Is Kazakhstan Embarking on a Russian Style Anti-Gay Crackdown?

A politician from Kazakhstan has called for blood tests so that the country can weed out its gay population, but this masks far more credible threats that the country’s LGBTs are currently facing.

The comments, reportedly made by Dauren Babamuratov, who is the leader of the nationalist “Future” movement, came as he called on lawmakers to take action against LGBT rights. The politician, reportedly standing in front of a poster with the slogan “Homosexuality is a threat to the nation,” told the press that Kazakhstan’s government must act to prevent gay people from holding office and from serving in the Kazakh army. He claimed that all this could be achieved by the government deploying “blood tests for degeneratism,” saying:

“We have stooped so low that LGBTs no longer hide their orientation. … I think it is very easy to identify a gay person by his or her DNA. A blood test can show the presence of degeneratism in a person.”

This all sounds very alarming, but I’d emphasize that while the very notion of forced blood tests to try to weed out gay people is of course disgusting, there are no indications that this proposition, made be someone who even within Kazakhstan is considered on the far-right, has significant wider support. I also should say that while there are physiological indicators that someone might be gay, including certain genetic characteristics, there is as yet no concrete DNA test for homosexuality or even heterosexuality.

What might be of concern here, though, is whether the kind of comments expressed above are typical of the evolving climate around gay rights in the region, and whether they represent a broader feeling and one that influential lawmakers might share. Unfortunately, there is some evidence that this might be the case.

Of late there has been a concerted push in Kazakhstan to enact what is essentially a Russian-style gay propaganda law. Indeed, Babamuratov himself mentioned such a law, implying it would be a vital tool in his war against homosexuality and, as ever, to protect children. Conservatives and hard-line religious groups in the former soviet country claim that such a ban, and further alterations to marriage laws, are necessary in order to stop things like same-sex marriage.

Indeed, while homosexuality remains illegal in Kazakhstan anyway, lawmakers are currently considering amendments to Kazakhstan’s “Code on Marriage and Family” that would preclude not just same-sex marriages but probably all recognition for any kind of same-sex couple, as well as strict rules against same-sex parents adopting or fostering.

This is in addition to the general climate in Kazakhstan that, in recent years, has seen a number of flash points. Gay people have been murdered as a result of attempting to marry or saying that they are married, and while attacks on LGBTs are reportedly relatively commonplace, they are usually ignored by the authorities.

There is some cause to suggest that is isn’t a purely anti-gay crackdown, though. In a similar way to the climate surrounding the Russian anti-gay propaganda laws, this may be as much about asserting a nationalist identity as it is anything else, and a good exploration of that idea can be found over at the Daily Beast. Yet it remains true that it is minority groups, including sexual and gender minorities, that tend to suffer under such nationalistic political situations.

Interestingly, this comes as members of the World Health Organization released a scathing comment on Russia’s anti-gay propaganda law, saying that the legislation, which was signed by President Vladimir Putin in 2013, is probably contributing to Russia’s run-away HIV problem. Without being able to imply direct causality, because the factors behind rising HIV rates in the country are complex, WHO’s program manager for HIV and AIDS, Martin Donoghue, told the press that the law and other laws in Russia throw up significant barriers to HIV intervention, tracking and prevention, and as such are a significant problem. This of course is quite apart from the documented rise in (often times sexual) violence against LGBTs in Russia, too.

If Kazakhstan wishes to continue its slow but still marked progress on getting HIV under control, it may want to think twice, then, before following in Russia’s bloody footsteps.

Photo credit: Thinkstock.

45 comments

Rose NoFWDSPLZ
Rose B3 years ago

outrageous

SEND
Maria L.
Maria L3 years ago

What an idiot - blood tests and sexual orientation?! This politician must be mad.
I heard statement of politician in my country, he said that sex education in school is nothing else like encouraging children to masturbate.
Who votes for these idiots?

SEND
Vicky P.
Vicky P3 years ago

A lot of countries are still very homophobic

SEND
Azaima A.
Azaima A3 years ago

sick

SEND
Sue H.
Sue H3 years ago

Disturbing that such stupidity could influence an entire country into such fear/hate.

SEND
Maria Teresa Schollhorn

Thanks for posting.

SEND
Danuta Watola
Danuta W3 years ago

Interesting article, thank you!

SEND
ERIKA SOMLAI
ERIKA S3 years ago

noted

SEND
Rosa Cruz
Rosa Cruz3 years ago

so disturbing I don't even know what to say...

another form of nazis... and what exactly will they be looking for in those blood tests, anyway?

this is just .... too sick.

SEND
Rosa Caldwell
Rosa Caldwell3 years ago

Sounds like it could be

SEND