Homosexual sex was legalized in Belarus in 1994, however Gay rights in Belarus are still severely limited.
History of gay rights in Belarus Edit
While a part of the Soviet Union, Belarus used the laws common for all Soviet republics. Homosexuality was considered illegal. Sexual relationship between females have never been illegal in Belarus, while those between males were always prosecuted. Words such as homosexuality or gay were not present in any old Soviet code as the Soviet juridical system used the term sodomy.
Article 119-1 of the previous Criminal Code of Belarus set out that homosexual men having voluntary sexual contacts were to be convicted to prison terms up to five years. In 1989 nearly 50 Belarus citizens were fired due to their sexual orientation. A special department was set up in KGB to fight homosexuals. Secret services used blackmail to recruit their agents from the gay environment. This thus prevented the possibility of the emergence of any gay organization, or a printed edition designed specifically for sexual minorities. Homosexuals met in the streets, toilets, railway stations, or gathered in private flats or houses.
In 1992 a newspaper named Sex-Antiaids-Plus was founded through the help provided by a non-governmental organization Stop-Aids-Belarus (SAB). The second issue of the newspaper was arrested by a procurator’s office, and a criminal case was initiated against the newspaper. The newspaper contained contact announcements for gays and lesbians. Prosecution regarded announcements as pandering. In 1994 the criminal case against the newspaper was dropped. However, its founder and chief editor, Ruslan Geniush, fearing persecution for sexual reasons, stopped his publishing endeavour. In 1992 a magazine named Randez-vous was registered, and began publishing. The magazine focused primarily on personal contacts, thus, contained articles written by psychologists, sexologists as well as letters and announcements of sexual minority readers in a special column "Blue Salon". In 1994 the magazine ceased to exist.
The currently effective Belarusian Constitution of 1994 proclaims that one of its fundamental principles is the equality of citizens. Article 22 states:
“All are equal before the law and have the right to equal defense… without any discrimination”.
The Constitution does not describe the social characteristics on whose basis discrimination is prohibited. In other words, in cases of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, the law provides no protection to victims.
Civil and Family LawEdit
According to the Constitution (Article 32) and the Marriage and Family Code (Articles 1 and 12), marriage is a specific civil contract, concluded before a state organ and available to two persons of the opposite sex. This final requirement makes marriage inaccessible to homosexual couples.
Although the existing conservative model of marriage does not satisfy society, and although many people live together outside of marriage, Belarusian legislation still does not recognize domestic partnerships as a status that gives rights and responsibilities to its parties. For this reason, partners see no changes in their personal or material relations when they decide to cohabitate outside of marriage.
Domestic partnership is not a legal basis for one partner’s changing his or her surname. It does not lead to spousal material commonwealth between the partners. Among the responsibilities taken on by the partners in their life together, the only ones legally enforced are those listed in the civil law. When they have a common business, their relations are regulated by the rules of commercial law. If they break up, the partners have no access to the legally recognized rights of a spouse in a divorce. Current and former partners in cohabitation have no right to alimony or financial support.
Cohabitation is not a legal basis for inheritance, since partners are not included in the legal circle of heirs. Therefore, domestic partners may inherit from one another only when there is a last will and testament. The taxes on such an inheritance are higher than the taxes imposed on inheritances received by a legal spouse. Domestic partners inheriting through a will also have no right to a preserve part of the estate.
Cohabitating partners have no parental rights over the children of the other partner. It is possible, however, for one partner to legally adopt the other’s biological children. The adoptive parent must not be legally incapacitated, must not have been stripped of his or her parental rights by the courts, and must be at least 16 years older than the adopted child. It is not possible for cohabitating couples to adopt orphans, since the law requires adoptive couples to be married.
The Labour Code (Article 14) prohibits discrimination in the sphere of labour relations. However, sexual orientation is left out of the list of social characteristics on whose basis discrimination is legally prohibited. In other words, victims of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation have no right to protection.
