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September 24, 2014

Kazakhstan Following Russia on Gay “Propaganda” Law

Homosexuality was decriminalized in Kazakhstan in 1998, but anti-gay legislation and rhetoric are on the rise. As Kazakhstan considers a “propaganda” law modeled on Russia’s, politicians are intensifying their hate speech against the LGBT community. One politician recently called for blood tests to identify members of the gay community.

The propaganda law would virtually outlaw all forms of public expression related to homosexuality. Gay people are already prohibited from adopting children, but legislators have proposed amendments to existing laws that would also ban them from public office and the military.

Activists are speaking up against these indignations, but the overarching effect of such public displays of homophobia is to drive LGBT Kazakhs further into hiding.

The proliferation of Russian-style propaganda laws highlights the need for the State Department to establish a special envoy in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor to take up foreign policy initiatives on the human rights of LGBT people around the world.