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LBT organization "Labrys" Kyrgyzstan
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A brochure in Russian and Kyrgyz languages talking about homosexuality in general and the lives of homosexual and bisexual people in Kyrgyzstan.

If you would like to receive a copy of brochure, please, write to kyrgyzlabrys@yahoo.com

Electronic copy is available here : http://kyrgyzlabrys.wordpress.com/files/2007/07/brochure.pdf

As we are learning to use internet and all the goodies available in it, we are making Labrys more new media-friendly. Watch our videos on YouTube.

'Labrys' uniting lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in Kyrgyzstan.




Labrys activities on video


Labrys working


From this issue and on we will be trying to have our information in both Russian and English due to numerous requests from the readers to do so. 

Хотим поделиться с Вами последними новостями о работе организации.

1. Новые сотрудники и журнал. Поменялся состав сотрудников. Над журналом теперь работают Галя С. и Аида. Очень советуем посмотреть на продукт. Будете приятно удивлены. Журнал есть в офисе и на дискотеках. Его также можно получить по почте, если вы вышлете нам свой адрес kyrgyzlabrys@yahoo.com Айжан исполняет обязанности офис-менеджера в проекте СОС.

2. Демократические преобразования в Лабрисе. Наконец-то началась подготовка к переходу "Лабриса" на систему общее собрание - правление-президент (председатель)-исполнительный директор-сотрудники.  Во-первых, теперь можно вступать в члены и членкини "Лабриса". И это дает Вам полное право участия в процессе принятия решений в "Лабрисе" (то есть, например, если Вы недовольны каким-то аспектом работы организации, Вы можете поднять этот вопрос на обсуждение среди членкинь общего собрания и принять меры). Общее собрание выбирает правление организации, которому поручает принимать самые важные решения. Правление выбирает директора, который или которая воплощает в жизнь. Сотрудники подчиняются директору и выполняют решения правления и общего собрания.

3. Шелтер продолжает работу до середины августа.

4. Визит СОС. В конце мая приезжали консультанты из СОС оценивать прогресс организации, особо довольны не были, но хвалили за некоторые моменты.

5. Тренинг по продвижению прав. На тренинг в середине мая приезжали активисты их других стран проекта СОС на тренинг по продвижению прав и лоббированию. Две организации из Украины (Женская Сеть (Киев) и Ассоциация Геев и Лесбиянок "ЛИГА" (Николаев)),  Гендерное Развитие (Баку) из Азербайджана, Фонд "Инклюзив" из Грузии, "Мы за гражданское общество!" из Армении и Гендер-Док-М из Молдовы.  Некоторые из Вас также имели возможность поговорить с Максимом Анмегикяном из Ilga-Europe на дискотеке.

6. Обучение сотрудников. Сотрудники "Лабриса" посетили семинары по «Улучшение практик финансового управления и администрирования НПО, развивающих программы в области ВИЧ/СПИД», организованных НПО "АнтиСПИД" и по финансовому учету от ХИВОСа. Работаем над улучшением наших финансовых систем.

7. Новая инициативная группа. "Лабрис" рекомендовал на финансирование в проект СОС организацию "Спейс" (Талас). Ребята работают с геями и МСМ (мужчины имеющие секс с мужчинами). Налаживаем коммуникацию и сотрудничество.

8. Семинары в Швеции. Сотрудники организации провели семинар о трансгендерах и презентации ЛГБТ-ситуации в Кыргызстане для шведских коллег в городах Гетеборг и Остерсунд.

9. Конференция ОБСЕ. "Лабрис" участвовал в конференции ОБСЕ по борьбе с дискриминацией и поощрению взаимного уважения и понимания. На этой конференции была обсуждена возможность включения дискриминации, основанной на сексуальной ориентации, гендерной идентичности и гендерного самовыражения как отдельной категории в анти-дискриминационной работе ОБСЕ.  Организация "Лабрис" принимала участие в сборе подписей и сама подписала декларацию, направленную на включение нашей тематики в работу ОБСЕ.

В сборе подписей принимали участие в Бухаресте - Алекс Мамытов, в Бишкеке - Аида и Алексей, в Гетеборге - Анна Кирей.  

Алекс Мамытов встретился с омбудсменом Казахстана и послом Кыргызстана в ОБСЕ по вопросам смены документов для транссексуалов. На данный момент "Лабрис" продвигает идею смены документов сразу после установления диагноза "транссексуализм". Такой указ уже принят в Казахстане.

10. Брошюра о гомосексуальности при поддержке фонда ASTRAEA готовится к выпуску. Это будет первая брошюра, рассказывающая о реалиях жизни гомо и бисексуальных людей в Кыргызстане.  