Homosexual sex was decriminalized for the first time in 1994. The Criminal Code in force at the moment in Belarus was passed in 2000. The only homosexual acts that remain crimes are those that violate the consent of the sexual partner. The crimes regarding homosexuality are covered in Chapter 20 (Section VII) of the Criminal Code, the chapter dedicated to “crimes against sexual inviolability or sexual freedom”. Article 167 covers "forced actions of a sexual character":
1. Muzhelozhstvo [specific Russian definition of “male sexual intercourse with male”, literary “man lying with man”], lesbianism or other actions of a sexual character committed by use of force or threat thereof against the victim, or by exploiting the victim's vulnerability, are punished by deprivation of freedom from three to seven years.
2. The same actions, if they are committed several times or by a person previously convicted of rape, or by a group of persons, or wittingly against an underage person, are punished by deprivation of freedom from five to twelve years.
3. Actions which are foreseen by the first or second parts of the present Article if they are committed wittingly against a person under fourteen years old, or carelessly brought about the death of a victim, or carelessly inflicted heavy damage to his/her health, caused HIV infection or some other heavy consequences, are punished by deprivation of freedom from eight to fifteen years. Article 168 provides that sexual intercourse, muzhelozhstvo, lesbianism, or other actions of a sexual character, wittingly committed by a person over 18 on a person under 16, except the crimes foreseen by the articles 166 and 167 of this Code, are punished by arrest up to six months or limitation of freedom up to three years or deprivation of freedom up to four years.
Article 170 on "Coercive acts of a sexual character" states that: "1. Coercion of a person into sexual intercourse, muzhelozhstvo, lesbianism or other actions of a sexual character by use of blackmail, threat of destruction, damage or withdrawal of property, or by exploiting the victim's material or other dependency, is punished by limitation of freedom up to three years or deprivation of freedom on the same terms. 2. The same action, if it is committed wittingly against an underage person, is punished by limitation of freedom up to four years or deprivation of freedom up to five years." No specific sexual acts, such as oral or anal penetration, are mentioned, and whether the behavior is homosexual or heterosexual makes no difference. The law makes an important symbolic tribute to the principle of gender equality in that, with the exception of rape, which requires a female victim, all other criminal sexual actions, such as violence, compulsion, or coercion, can be directed against persons of either gender, the victims in all cases being referred to in the law as she or he. The age of legally relevant consent for participation in sexual acts is equal for homosexuals and heterosexuals: 16 years old.
The legislation contains no laws that refer specifically to perpetrators of crimes motivated by homophobia. In the Criminal Code, homosexuals are only singled out when they are the “subjects” of a crime (e.g., when they are the perpetrators), and not when they are “objects” (e.g., victims of a crime). Judicial and police organs do not express any eagerness to collect evidence about the homophobic motives of those who perpetrate crimes. Judges are not obliged to consider such motives as aggravating the circumstances of guilt, or to impose more severe punishments when homophobic motives are present.
Currently effective legislation does not contain the so-called “Anti-discriminatory Law”, which regulates the principles of the equal treatment resting on the prohibition of discrimination and the means of legal protection against its violation.
Immigration and Asylum LawEdit
Persecution on the basis of sexual orientation is not explicitly recognized in law as a ground for granting refugee status. Same sex partners are not recognized for the purposes of immigration law. After the fall of the communist regime many Belarusians requested and were granted asylum abroad, based on sexual orientation discrimination. The most frequent reason cited was formal or informal harassment by the police. Amnesty International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Network – Belarus (AILGBT-Belarus) has information on individuals who were granted asylum in Czech Republic, France, Netherlands, and Sweden.
(From Viachaslau Bortnik's report presented at the OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting, Warsaw, October 4–15, 2004; side event “Intolerance, discrimination and hate crimes based on sexual orientation and gender identity in the OSCE region”.)
2008 About the Month against homophobia in Belarus
Homophobia exists in all countries, but also manifests itself in different ways. In most the past soviet union countries (because of certain historical events and cultural traditions), homophobia, even if it seems imperceptible, is part of the social order. An exception of Belarus, where homophobia is a political question also.
