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PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2012 6:50 am 
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No to love: Uzbekistan nixes Valentine's Day shows
24 January 2012

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Valentine's Day was popular in Uzbekistan before it was banned

ALMATY, Kazakhstan (AP) - Authorities in Uzbekistan are, apparently, unwilling to give love a chance.

The Russian news agency RIA-Novosti cited several local media in the Central Asian nation reporting Tuesday that Uzbekistan has canceled concerts and other events for Valentine's Day. Instead, residents in the capital of Tashkent can enjoy readings of poems by Mughal emperor Babur, who died in the 16th century.

The unofficial ban on romance-related festivities echoes long-standing antagonism in Uzbekistan toward the holiday. Last year, the Turkiston newspaper described Valentine's Day as the work of "forces with evil goals bent on putting an end to national values."

Although most people across former Soviet Central Asia are Muslim, many enjoy celebrating what is nominally a Christian feast.

Source: Breitbart.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2012 4:57 pm 
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Uzbekistan snubs 'alien' Valentine's Day
14 February 2012

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A vendor rides his bicycle laden with heart-shaped balloons down a street in Beijing.

AFP - Uzbekistan Tuesday encouraged people to skip Valentine's Day in favour of marking the birthday of a national poet, with officials describing the February 14 lovers day as an "alien" Western import.

Rather than sending cards and exchanging red hearts, Uzbeks instead were holding readings and poetic festivals to mark the birthday of the medieval emperor and poet Bobur. There was no official decree or law to ban Valentine's Day, but there was a verbal instruction not to mark or mention it in mass media as a holiday, according to an official.

"During a government meeting a month ago it was described as an element of Western mass culture and alien to our national mentality, and instead we were instructed to mark Bobur's birthday with poetic festivals," an official, who asked not to named, told AFP. Zahiriddin Muhammad Bobur, born on February 14 more than five centuries ago in Andijan, in the east of Uzbekistan, had founded an empire stretching from Afghanistan to India. Bobur, a descendant of another Turkic emperor Amur Temur, was also a great poet.

Valentine's Day has become popular among youth in Muslim Uzbekistan in recent years, worrying the secular government of ex-Soviet Central Asia's most populous nation about Western cultural imports. A concert by Uzbek pop star Rayhon, traditionally held on February 14 to mark the lovers' day in Tashkent's main concert hall, was postponed and replaced with another event

Unlike last year, private TV channels, radios and papers made no mention of Valentine's Day, but some young people continued to greet each other to mark the day. One of the biggest supermarket chains in the capital Tashkent "Korzinka.uz" placed a red-yellow picture of the heart at the entrances of its shops without any mentioning of Valentine's Day. Its largest store had a big sign of the heart made of flowerpots on the floor.

Uzbekistan's government is wary of cultural imports both from the the West as an "excess of liberalism" and from the Middle East as "religious fanaticism".

Source: France24.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 15, 2013 12:17 pm 
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Video Depicts Horrific Attack on Gay Man in Russia
By Trudy Ring
September 14, 2013

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A screen grab of the reported assault

A video making the rounds on social media shows a gay man in Russia being beaten and raped with a bottle, by a group of men who wanted him to “repent for his sins,” reports Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

Reporters for the radio service said they had seen the video, which is on a mobile phone application called WhatsApp, and while they could not verify its authenticity, they did speak to a man who claimed to have participated in the assault.

The attackers stripped the man of his clothes, which they later burned, then handcuffed and beat him, held a gun on him, and forced him to sodomize himself by sitting on a bottle, which they then forced in farther by using a baseball bat. In the video, he is weeping and obviously terrified.

The assault reportedly took place Wednesday in the city of Novosibirsk, although police there told RFE/RL they were not aware of any such attack. The victim and the perpetrators were all ethnic Uzbeks.

“We made him sit on a bottle so that he repents for his sins and comes to reason,” the alleged participant RFE/RL’s Uzbek Service. “We did this to protect the dignity of Uzbeks. We live and work here, we are in contact with people of different nationalities. There will be no respect for us otherwise.”

RFE/RL notes that the video is similar to one that surfaced in August on a Russian social networking site, of a group attempting to make a transgender woman sit on a bottle. She eventually broke the bottle and escaped her attackers. Both videos received many favorable comments online, according to the news service. There has been much violence against LGBT people in Russia since the enactment this summer of a law against “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations.”

Source: Advocate.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 24, 2016 3:44 am 
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In Uzbekistan, transgender man breaks barriers with transparent transition
by Mansur Mirovalev
17 March 2016

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Despite the odds, Yan, who lives in Uzbekistan, had his sex changed officially from female to male, underwent a surgery — and wed his high school sweetheart. (Timur Karpov / For The Times)

Yan has a harrowing reminder of how haters in Uzbekistan treat transgender people.

"There's a scar left by a screwdriver next to my liver," the craggy-bearded and long-haired transgender man says, describing how his college classmates attacked him in 1997 in Tashkent, the capital of this former Soviet republic, a mostly Muslim nation of 31 million.

Here, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Uzbeks are routinely ostracized, harassed and abused, according to the United Nations, international human rights groups and local gay rights activists. A Stalinist-era law punishes consensual sex between men by up to three years in jail. President Islam Karimov's government has repeatedly refused to scrap it.