1. Vacancy: Transgender component Coordinator

 

Location: Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

Place: Lesbian, Bisexual Women’s and Transgender Organization “Labrys”

Deadline: 15 June 2007

Work period: 1 July – 31 December 2007 (with possibility of extension)

Work load: 20 hours a week

 

A young NGO working with lesbian and bisexual women and transgender people (LBT) in Kyrgyzstan is looking for an open-minded and flexible person to work as a part-time research assistant within ‘Elf’ project. “Labrys” has been officially working since January 2005. Its activities include working with general public on issues of sexual orientation and gender identity and empowerment of LBT community in Bishkek through providing a safe meeting place, publishing a journal, organizing events and trainings for LBT.  The project sponsored by Dutch donor HIVOS.

 

The transgender component of ‘Elf’ project is aimed at providing information on transitioning within post-Soviet context to transgender people and lobbying for transgender rights in Kyrgyzstan.

 

Profile:

 

  • University Degree in Social Sciences (preferred)
  • Experience in lobbying and advocacy
  • Experience of working with vulnerable groups and open-mindedness
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Ability to manage multiple tasks and crisis situations, work over-time
  • Working knowledge of Russian and English preferred

 

Responsibilities:

  • Coordinates activities within transgender component (translation of materials, publishing of materials, publication of a brochure on gender identity, advocacy)
  • Communicates with Ministry of Health and various human rights organizations and state bodies about ensuring the possibility of healthy transitioning in Kyrgyzstan
  • Maintains communication with transgender people in Kyrgyzstan and abroad
  • Provides consultation and information on transitioning to transgender people in Kyrgyzstan and abroad via email and in person

 

Women and transgender people are encouraged to apply.

 

To apply:

  • send a cover letter highlighting your experience and your CV to kyrgyzlabrys@yahoo.com with “Transgender Component Coordinator” in the subject line

 2.

Vacancy: Research assistant

 

Location: Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

Place: Lesbian, Bisexual Women’s and Transgender Organization “Labrys”

Deadline: 15 June

Work period: 16 July – 16 September 2007

Work load: 20 hours a week

 

A young NGO working with lesbian and bisexual women and transgender people (LBT) in Kyrgyzstan is looking for an open-minded and flexible person to work as a part-time research assistant within ‘Elf’ project. “Labrys” has been officially working since January 2005. Its activities include working with general public on issues of sexual orientation and gender identity and empowerment of LBT community in Bishkek through providing a safe meeting place, publishing a journal, organizing events and trainings for LBT.  The project sponsored by Dutch donor HIVOS.

 

The research component of ‘Elf’ project is aimed to examine the situation of LBT people in Bishkek by using in-depth interviews and observations.

 

Profile:

 

  • University Degree in Social Sciences (sociology preferred but not necessary)
  • 2 years of experience of working with research projects in Kyrgyzstan or conducting an individual research project
  • Experience of working with vulnerable groups and open-mindedness
  • Training in qualitative research methods and data analysis
  • Excellent interviewing skills
  • Ability to manage multiple tasks and crisis situations, work over-time

 

Responsibilities:

  • Assists research coordinator in designing the study
  • Conducts in-depth interviews with LBT community members
  • Transcribes the interviews
  • Assists the research coordinator in producing research report

 

 

Women and transgender people are encouraged to apply.

 

To apply:

  • send a cover letter highlighting your experience and your CV to kyrgyzlabrys@yahoo.com with “Research Assistant” in the subject line


Restructuring.
As 'Labrys' is proceeding with its work and getting more and more training on organizational development, we decided to restructure the organization to make its work more logical and goal-oriented.
Under the new structure there are two executive positions - Chair and Executive Director. The work of organization is structured around two main programs: 

Working with LBT (and maybe Asian gay men in the future) 
Information component
Support and consolidation component
Psycho-social component
Sexual Health component

Working with society
PR 
Advocacy

Each program has specific components and each component has a staff person responsible for it. The new structure should enable the staff to have a feeling of ownership in the organization.

Preparation for 17 May and project progress news.

Publications
. Right now 'Labrys' team is busy with preparing publications for the 17 May (brochure about homosexuality) and putting together a new journal issue. Other issues are available upon request from Jika jikabz@yahoo.com who is responsible for LBT community information and the journal. We would need your postal address to send the journals. If you are on our list and have not received the journals, please, contact Vika Kartseva ('Labrys' Chair) at vikkar.z@mail.ru or kyrgyzlabrys@yahoo.com

Training. PRECIS Project with COC-Netherlands and partner organizations in the former Soviet Union has been actively involving all the staff members in different types of training. On 20-24 May Kyrgyzstan is hosting the advocacy training in the framework of this project. ILGA-Europe (www.ilga-europe.org ) is co-organizing this event.

Annual report. There was a visit from HIVOS to 'Labrys' in March and one of its outcomes is putting together an annual report about 'Labrys' work in 2006 which will be available by 30 April.  