In Belarus, homophobia has long been a casual nature. Jokes about the gays and insults, after a load, steel, unfortunately, an integral part of our lives.
Homosexuals if suddenly become aware of their orientation, can be beaten, to dismiss work, to hunt down at the university. Yes, and what to expect if homophobia implanted at the highest level. The parliament member Kuchinsky suggested not simply put, and kill gays. "My position as a deputy is: all these "blue" (In Belarus it’s mean as a freak) and so must be full-shaft" - clearly he said. And proposed an amendment to the Law to criminalize this type of relations between people. Also, many words about the "orientation" was told the Head of State, who had clearly expressed homophobic orientation.
The first music channel in Belarus, almost openly declared his position on discrimination of sexual minorities. By the canal administration appealed portal Gay.by, who responded that this is not the position of the channel, but merely the implementation of the recommendations, but not explained whose recommendations. Messages can only be a heterosexuals. Massages usually edited or not published at all. Thus, the announcement harmless "guy to get acquainted with the guy" the broadcast goes in the form of "A guy will get acquainted". As a result, gay-guy, who paid announcement, entire evenings of calls and discourage SMS from girls. In response to claims first music channel explained that has the right to edit reports of acquaintances. Most do not hesitate over the meaning of rights and interests of ads gave a paid advertisement.
Therу is no official organizations in Belarus that represent the interests of gay and lesbian in Belarus. Women's Organization, which was officially registered and working by the "gender" questions "Jyana", which protects young women in the country, recently announced that soon will closed. The so-called, men's organization, Republican Youth organization "Vstrecha" is not an LGBT-organisation, but holds a great deal of work aimed at preventing HIV infection and AIDS among men having sex with men. All other organizations and initiatives are working outside the legal framework.
If we talk about simple gay and lesbian vacations, he practically does not exist. Gay clubs in Minsk takes pace, but to say precisely, just one and in some conducted, the so-called "closed" party. But recently the leaders of such institutions are trying to maximize their in secret and not to say about the orientation of the visitors. The only "officially" an existing club (for hidden reasons of this institution, we will not publish his name) known for low prices, and homophobic guards, which periodically emit from the club to become tipsy visitors.
Internet resources for gay and lesbian in Belarus, and recently worked without any problems. With regard to Russian gay-sites, so until now denied access to the Russian portal GLBT Gay.ru. The monopoly-provider Beltelecom, which controls the external gateway, tried to block access to sites gay - at least from internet clubs, the first time, many clubs have closed Internet access on gay sites, but over the time began, but went on such a step not all. There are still in Minsk internet clubs, which are blocking access to Belarusian as well as on Russian gay lesbi sites.
The criminal article for homosexuality was abolished in 1994 but began a strong pressure towards sex minorities. They also discredited is in full swing. For example, the first gay parade was held in the CIS countries in Minsk, it was in 2001. Strangely enough, he passed peacefully, it consisted of about 300 people. It soon became clear why he was peaceful: after 2 days were to be held presidential elections, and the parade has become a very convenient pretext for customized television in order to discredit candidates from the political opposition. Now not only the gay movement, but also LGBT, as such, de facto exist in the country clandestinely.
The first and only action for the past six years was announced by Belarusian initiatives and gay sites was the "Month against homophobia", whose purpose was to say that the problems in our country is and must be addressed. Belarusian LGBT activists to campaign from 17 April to 17 May, which took place as information campaigns, and various activities for LGBT. Month organizers were made: the site gayby.org, Gay.by, members of the League of Sexual Equality "Lambda", Amnesty International (Belarus).
Belarusian "sex-minority" for the first time, openly declared his desire to take part in the way of Chernobyl, the democratic forces of the country to express their solidarity with the victims of the Chernobyl tragedy, together and on a level with all parties to the action. However, met strong resistance from the "democratic" forces and hundreds of homophobic remarks.