And yet, despite all odds, Yan had his sex changed officially from female to male, underwent a surgery — and wed his high school sweetheart. It took him three years of patience and insistence, intrusive visits to doctors and officials, threats of legal action and a scrupulous search for loopholes.

He found Soviet-era regulations in the Uzbek family code that allow a sex change after an evaluation by a commission of psychiatrists. Communist Moscow adopted the regulations in the early 1980s after decades of Western pressure and, luckily for Yan, they were not removed after Uzbekistan's independence.

What also helped him is that Tashkent is a relatively cosmopolitan city, a world apart from the patriarchal and parochial Uzbek countryside, where transgender people, especially women, face intimidation, beatings and rapes — or can "simply get killed," says Yan, who heads the unregistered and clandestine Uzbek branch of XS (Access), an LGBT rights group that operates in the former Soviet Union. "Their parents, family won't even interfere," Yan says over a steaming cup of tea. "Because they think it is a sin, a crime against God." Yan asked to keep his last name secret for fear of being targeted and attacked. Online, he goes by the name McMillan.

Families of transgender people "often kick them out of their homes or marry them forcibly, and if they don't agree, kill them, and nobody cares, " claims Timur, another transgender man, who says he was first raped in fifth grade.

There are no available records of crimes against LGBT people in Uzbekistan, one of the three former Soviet republics where male homosexuality is still a crime (the others are Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan). Uzbek officials refused to comment on the issue. Western news outlets have been driven out of Uzbekistan, and officials routinely turn down their requests. The anti-gay law is rarely enforced but remains a tool to imprison whistle-blowers, rights advocates and reporters. Few Uzbeks draw distinctions between transgender people and gays and lesbians.

Corrupt police officers use dating websites and informants to track down gays and extort money — otherwise threatening rectal "examinations" in front of neighbors or gang rapes in prison cells, several LGBT Uzbeks say in interviews. A cellphone video leaked online several months ago showed plainclothes police officers beating up a man in drag who received male visitors in his apartment.

Homophobia is endorsed at the highest level. President Karimov, who has ruled Uzbekistan since before the 1991 Soviet collapse, has said that homosexuality is "disgusting" and "something is wrong" with gay couples. Even his staunchest opponent, nationalist leader Muhammad Solih, who lives in Turkey, says that gays should be "isolated."

LGBT issues and sex in general remain taboo. Authorities outlaw movies such as "Brokeback Mountain" or "Kinsey" and in 2013 banned a music video titled "Honey Tea," in which a man in drag sang about his love to a guy in an office suit.

Mark Weil, an acclaimed director whose Tashkent-based Ilkhom theater was the U.S.S.R.'s first independent theater and whose productions occasionally addressed same-sex romance, was stabbed to death in 2007. The three men who were sentenced to up to 19 years in jail for his killing said that one of Weil's plays insulted the Koran.

Yan began his legal transformation less than a year after Weil's killing. As a child, he had considered himself a boy — and announced it to his classmates when he was about 12. He grew up in Tashkent with his divorced mother, who threatened for years "that she will commit suicide, will not give me the money I'd been saving for surgery, place me in a nuthouse," he says. "I was a little offended that after I was done [with the transition] she kept me away from her friends," he says, adding that she gradually accepted his choice. His estranged father called it a "misfortune."

By the time he began the legal process, he had already been taking hormones that deepened his voice and triggered the growth of facial hair. Although some doctors were helpful, registry officials responsible for replacement of IDs met Yan with derision, laughs and shock. "They kept saying, 'Why? It's so much easier to be a woman,'" the chain-smoking 35-year-old recalls.

Even after seeing a stamped psychiatric evaluation, they insisted Yan had to undergo surgery first. Meanwhile, medical doctors wanted documents proving his legal sex change because they did not want to be held responsible for "maiming" a patient, he says. The conundrum seemed impossible to overcome. "For about a year, I was feeling down because I didn't know what to do," he says. But he overcame depression and finally persuaded an endocrinologist to acknowledge in writing that his hormones were those of a male. His next step was to buy a bottle of expensive brandy to drink with a registry official, who agreed to issue him a passport with a different name and sex. The bottle was the closest thing to a bribe during Yan's ordeal.

Although a few other Uzbek nationals had their sex changed legally before he did, officials told Yan, they did that by forging papers, paying bribes or showing up for evaluations after sex-change operations performed abroad. Yan claims to have become the first Uzbek to transition in a completely transparent way. An expert on Central Asia says an element of surprise helped Yan win. "Sex change in Uzbekistan is as rare as snow in July," says Daniil Kislov, a Moscow-based political analyst and a native of Uzbekistan. "That is why such isolated cases succeed so easily."

Yan says he had a mastectomy after five or six visits to an initially reluctant surgeon. He is saving money for several more surgeries to complete his physical transition. With the new passport, he married a woman with whom he'd been in love since his teens — and now proudly sports a wedding ring next to skull-like biker bling. Small-framed, clad in a black leather coat, with a mane of long brown hair, pierced lips and ears, he swaggers down the streets of Tashkent ignoring stares and grins.

After his legal triumph, he started counseling other transgender Uzbeks seeking an official sex change or trying to secure a refugee status in the West. Three of them have completed their legal transition, and several more are underway. The first outcome of his change was the response of a guard at a theater where he works as a sound engineer. "They started letting me use the men's toilet," Yan says with a laugh.

Source: Los Angeles Times.

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