Lobbying for gender marker change. 'Labrys' has taken commitment to further lobby the possibilities of changing the gender marker and name legally for transsexuals in Kyrgyzstan. As of now we are preparing a strategy for advocating through medical institutions. The way through political means would be very difficult as Kyrgyzstan is going through yet another political turmoil. Our transitioning hero (it's been one year since he received the diagnosis) has been to different courts and spoke to different judges. One advise to him was to go abroad to get a surgery (phalloplasty) that would make him a 'real man' (as judges defined man as somebody with a penis).  The judges' comments remain without written refusals, therefore, we cannot challenge them in court. One written document that we have is refusal to take up a court case due to not presenting a medical form of 'proper format' (which does not exist). 
As of now we are hoping to discuss the issue with medical professionals and hold seminars for them with medics from Kazakhstan present (for the legislation on changing gender marker in Kazakhstan see http://www.pfc.org.uk/files/Kazakhstan.pdf).

Cooperation with transgender activists in Russia.
'Labrys' has been in touch with Yaroslav who runs www.mucho-dyke.narod.ru website (one of the best FtM information sites in Russian language) and Agneta www.transsexuals.ru . We plan to spread our transgender information materials through these online networks.

Articles about presentation of LGBT Situation in Kyrgyzstan (in Swedish)

Amnesty International: http://www2.amnesty.se/ap.nsf/webbreportage/0A8C6EA631ECBE02C12572BB002807E4?opendocument
RFSL (Swedish National LGBT Organization) Newsletterhttp://konline.rfsl.se/oois?id=55&article_id=104097

Friendly event 'Queer Easter':
www.queereaster.net

Also listen to broadcast of an interview about transgender situation in Kyrgyzstan:
www.transgenderradio.de There will be two broadcasts on 6 May at 13:00 (German time) and 20 May at 13:00.

Since January 2007 'Labrys' has a new logo developed by Galina Sokolova, one of the staff members.
There were two options discussed and this one was chosen:





We are working on analyzing the obtained research results from the survey. 

Methods:

  • Structured interview-questionnaire
  • Administered by six different interviewers of different identities and from different ethnic groups
  • Data collection July 2006 – January 2007
  • 94 questionnaires collected, 9 incomplete
  • Main themes: demographics, income, health, sexual practices and STI/HIV awareness, coming out, main needs and concerns, access to Labrys services

 

Selected findings:
58% identify as lesbians
32% earn below 100 USD per month
43% assessed their health condition as satisfactory
17% do not smoke
51% of the smokers want to quit
9% drink alcohol 3 to 5 times per week
34% tried drugs usually marijuana 
23% had forced sexual contacts (lOut of these 80% had forced sexual contact with a man)
35% believe that their sexual orientation or gender identity create problems for them in society
55% named relations with family and relatives as their main concern
8% would want to change their sexual orientation or gender identity
28% tried to change their sexual orientation or gender identity
For 56% their families tried to force them to change by persuading, sending to psychologist or psychiatrist

 

One of the Kyrgyz lesbian women aged 28 is going to follow her parents' demand to get married in March. Her girlfriend came to 'Labrys' with this story, the couple is planning to continue seeing each other but secretly. The 'bride's' parents are aware of their daughter's sexual orientation and that she has a partner. The couple had to separate officially. The parents chose the future husband for their daughter because she was of the age, not married and without children. It would be a shame for the family if she disagreed.

January activities.
During the January weeks  'Labrys' has been doing its usual activities: there was a disco and trainings along with preparing the issue number 8 of journal.  

Journal by post

Issue number 7 is out and sent out to partner organizations and individuals, if you have not received it but would like to, please, send your postal address to kyrgyzlabrys@yahoo.com .

Email news
Also we have been collecting emails of the people who would like to receive 'Labrys' news and information by email, we have about twenty emails so far. If you would like to be included in the email list, let us know. The emails with news will come approximately once in two weeks.

Transgender.
There was a trans* support group meeting where a decision was made that 'Labrys' can provide medical support only for those transsexuals who have obtained an official diagnosis of 'transsexualism'. Also one of the transbois had a hysterectomy (surgical removal of uterus) and is now working on a court case to be officially able to change documents. The case, unfortunately, will be an individual court case and not a precedent. 

Research data.
We have finished data collection from the needs assessment part of the research project, as of now there were 94 interviews made, 
9 respondents either stopped half way through the interview, we are waiting for emailed quesstionnaires from two respondents.

Translation of older 'Labrys ' journal articles into English.
Translations of articles in issues of 'Labrys' 1 and 2 are now available in English, thank you to Human Rights Watch for translation.

LABRYS ISSUE #4 (2005)

 

Page 5: Is homophobia a disease?

BY Olesya Kuschenkova - Public Organization of Psychologists “Dialog”

It is not a secret that humans by the their nature can be attracted, and quite often, to other humans. This attraction can have various forms and meanings. It can be anything: from a desire for communication with another person, a desire to be together and work together, to sexual attraction and even love. All these kinds of attraction do not have clear borders and can turn one into another.