Thus, activist "democratic" movement, the voice of the Belarusian opposition youth, Dmitry Dashkevich, taking part in the program "Freedom Night", in a live "Radio Freedom" openly declared that in Belarus are no place for gays, that homosexuals - are sick people and that opposition will not going to the dialogue with them. These words were spoken from the mouth of a man who fights for freedom and democracy in Belarus.
Also worth mentioning, and another saying the Belarusian opposition have been told some time ago. Artur Finkevich, said that all homosexuals need to settle in the Reserve and not with the "normal" people. Ghetto and Gulag - the future of the Belarusian democratic country, at least for sexual minorities, such a thought comes to mind after listening to all the comments of opposition, the democratic forces in the country.
As part of the Month were planned street information shares, which were to be held in Gomel and Minsk, but organizers were cancelled in connection with the ban on their holding of local authorities.
Month against homophobia in Belarus supported the Belarusian electronic media, radio and foreign colleagues. More than fifty media told about the Month events. Belarusian media, despite the silence theme homosexuality, began to talk about the people on the part of society which can not be accepted nor society, nor government forces nor their opponents. In turn, I would like to express gratitude for the coverage of events Month Radio Liberty, BELAPAN News Agency, the newspaper "Salidarnast", European Radio for Belarus, Belarusian Ratsiya Radio, Radio "MIR", the regional information media, as well as all others who are not afraid talk about gays and lesbians. Alexander Poluyan Gay.by 
Intolerance and homophobia remains present within Belarusian society. According to The International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA), representatives of sexual minorities are scared of seeking protection from the human rights groups. Gay life is still largely underground and most Belarusians consider homosexuality a disease.Template:Ref
Homophobic attitude, suspicions and prejudices are still very strong. According to the survey held by Belarusian Lambda League for Sexual Equality (Lambda Belarus) in April 2002 47% of questioned Belarusians think that gays should be imprisoned. Young people increasingly tolerate homosexuality and show a growing interest in gay and lesbian culture. However, their interest remains part of youth popular culture and is often considered as a kind of fashion that will be outgrown and forgotten in adult life.
The open support of lesbians and gays is not a popular thing for a political movement in Belarus. In July 2001 the Organising Committee of the 1st Belarusian Youth Congress, according to majority low, voted against participation of delegates of Lambda Belarus. In March 2002 a number of Belarusian media published press release of Young Front (the youth organisation of Belarusian Popular Front), which contained homophobic statements and humiliating notes about gays. (From Viachaslau Bortnik's report presented at the OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting, Warsaw, October 4–15, 2004; side event “Intolerance, discrimination and hate crimes based on sexual orientation and gender identity in the OSCE region”.)
In his speech at the consultation with the Belarusian Security Council, which took place 28 September 2004 in Minsk, with participation of the highest members of power and security ministries of the country President Lukashenka said: “… we have to show our society in the near future, what ‘they’ [EU and USA] are doing here, how they are trying to turn our girls into prostitutes, how they are feeding our citizens with illicit drugs, how they are spreading sexual perversion here, which methods they are employing”. (From Viachaslau Bortnik's report presented at the OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting, Warsaw, October 4–15, 2004; side event “Intolerance, discrimination and hate crimes based on sexual orientation and gender identity in the OSCE region”.)
The Russian Orthodox Church is very powerful (claiming 80% of the population as adherents) and considers homosexual relationships as among “the gravest of sins”. According to Lambda Belarus in April 1999 Russian Orthodox Church officials have publicly called for the execution of gays. In May 2003 the European Humanities University (Minsk) administration banned demonstration of the documentary “Outlawed” about discrimination of gays and lesbians all around the world. The show was planned for AMNESTY FILMS FESTIVAL, organised by AILGBT-Belarus at the University. According to the University staff the ban was made under pressure of Russian Orthodox Church. (From Viachaslau Bortnik's report presented at the OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting, Warsaw, October 4–15, 2004; side event “Intolerance, discrimination and hate crimes based on sexual orientation and gender identity in the OSCE region”.)
