Image Credit: Vyacheslav Oseledko/AFP/Getty Images, via Al Jazeera America
Anti-gay sentiment in Kyrgyzstan has complex cultural and geopolitical roots in the evolution of Russian-Western relations
  • Journalists, researchers, and advocates attempt to tease out the causes of expanding anti-gay sentiment in the country as Kyrgyz legislators debate bills looking to limit international influence and gay rights.
  • Kyrgyzstan’s strategic location in Central Asia has led to an ongoing tug-of-war between the U.S. and Russia for influence in the region, with the latter’s hardline conservative stance against the LGBT community seen as influencing Kyrgyzstan’s current social landscape.
  • Gay rights’ status as a symbol of Western cultural imperialism in the region has allowed for the marriage of anti-gay and nationalist interests, with “gay propaganda” serving as a catch-all for the influence of international interests.

“People are confronting a changing world, they can’t understand it and they respond by returning to the values of their grandmothers and grandfathers. … And these events around Russia the last year and half have only increased this sensation of unpredictability, tension. And, conservatism, reliance on patriotism, this wounded sense of pride, is a very convenient basis for political games.”

Read the full story at Al Jazeera America.

(Image Credit: Vyacheslav Oseledko/AFP/Getty Images, via Al Jazeera America)