100 wrote:
Sat Apr 10, 2021 2:41 pm
Unfortunately, things seem to be regressing rather than progressing in Uzbekistan with regards to LGBT rights - https://www.theguardian.com/global-deve ... uzbekistan
I would actually disagree. The fact that there are people who are saying that homosexuality should be decriminalised and are actively standing up for LGBT rights is a marked change from the past, when no one would dare to even think such a thing could happen. The vast majority is still of course anti-LGBT, but the fact that there are a few percent that aren't is an improvement. These attitudes have always been there, it's only now that they are coming to the fore as they are being challenged.
That's true, I accept your point - I am mostly concerned given the way that Russia has regressed significantly in the past decade with attitudes to LGBT+ people (although not so much amongst the youth) and I hope that doesn't also take place in Uzbekistan. Fingers crossed there is a positive outcome. For a LGBT+ traveller, the problem with the discussion becoming mainstream (whilst it's probably good in the long run) is that it makes it harder for us to travel below the radar and also increases the chances people will make hateful statements to us in conversation. I still think/hope that it is unlikely to affect travellers, however.
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steven
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Re: LGBT travellers

Post by steven »

I would be careful to not identify myself as gay, but otherwise, I wouldn't be overly concerned. You are a foreigner, that's a bonus, and I am not sure how people will single you out as LGBT+ unless you are wearing rainbow flag t-shirts everywhere you go.

The only gay traveler I have met in Uzbekistan was having a whale of a time. He even had sex with a judge the night before I met him! Like in every homophobic and/or Islamic country I have been to, there is enormous hypocrisy and a big gulf between your public face and what goes on behind closed doors. You can have sex with people of the same sex, but you cannot be gay. Two different things.
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mazeno
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Re: LGBT travellers

Post by mazeno »

> unless you are wearing rainbow flag t-shirts everywhere you go
that's true

--
referring to the topic:
what's wrong with you
do hetero say about their heterity on all the ocasions?

PEOPLE IN THE STANS RIGHTLY DON'T DAZZLE THEIR SEXUALITY, SO YOU SHOULD
and there is no problem

you are a guest there
so you are very respectable by them
don't destroy it with imposed affectation, pretentiousness and exaltation
no one will hurt you in any way
unless you are imposing yours

it is your private matter
what you do in your bedroom

well
maybe let's create a topic
hetero travellers
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mazeno

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