Recent cases of discriminationEdit
There is no anti-discrimination law in Belarus. The ILGA reports Belarusians being discriminated or persecuted due to their sexual orientations.
Specific examples include:
- A former Minsk resident Roman, 19, was seeking a political asylum in the U.S., because his parents had been trying to cure him by shock therapy. He was granted asylum in May 2007. (NOTE: real name and location changed to protect identity).
- In May 1998 a resident of Maryina Gorka, Minsk District, the state official, was fired from his position after his former wife called the administration and said that her former husband was homosexual.
- In July 1998 directors of the state National Television and Radio Company of Belarus banned authors of popular TV programs King’s Hunt and It’s All Right, Mamma from using the already filmed material with participation of the Singing Queens Show on the grounds that the programs’ characters confessed they were gay.
- The country's only gay club, Oscar, was closed by the government in February 2000 because police said it "gathers abnormal people". However some mainstream clubs reportedly hold specific gay nights.
- Discrimination concerning the gay rights festivals
- Minsk Gay Culture and Human Rights Conference Cancelled
Hate Crimes Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (added by Viachaslau Bortnik, 13 August 2006)
Individual cases registered by Lambda Belarus from January 2001 to June 2003:
- On 18 April a dead body of the pensioner Alexander Stephanovich, known in Minsk as a homosexual, was found in the yard of the apartment block where he lived. His body was stabbed all over with knives.
- At night between 15 and 16 of May the activist of Lambda Belarus Andrei Babkin was badly beaten and raped by the entrance into his flat and subsequently was taken to the hospital with severe injuries.
- On early morning on the 3rd of July the owner of the gay club “Oskar” Ivan Suchinski, 30 was killed. The club was closed by the authorities in February 2000 and Ivan tried to seek civil remedy against unfair actions of the police. 6 cases of murder of homosexuals were reported in Minsk and parts of their bodies were scattered around the city. To this day the police have not found the murderers.
- On 2 July in Minsk the police detained and badly beat Andrei Scherbakov, one of the founders of Lambda Belarus.
- On 3 August the unidentified broke into and vandalised the flat of the Lambda Belarus activist Andrei Babkin where fliers, posters and booklets of the festival “Gay Pride 2001” had been kept.
- On 13 November in Molodechno the leader of Lambda Belarus Edward Tarletski was seriously assaulted which resulted in a “concussion of brain” diagnosed in the hospital where he was rushed into and spent 7 days. The police refused to take actions in connection with the assault for the reason that as they explained it was “impossible to find the criminals”.
- On 15 February in Zhlobin (Gomel Region) a dead body of 34 year old accountant Victor Kovyl was found in his parents’ flat. He was openly gay both at work and in public. The police refused to give the details of the murder to Kovyl’s partner Alexander and one of the members of the police said to him: “It serves you right, sodomites (faggots)!”.
- On 29 March, Pavel Severinetz, the leader of the biggest opposition organisation, the “Young Front”, issued a letter published in media, where he called homosexuality “a death-worthy sin and perversion”. According to Severinetz the fact of the existence of homosexuals is “the result of spoiling and sinfulness in the world”.
- On 12 April an assault and beating of gay men took place outside a gay club “Babylon”. According to witnesses a group of skin heads (10-12 men) who attacked 3 visitors of the gay club ran away before the police arrived. Among the victims was Edward Tarletski, Editor in Chief of a gay magazine Forum Lambda and leader of Lambda Belarus.
- On 10 June in the town Kommunar of Buda-Koshelyovo district of Gomel region three unidentified men heavily beat and raped a local resident Dmitrii L., 18. The victim was taken to the reanimation ward of Gomel Regional hospital where he spent 2 weeks.
- On 29 August before the festival “Gay Pride 2002” the leader of Lambda Belarus and Editor in Chief Edward Tarletski was called to the City Department of Minsk Police where he was told that in case he organizes gay parade on the streets of the city “the police will not take any responsibility for possible disorders”. The police also threatened Tarletski with criminal prosecution in case of a street demonstration like it was in 2001.