One of the most common stereotypes of modern society is the belief that sexual and sensual attraction and love can and should happen only among humans of opposite sex. This is one of the so-called “social and cultural standards of sexual behavior.”

But there always people who, in spite of the established standards, are attracted to people of the same sex.  To them this attraction is natural and a part of their lives; just like attraction to the opposite sex is for “regular” people. This can be attraction of a man to a man and of a woman to a woman. There are even “interim” stages in this process, when one is attracted to men and women at the same time.

Although, as it is stated above, there is a spectrum of all kinds of attractions of human to human, usually, what society implies by “homosexualism” is the sexual attraction, for instance, a male’s desire to have sex with another male. This approach is too narrow and primitive; it is even humiliating. It is important to remember that attraction can be just of emotional and sensual character and it does not necessarily imply the presence of sexual relationships.

Homophobia is the word used to describe animosity and fear of some people towards homosexuals. In our society it demonstrates itself in various ways. Homosexuals are subjected to mocking, jokes and insults. For many narrow-minded people homosexuals are sick people, those who are contagious and capable of luring in others into their vicious lives.  It is surprising that the rest of the world is sure that homosexuals should be medically treated to become heterosexuals. In the commonly accepted perception, homophobia is either a fear of having a contact with homosexuals and for homosexuals it is disgust with themselves.

The most common kind of homophobia is the so-called “passive” or “latent” kind of it, when one does not have direct negative feelings about homosexuals, but subconsciously has hostility, which has been cultivated in his or her mentality since childhood.  A “passive” homophobe would not go “to beat up the fags” or publicly renounce gay people as “bastards”.  But his attitude towards gays is negative and it demonstrates itself when one forms his or her opinion about another person. And if someone would say something, which insults homosexuals’ dignity, this person would nod his or her head and agree. A “passive” homophobe, after finding out about sexual orientation of his friend, would subconsciously change his opinion about the friend and their relationship as friends could become colder.

Active homophobes are those who have a very clear, negative and irreconcilable attitude towards homosexuals. These are people who actively discuss the “nonstandard” orientation at any given opportunity, those who write extremely critical articles concerning this topic. These are people who are obsessed with homophobia. They are even ready to violate human rights just to “show it” to the homosexuals.

Olport, a psychologist, designed a table to measure degree of a prejudice. According to this table, every new level of the development is characterized by the strengthening of the preconceived ideas towards a particular group. In relation to gays the table looks this way:

Verbal denial (open verbal expression of repulsion and hatred towards homosexuals, dirty jokes, usage of degrading nicknames, such as “ faggot”).

Discrimination (a refusal to respect rights of homosexuals, for instance, in access to education, jobs or purchase of real estate, also a refusal to treat them equally to everybody else).

Physical violence (beatings, rapes and killings of homosexuals).

Fortunately, there are not that many people who belong to the last category, but the harm they cause has a huge impact.

Among others, there are following reasons for homophobia:

Emotional. Although lots of us say that they can picture how something feels for another person, we have very hard time truly understanding what others feel. By analogy we can explain and interpret lots of things that happen to others, but in the cases when we never had a similar experience we do not know what to do and cannot comprehend their feelings and emotions to the same degree. Possibly, if heterosexuals could understand same sex love and everything related to it, then they would not have such a negative attitude towards homosexuals. Then they would be able to accept existence of another category of people just on the basis of knowing that homosexuality is nothing but an expression of a creative and harmless love, the concept of which is acceptable to every human. Nonetheless, lots of heterosexuals dislike homosexuals.

Another source of homophobic reactions is culture or the public influence.  If one is born into a society where heterosexuals are dominant in all spheres of life, and if this attitude penetrates family life, mass media, religion and legislation, then biological tendencies of heterosexuals and their negative attitude towards homosexuals would be enforced by the society. Many social and cultural beliefs have been preserved for thousands of years. One of them is the negative attitude towards this issue. Condemnation of homosexual behavior is a part of European culture and people bring up their children with this attitude without even questioning it.

Another source of homophobia is a “group instinct”. This phenomenon, particularly common among teenagers, can be characterized by a fear to standout from a group of people, and by the fear of not being like everybody else, to express an independent idea or to act in a nonstandard way. One of stereotypes of this behavior is sexual orientation.  As at this age issues of sexuality are particularly intense (such as “teenagers’ hyper sexuality”) this problem becomes more significant.

Another source of homophobic reactions is lack of information and as a result, wrong ideas about sexual arousal of homosexuals. Sexual techniques of homosexuals are not different from the ones used by heterosexuals. Deep conservatism of heterosexuals can be explained by the fact that many people believe that any variations in sexual activity are abnormal; that as for homosexuals, as none of their ways of sexual stimulation are approved by the society, their sexual behavior is less restricted.

