Deterred but not destroyed – Kyrgystan

On Nov 13, 2013 Sogi News reported: Police brutality, blackmail and extortion are common and in mainstream human rights discourse LGBTIQ rights are often ignored. Meet the activist and feminist Dastan Kasmamytov, a admirable human rights promoter.

Although Kyrgyzstan claims to be a democracy, LGBTQ people bear the brunt of police brutality, this also exacerbates family and societal violence. The situation is even worse in neighbouring countries, especially in Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, where consensual sexual relationships between two men are criminalized. Courageous 22-year-old LGBTIQ rights activist and Feminist Dastan Kasmamytov (Danik) shares about the existing cosmetic democracy in the small country in Central Asia, which was a part of the Soviet Union till 1991.

May you share about your work as an LGBTIQ activist?

– I’m the co-coordinator for LGBTIQ Initiative, as well as Youth Initiative. I’m also a project coordinator and an advocacy specialist at the LGBTIQ organization Kyrgyz Indigo and a board member of another local LGBTIQ organization Labrys. I’m also a member of the Steering Committee of MSMGF (Global Forum). The major project I’m involved now is building joint LGBTIQ movement in Kyrgyzstan for advocacy, community mobilization and fighting violence and hate.

You seem to be involved in many activities what are you most proud of?

– I’m proud of myself, that I am courageous enough in the face of adversity. It’s not easy working and living in an environment with so much retribution. I also take pride in my family and work allies for their unwavering support and understanding. With all this assistance we have managed to create an oasis of safe spaces for members as well as support systems for ourselves as activists.

What can other activists learn from your organising?

– I think in all movements there are best practices. If the communities are actively involved and mobilised they become more involved. Nothing is more amazing than to see happy faces, who are celebrating diversity. So it’s best to always look round you and get the best out of people and work as a collective.  Continued

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