- On 2 October at 10 pm Edward Tarletski was seriously assaulted outside his flat entrance on his way home. Four unidentified men asked him if his name was Tarletski and started beating him. That night he was taken to the hospital. He had a broken shoulder and three teeth smashed.
- Minsk Police started a criminal case in connection with the murder of Mikhail M., 50, whose mutilated body was found in his flat on the 17th of November. According to the police this was the 5th murder of this kind committed in the capital of Belarus. However the detectives fully denied the possibility of a maniac.
- In December the administration of the Belarusian State University in Minsk banned access to all gay internet resources in the computer classes of the university.
- On 18 February Edward Tarletski, leader of Lambda Belarus and Editor in Chief of a gay magazine, Forum Lambda, was beaten by unidentified persons near his house. Edward was taken to the hospital with a head injury and plenty of bruises on his body.
- On 20 March the administration of the internet café “Soyuz Online”, the biggest and most popular among gays internet-café in Minsk, blocked the Belarusian gay and lesbian web site APAGAY.
- On 29 March the security guard of the night club “Budda-Bar” in Minsk heavily beat Yuliya Yukhnovetz, volunteer for Minsk Pride, only because she kissed a girl in the club hallway. She was taken into hospital where she was diagnosed with a “closed injury of cranium”.
- On 10 May an unknown hacker broke into the Belarusian gay and lesbian web site APAGAY. He deleted all the topics of the site’s forum and introduced the new one containing appeal to kill gays. In addition while downloading the home page of APAGAY.com the notification “PIDARS MUST DIE” and “STOP PIDARS IN BELARUS” appeared on the screen. The hacker’s breaking was followed by telephone calls to the members of the site’s team with threats of physical violence.
- On 28 May the administration of the European Humanitarian University in Minsk banned demonstration of the documentary film “Outlawed” about discrimination of gays and lesbians abroad. The film show was planned for AMNESTY FILMS FESTIVAL, which should have taken place at the University. According to the University staff the ban was made under pressure of the Russian Orthodox Church.
- On 12 June Edward Tarletski, leader of Lambda Belarus and Editor in Chief of the gay magazine Forum Lambda, addressed a letter to the head of the state company “Minsk Postal Service” asking to explain why all international correspondence for BLL, Forum Lambda and Tarletski personally is always received open and damaged.
There are reports that police and prosecutor agencies do not give cases involving a victim who is of a sexual minority equal treatment.
In prisons and correctional facilities, homosexuality is subject to speculation, blackmail and exaction. While in prison, gays and lesbians are largely unprotected. Reportedly, executing bodies often make use of prisoners’ sexual inclinations to receive needed data, and turnkeys often encourage prisoners to abuse homosexuals.
Discriminatory Police Practices
Individual cases provide evidence indicating the presence of the following discriminatory practices:
1. Police officers seek information of a personal nature about homosexual persons who are victims of violence. This information is of no relevance to the prosecution the perpetrators of the crimes against those victims.
2. Police officers collect information of a personal nature as well as passport data and face pictures of homosexual persons who visit cruising areas. National NGO “Vstrecha” [“Meeting”] (HIV-prevention group for gay men) reported about those practices in Brest and Gomel.
3. Police officers refuse to register cases of brutality committed against representatives of sexual minorities and do not conduct investigations that would seek criminal responsibility from the perpetrators of crimes motivated by homophobic prejudice. Lambda Belarus reported many cases of brutality against lesbians and gays and passive behaviour of police in all regions of the country. The passive behaviour of the police is an expression of the state’s desire to ignore and to not protect the violated rights of homosexuals.
4. Police has conducted unprovoked actions in bars frequented by homosexuals. AILGBT-Belarus, “Vstrecha”, Lambda Belarus and lesbian group “YANA” reported about those practices in Gomel and Minsk. (From Viachaslau Bortnik's report presented at the OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting, Warsaw, October 4–15, 2004; side event “Intolerance, discrimination and hate crimes based on sexual orientation and gender identity in the OSCE region”.)