Another reason for prejudice towards homosexuals is the fact that they help other people to compensate for their own inadequacy or to solve internal conflicts. By doing so, the “attackers” distance themselves from their own unacceptable feelings and project them towards others, which is probably, a typical homophobic reaction.

In addition, presumptions towards other people, and to homosexuals in particular, help to maintain their ideas about world, if they are being questioned and the world it seems to be too complex or controversial.

The most important aspect in interacting with another person is to understand and accept him or her irrespective of their sexual orientation.

                                                                                             


Page 6: Iren and Vika

By Sasha Sladkyi

Today we are talking to two charming, interesting and funny girls Iren and Vika. They have been together for 4 four years and they love each other very much

When did you realize that you liked girls?

Iren: Actually, I was seduced at the age of 14 by a girl who was 9 years older. We dated for a year and then she got married. From that day my life has been going downhill…

Vika: In general, I used to not know what it was all about. It started from my hand, to be precise, from my hand being stroked and touched. By the way, the other hand belonged to Iren… That is how all it happened.

What do your parents, friends and close ones think about it?

Iren: My family and all my friends know about me. They all have positive attitude towards it but my mother had to just put up with it. The hardest thing for me was to confess to my sister, who was very confused for a long time. Finally she understood and accepted me the way I was.

Vika: My family does not know about me. My mother thinks that I date guys. But if she finds out about me, than, of course, she will be absolutely against it. She is a very commanding person with conservative views. My friends, in general, know about it, but not all of them. Those, who know have a positive attitude and very happy for me.

How did you meet each other?

Iren: Our close mutual friend introduced us. She happened to be Vika’s neighbor. We used to sit in each other’s cars at night and drink alcohol… At that time both of us felt lonely. I was suffering from unhappy love for the second year. Actually, what happened was that we felt mutual attraction, which was a banal physiology…but later it miraculously turned into true and devoted love. I could not accept Vika’s courtship for a long time and could not fall for her, because she was just 15 years old. I did not want her to have the same experience. But, in the end I could not resist and I was conquered three days later.

Vika: During our first meeting I perceived Iren just like one of my friends. But one day, when we were hanging out in the car, she took my hand and I realized that I liked her. The next evening we had a long talk about it and Iren told me her secret…At first I got scared and refused. But I thought for a long time and understood that I needed her not just as a friend… At that time I was dating a boy and she managed to steal me from him.  I think that at first it was, probably, just my interest in same sex love, but now it developed into a true big feeling.

What do you have in common and what is really different about you two?

Iren: We both love kids a lot. We like discothèques. We like being alone, but it does not happen often due to a large number of friends. I just love party life and social mingling, but Vika does not like it that much. Also I really like sex and I taught her to like it too.

Vika: She is a minus and I am a plus. According to the laws of physics, minus and plus attract each other.

How often do you have fights and who starts them? Who is the first one to compromise?

Iren: We fight often.  I compromise first.

Vika: I don’t know.  It depends whose fault it was.

How do you split domestic chores? For instance, does Iren cook food and Vika does the dishes or the other way around?

Iren: I do all male chores in the house. I am also the breadwinner. I support her financially.

Vika: I do the dishes and cook food. I am the one who does the laundry too. But we help each other when possible.

What kind of music do you like? Do you have similar tastes in music?

Iren: We have very similar tastes in music. We love rock and popular music too. We like groups like Zemfira, Zvery, NTS. Just any nice and pleasant music. We also like classical music.

Vika: I do not have favorite groups. I like everything that sounds pleasant.

It is true that you’re going to get married and have a wedding? If so, what made you think about it?

Iren: One day we broke up for one month because of my attraction to other girls. However, I realized that there was nobody closer and more important to me than Vika and that I was ready for serious relationships. In general, I have been proposing to her since we started dating, but we still have not gotten around to it.

Vika: Our short break up made me think of serious relationships. I really want to live with her, wake up next to her in the mornings. I think that Iren is a part of me.

Do you like holidays?

Iren:  Of course, we love holidays. We usually celebrate them together and with our closest friends. We celebrate every half-year anniversary of our relationship and give each other presents.

Vika: We love holidays. I do not think that there are people who do not like them. We try to celebrate them together because, and it is a great thing, that then we get to sleep over at each other’s places.

What do you do during the weekdays?

Iren: I am in the 4th year at KNU where I am studying to become a banker. I also work a lot and, of course, get tired often.  However, I still try to pay as much attention to Vika as possible. I do my best to make sure that every day and every evening we spend together are special to her.

Vika: I do not work for now, but I am going to find employment soon. I graduated from PL N98 with a degree in telecommunications as an operator.

Do you have pets?

Iren: I love pets, and dogs in particular. But I cannot live with them under the same roof. When Vika and I will be living together, there will be just us and nobody else.