According to the Belarusian Ministry of Defense and the Center for the Study of Sexual Minorities in the Military of the University of California, Santa Barbara Belarus is between those countries that ban gays to serve in the military. AILGBT-Belarus has documented at least five cases of gay men from Gomel who did not serve in the army because of their sexual orientation. No cases of harassment of gays in the army are reported, but this may be the result of gay individuals hiding their sexuality. (From Viachaslau Bortnik's report presented at the OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting, Warsaw, October 4–15, 2004; side event “Intolerance, discrimination and hate crimes based on sexual orientation and gender identity in the OSCE region”.)
A high percentage of suicide is observed amongst gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transsexuals. Qualified psychological help is not generally available. In Minsk, the capital of Belarus, three universities - Belarus State University, Belarus Pedagogical University and European Humanities University - have full psychology courses on their curriculum but do not address the problems of sexual minorities.
Gay rights festivalEdit
After previous failed efforts, in 1999 a gay pride festival was organised by Forum Lambda, a magazine of Belarusian gays and lesbians. The festival was supported by the UN Development Programme, studio Tatyana, organisation United Way Belarus, IREX, Titanic club administration and guests from Ukraine. The 1999 festival was a success.Template:Ref
In 2000 the organisers of the festival encountered great difficulty in preparing for the event. According to Edvard Tarletsky, head of the organising committee, the radio station (Radio BA) which was to cover the event and grant its dancehall for night events received an order from the Presidential Administration not to do so. Other radio stations reportedly refused support on the same grounds, and other venues were also cancelled. Orthodox Church related groups demonstrated in Minsk against the Gay Festival the day before the festival was planned, on September 9. A planned gay pride march through the city was banned by the city government 24 hours before it was due to take place, and authorities acted on the day to prevent festivities. Newspapers have reported the outcome of the day. SeeTemplate:Ref andTemplate:Ref
In 2001 the Belarus government allegedly prohibited the Belarus Gay Pride Festival for 2001.
The organizing committee of the final (Belarusian) phase of the 4th International Moonbow Human Rights & Homo Cultural Festival and the 1st stage of this year's ILGCN (International Lesbian & Gay Cultural Network) World Lesbian and Gay World Conference—August 28–29, 2004—have been forced to cancel the event in Minsk. This comes after authorities frightened a club owner into withdrawing his promise to host the event and non-governmental human rights activists from attending the event. In addition, threatening phone calls from authorities said foreigners trying to attend the event for workshops and discussions "would be immediately expelled from the country in keeping with the article of intervention in domestic affairs of the Republic of Belarus."Template:Ref (From Viachaslau Bortnik's report presented at the OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting, Warsaw, October 4–15, 2004; side event “Intolerance, discrimination and hate crimes based on sexual orientation and gender identity in the OSCE region”.)
95% of the Belarusian media market is owned by the state. Publications on LGBT issues are rare in state-owned newspapers, as well as in independent. Pro-governmental media expresses negative views about homosexuals. The work of the media has not had yet a great educational value in opening a debate in Belarusian society.
The only specialised magazine for the LGBT community (Forum Lambda magazine) was published by Lambda Belarus in Russia and disseminated in Belarus during 1998-2002. The publication has been banned several times by the State Publishing Committee.
The main source of information about life of LGBT community in Belarus is internet portal APAGAY (http://www.apagay.com). It’s one of ten most visited sites in Belarus with monthly audience of over 350,000 visitors. The creators of the web site encounter a lot of problems when trying to disseminate adequate information about homosexuality. In December 2002 the administration of the Belarusian State University in Minsk banned access to all gay internet resources in the computer classes of the university. In March 2003 the administration of the internet café “Soyuz Online”, the biggest and most popular among gays in Minsk, blocked the site. In January 2004 the National Hosting Company N1.BY refused www.apagay.com its services. Earlier in 2003 the system administrator of "Krassnaya Banernaya" RED.BY banned the portal APAGAY from banners exchange.
(From Viachaslau Bortnik's report presented at the OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting, Warsaw, October 4–15, 2004; side event “Intolerance, discrimination and hate crimes based on sexual orientation and gender identity in the OSCE region”.)
1 Vstrecha ["Meeting"]
Location: 23-53, Kiedyshko Street, Minsk
Phone: 288 36 08
Commentary: The oldest gay group in Belarus, founded in the early 1990s. Activities: HIV/AIDS prevention; HIV+ support group.
2. Belarusian initiative group "BelQueer"
Our work and plans
-propagation of correct sexual behaviour
-distribution of a trustworthy information about life LGBTQ in Belarus and behind its limits
-preventive maintenance HIV/AIDS
-creation of a favorable atmosphere for LGBTQ in Belarus
-development Belarus LGBTQ movements
-the help to young gays
3 TEMA - information center
Post address: p.o.box 118, 246048 Gomel, BELARUS
Phone: +375 29 7390882
Commentary: Founded in 2004. TEMA is Belarusian national wide not profit LGBT NGO (Not Government Organization). Nowadays, TEMA is one of the most active LGBT NGO in Belarus. TEMA is not registered NGO, because of political situation in Belarus. Activities:
• organizing LGBT Pride events
• publication informative materials
• national LGBT web-site http://www.pride.by
• a creative contest for journalists
• e-newsletter in English http://groups.google.com/group/lgbtbelarus
• monitoring of the media
• educational events (trainings, workshops, conferences)
• monitoring of Belarusian legislation
• providing the LGBT community with legal education and information
• lobbying for the interests of the LGBT community on both national and international levels
4 Amnesty International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Network - Belarus (AILGBT-Belarus)
Address: PO Box 10P, 246050 Gomel
Phone: (029) 731 79 02
Commentary: Founded in 1999. Activities: LGBT rights research and advocacy, human rights education, social activities. Recipient of 2004 Grizzly Bear Award from International Lesbian and Gay Cultural Network.
AILGBT-Belarus vision is of a world in which every LGBT person enjoys all of the human rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international human rights standards. In pursuit of this vision, AILGBT-Belarus mission is to undertake research and action focused on preventing and ending abuses of human rights of LGBT community in Belarus, within the context of its work to promote LGBT rights worldwide.
- Template:Notea b The Status of Sexual Minorities in Belarus. International Lesbian and Gay Association. Retrieved on 2005-09-29.
- Template:Note Worldwide Ages of Consent. Avert.org. Retrieved on 2005-09-29.
- Template:Note Homosexual Rights Around The World. Gay Rights Info. Retrieved on 2005-09-29.
- Template:Note "Gay Pride Belarus ’99" held in Minsk from 9 to 12 September. International Lesbian and Gay Association. Retrieved on 2005-09-29.
- Template:Note Gay and Lesbian Issues in Belarus. A Belarus Miscellany. Retrieved on 2005-09-29.
- Template:Note Belarus Authorities Forbid Year 2000 Gay Pride Festival. GayToday. Retrieved on 2005-09-29.
- Template:Note Gay Belarus News & Reports 2004-05. Global Gayz.com. Retrieved on 2005-09-29.
- Template:Note International Briefs. Bay Windows. Retrieved on 2005-09-29.
- Template:Notea b Month against homophobia in Belarus. Gay.by. Retrieved on 2008-06-14.
- LGBT Country portal in English on Gay.by
- LGBT Sosial, Human Rights and Travel information in English on Pride.by
- International Lesbian and Gay Association: Status of sexual minorities in Belarus
- Gaytimes: Lesbian & Gay Belarus
See also Edit
News article sources Edit
- LGBT Sosial, Human Rights and Travel information in English on Gay.by
- LGBT Sosial, Human Rights and Travel information in English on Pride.by
- Belarus gay mazazine given green light by state
- Belarus Authorities Forbid Year 2000 Gay Pride Festival
- Gay Belarus news & reports 2004-05
- Gay cultural events cancelled in Belarus
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