Vika: I love pets so much I just adore them. I used to have a little dog, but because of my nephew’s birth we had to give it away into good hands. When Iren and I will be living together, we will either have a Persian cat or a little dog.

What is your favorite food? Do you like cooking?

Iren: I just love shish kebabs and meat in general. I do not know how to cook. Although, may be I know just a little bit but I do not do cook.

Vika: I love mushroom pizza. I can cook everything, but I cook what if I feel like cooking and also if there is nothing to eat and I have to. I love good food.

You have been together for 4 years, which is a great achievement. Could you share with our readers some secrets of such a stable relationship?

Iren: I think that one should compromise more often. It is important to appreciate the best qualities of each other, such as mutuality, because I have never had such a mutual love. Also it is the strongest desire to see the other person till the end of your life.

Vika: Patience, the main thing, girlfriends, is patience. Sometimes you have to compromise, be able to resist saying things and be able to forgive your loved one. And to do whatever it takes for the person you love.

You recommendations to Labris and our readers

Iren:  First of all I would like to express my gratitude to the founders of this organization. Your magazine has been helping lots of people to understand themselves. It helped them to understand that being a lesbian is not a shortcoming and that they should not be ashamed of it. People have to believe in themselves and stay this way in spite of anything. I would like to recommend to your readers to take more active part in the work of Labris. I believe that if we unite we can achieve a lot.

Vika: I would like to join Iren’s opinion. I think she said it all and I have nothing to add.

Thank you for dropping by our office and for your time. It was such a pleasure to talk to both of you. Good luck with everything!

                                                                                                                     

 

Page 9: Lesbians Despise Bisexuals or Why I Cannot wear Labris?

BY AngeLika

Yes, I would like to start my letter with these words. I would like to share my thoughts. The thing is that I got introduced to this topic recently and before, I did not even suspect the degree of its controversy. Almost at once I had to face some problems. I was always aware of the problem of homophobia in society, but I found out that there are some problems within the community of homosexuals…

It’s hard to imagine how negatively I was surprised when after my statement that I was a bisexual some girls’ faces lengthened. Just imagine how I felt when my girlfriend, the one I love (!), told me about her attitude towards bisexuals. “ I despise bisexuals”- these were her words. Of course, she added: “ I do not understand them”, “ how can they do that, because they want to be with the other sex, and this is really wrong” and so on.  “And, in general, bisexual girls are those who have not decided for themselves and those who break the hearts of natural lesbians”.

What could I say to that? I did not say anything. At first because it was painful to hear these words addressed to me by the person I loved. Besides, I was not ready for such an attack and just could not understand, why? How come that there is such an attitude? What did bisexuals do, to deserve such an attitude? Later my girlfriend apologized. Her words were: “ you passed my test”. However, I did not understand what the test was about. She tried to convince me that the expression of her attitude towards bisexuals was the actual test. Obviously, she chose to check whether I would able to handle the pressure. At that moment I was not able to think of it in depth, the conflict was over and we went out. The issue of such attitude towards bisexuals remained unclear, but I decided to think about it later.

A period of time passed. Now I am “used to” the fact that as it turned out to be, homosexuals don’t have a good attitude towards bisexuals. That is why I try not to “declare” my identity. I speak about it only with girls whom I am going to date. But let me ask you, why? Why, when I am among homosexuals I have to hide that I might like guys and when I am in heterosexual group I have to hide that I might like girls? I do not think I can manage it. I cannot change the fact that I am bisexual by nature.

There is a common belief that if you are bisexual then it gives you the right for two-sex relationships, meaning that bisexuals can date a guy and a girl at the same time. If that would happen with my partner I would not have liked it either. But I am sure that everything depends on the person. Any heterosexual or homosexual can have several love affairs at the same time and cheat on their partner.  It is not important with whom you cheated, it is important who you cheated on and how you would feel afterwards. If it does not matter to you than you do not love this person. But if this person is important to you, then why did you do that?

What can be done about this opinion that bisexuals are perverts and wicked ones? It is not true, just because some heterosexual girls sleep with other girls without having any feelings. Those who do that create this negative attitude that gets to be eloquently expressed against innocent people. I would like to make a comparison. Look at the headlines of my favorite magazines: “A person of a non-Russian ethnic background is a maniac and a pervert!” and what do people do? Yeah, you are right, people get together and unite as one force. They go to beat up those non-Russians. They forget though that a nation or an ethnic group cannot be responsible for actions of one sick person and people cannot be held responsible for the deeds of others. It was not their fault. This kind of dynamic can be seen in all sorts of other situations. This one is not an exception. She is NOT this way? Lets give her some hard time!

Another thing that made me truly mad was that I was prohibited to wear labris as a symbol of lesbians!!! Girls, I am sorry, but what you think being a lesbian means?   I think it means love of one woman to another. I would like to emphasize this word: LOVE.  Love, not sex. Then why can’t I wear the labris?  When I asked this question, it caused a discussion among girls. They all had different opinions. Some of them were saying that bisexuals had no right to wear labris. Other girls mentioned that they do not mind and it’s a matter of personal preferences.  Another group said that they did not identify labris as exclusively lesbian attribute.  As you can see, there is no such a thing as one unified opinion about wearing it.  As for me, labris is a reflection of one’s internal state and her self-identity. It is a demonstration of your personality to the world. And girls forget that not all lesbians would like to wear labris and that it means nothing to some of them. They just do not need it. At the same time heterosexuals can wear it just as cute trinkets. Nobody should control wearing of symbolical items.  Nobody can force anybody to do that. Sometimes not everyone knows what a particular symbol means.  Sorry, I got distracted…

To me my bisexuality is expressed in the way that I do not know with whom I might fall in love. I think this is quite a difficult situation for me. But one cannot command her heart what to do. It is impossible to control feelings. It never works. This is not my fault when it happens.  So, I am this way, but does it make you have a bad attitude towards me? You have no idea what person I am. Why do you need to label me right away? What is the point in these prejudices, stereotypes and myths?

If we fight against the negative attitudes of homophobic society, if we would like to have a tolerant position towards sexual minorities, then lets stop giving others a hard time just because we think that “you are not like us”.  It is hard for all of us: a heterosexual, gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transsexuals and transgendered persons  (we can keep going down the list), but does it worth it after all?

I am asking you to take my words as my personal opinion, an opinion of someone who does not agree with some of attitudes prevailing in LGBT society.  I hope that my words will find their place in people’s hearts and someone would sincerely share my opinion.

                                                                                                                     

           

NOTE: Please, remember these are journal articles from 2005 and mostly opinions and interviews with lesbian wommen.

Page 10:
Sveta and Dasha

 

BY Dina Ryseva

 

Coming out:

 

Sveta (32): I have been attracted to girls since high school. But it became serious when I turned 19. Prior to that I just liked them. I liked courting them and I liked their smiles. All my girls at that time were heterosexuals, and heterosexuals only. The main thing was that they liked me. I would achieve it by any means possible, mainly, by being patient and affectionate. I always say: “Lesbian- there is so such of pride in this word.”

Dasha: Three years ago I realized that. I have been attracted to girls all my life.

 

Parents:

 

Dasha: My Mom does not know, but she suspects something. I tell her that there are several girls living in one apartment and that I just want to live independently.

Sveta: Dasha’s mother is not stupid. We spent all holidays together. Just the two of us. When she sends over treats she says: “ This is for Sveta”, she does not say: “For the girls”, she says: “For Sveta”. As for my mother, she had caught me with girls in bed. Now she decided to knock at the door before she comes in. She says: “Do you have this? What about you?”

Dasha: At first my Mom did not have the best attitude toward Sveta. When we just met Sveta was a bit too serious. My Mom told me about her: “She is kind of surly.”  As for Sveta’s Mom, she used to say: “The other one you had before was better. This one interferes with other’s business”.  But now everything is great. (To Sveta: Come over here). And still Sveta’s Mom has a good attitude towards me.

Sveta: My Mom knows.

Dasha: They just do not talk about it.

Sveta: My Mom does not want to understand it, but she accepts it. As for my father, he almost never at home anyway.

 

About each other

 

Dasha about Sveta: She is stubborn and sometimes she is rude… Rarely compromises. But with that she is kind and caring. She is mine. It is all good.

Sveta about Dasha (looking at her for a long time): She is faithful and loyal. I trust her absolutely. We are both bulls. Both of us compromise rarely.

D: Why you do not get jealous about me?

S: Because I know.

D: Sveta is a very good housekeeper.  She does everything for the house. She brings everything for us.  Anything, even things she finds on streets she takes home.

S: She is too stubborn. She made me fall for her by being patient with me. She came over and she said: “There is nobody else is going to be in your life, but me”. And it happened exactly this way.

 

Life together

 

D: Mainly, I am the one who cleans the house.

S: And why? Because I have to work on two jobs. But I still do my own laundry.

D: We do not strictly assign domestic chores. Whoever has time to do them does them. I do not know how to cook.

S: When I have time I cook. But she also cooks well.

D:  Everything we have is common. We have one wallet and one bed.  It is hard to teach Sveta. She is used to living the old way. The new way should be introduced slowly and carefully. It is hard for us to socialize with friends. My circle of friends is primarily heterosexual and hers is lesbian. My friends have careful attitude towards Sveta, although they all know about our relationship.

 

Plans

 

D: To make enough money to buy a car.

S: What car are you talking about? I am buying a motorcycle. Practice first, then we leave.

D: You want a motorcycle and I want a car. I would like to practice as I have been learning how to drive.

S: We would like to leave.  We do not know where.  The only opportunity I have for now is going to Russia.

D: My relatives are waiting for us in Spain. But I am afraid. We will make enough money and we will have a baby.

S: Yes.

D: One baby for now.

S: It does not matter what sex.

D: I would like to have a son.

 

How do you see your future?

 

S: As for me, I never thought about it. The main thing is for her (Dasha) to be with me.

 

Where did you meet?

 

D: At a funeral of a mutual friend.

S (laughing): She started living together from the funeral’s reception.

D: We started living together 9 days later. Since our second date. I came over to her place to play “nards” and never left.

S: I did not mind.

D: It was difficult at first. Sveta went through a period when she wanted to date other people. Then I would sit at home and wait for her. I controlled her and she did not like it, right, Sveta?

D: Yes.

 

Do you see yourselves getting old?

 

S: Non-no, we laugh at it. When we see two old grannies in shawls I say, Dasha, when we will get old…

D: (Singing) “We used to be so young, we used to be so young, and we used to love so sincerely…”[2]

 

What would be your advice to young people?

 

S (affectionately): You’re my old granny…

D: We are still young... It is important to us to be ourselves, to aspire to achieve things. Everybody says that women depend on men. But we have to rely just on ourselves to prove the whole world that women can…

S: I support her. As for finding your other half, your love, do not look for it. It will find you. This is my point of view.

 

About love

 

D: What is love? It is feeling that lasts first 6 months. Then you learn how to control it. It is so great to love someone and it is such a beautiful feeling. But only if it is mutual.  When it is not mutual, then there are lots of problems.

S: Love is an affectionate relationship. That is all.

D: To live together for a long time one has to be patient. It is difficult to start.

S: It is one thing to date…

D: And another one is to live together 24-7.

S: This is hard.

D: When you realize that you have not seen her in a long time, it is difficult to sleep.

S: I got so used to sleeping with Dasha, that when I was in Russia I had to put pillows around my body. But later I got used to sleeping alone..

D: Sveta feels jealous about men and me. I do not know why.

S:  However, I do not care about women. But you are jealous about everyone.

 

Who is going to give birth to the baby?             

 

D: Sveta wants me to give birth to the baby. I want her to give birth first. But sometimes she wants to do it and sometimes she does not.

 

Would you like to say anything to each other?

 

S: We will do it at home (both laughing)…

 

                                                                                                                     

 

Page 15: Right to work

 

Sasha Kim, lawyer

 

I have heard stories about a lesbian getting fired or being refused a job.  Lots of people wonder whether they can judicially appeal these decisions. In this issue I will explain to you what the law says about it.

 

According to the Constitution, the state guarantees rights and freedoms to everyone irrespective of their sex, race, etc. Sexual orientation is not stipulated in the list of grounds prohibiting discrimination. However, this list is not exhaustive and its last phrase reads as “ and on other grounds.”  One of fundamental rights is the right to work, concerning which the Constitution states: “everyone has a right to remuneration for their work without any discrimination”.

 

Prohibition of discrimination is further developed in the Labor Code, according to which any refusal other than the one based on business qualities of the candidate, is considered unsubstantiated. Exceptions from this rule are directly stated in the law, such as: differentiated approach, preferences and limitations based on a particular kind of work and/or protection of interest of most vulnerable groups of the society. Those provisions are not discriminatory. As examples of these provisions are the prohibition to hire foreign citizens for the state services, requirements of special education (doctors, teachers) or prohibition to be employed on certain positions due to criminal record.  On the other hand, pregnant women, young specialists and invalids have advantages prescribed by the law.

 

If someone believes that his or her job refusal was unsubstantiated, any citizen has a right to have a judicial appeal of this decision.  Article 38 of the Constitution guarantees the right of everyone to have judicial protection of their rights and freedoms.

 

According to the Labor Code, courts will consider complaints of those who believe that their rights were violated only if they were conducting negotiations of a job agreement. These complaints will be considered by the court not as a civil claim, but as an appeal of unlawful actions of employer. However you have to prove in court that the job refusal was based on your sexual orientation. This is the main problem, as in order to dismiss you the employer might refer to the lack for necessary competencies needed for the job. If you agree with that it would be very difficult to prove your position in court. So, if you decided to take it to a court, do not sign any paperwork where you consent to your dismissal. I really doubt that they would put a record in your labor book [3] stating that you were fired for being a lesbian. 

 

I would like to mention that provisions of the Labor Code prohibit employers from asking for any documentation other than your labor book, your identity documents and appropriate diplomas. Also it is forbidden to collect any information concerning the candidate’s affiliation with political parties, social movements, organizations and also to collect information concerning his or her personal life (this definition includes sexual orientation), as it violates Article 16 of the Constitution of Kyrgyz Republic concerning the right to respect of private and family life, reputation and dignity.

 

                                                                                                                     



[1] Obviously, she refers to the character from “Gone with the wind.”

[2] A famous Russian song

[3] Employment record

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