In Belarus, during 26 years of sovereignty, over a hundred people have found themselves in a new body. In Russia, the church is officially allowed to perform gay marriage. In Ukraine, the Friendship of Nations Arch was redesigned into the Love of Nations Arch. LGBTQ-news, April 2017, №2
In Belarus, more than a hundred people have already changed their sex since the first gender reassignment surgery had been carried in 1992. The absolute majority of them were women, but now the situation is slowly moving to balance. Recently, more and more teenagers complain of discrepancy between their biological and psychological gender. Although, sex change operations are allowed by the Belarusian legislation since the age of 18, sexologists recommend to wait till the age of 23-25, when full psychosexual maturity occurs. Alexandra is one of those who passed through sex reassignment surgery. She shares her personal experience of transformation from a 23-year-old man into a beautiful girl.
The scandal around the persecution of homosexuals in Chechnya is gaining momentum and is revealing new details. The European Union and international organizations are outraged by the violation of human rights in the North Caucasus and require Moscow to protect the members of the LGBT community. The EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini also raised the problem during the meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, saying Russia had a duty to protect the human rights of all its citizens. However, Lavrov, following Chechen authorities and the Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, denied the facts of harassment in the southern Russian region, and accused the EU of using this information “for some internal political purposes.”
Meantime, the government of Germany has also raised concerns about the situation in the North Caucasus. The hearings on this issue were held in the German Bundestag. The Minister of State for Europe at the Federal Foreign Office Michael Roth announced about possibility of giving a helping hand to the victims of the persecution, specifying that decisions will be taken on a case-by-case basis. He also added that the general situation around LGBT community deteriorated not only in Chechnya, but throughout Russia.
Nearly 1,000 people marched in the centre of Vienna to show their support for the gay men detained in Chechnya. The demonstrates called for international pressure on Russia and Chechnya, and demanded Austrian authorities to make it easier for LGBT refugees from Chechnya to be granted asylum. The Chancellor Christian Kern sided with those affected as well:
“Today’s event is an important sign against the reported courtse of action which is inacceptable, unbelievable and against all human rights,” — he wrote in his message.
Maria Zakharova, a Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson, refused to answer Katie Couric’s questions about gays and Chechnya in the interview with Yahoo News. When asked to comment the reports of gay men detained and tortured in Chechnya, Zakharova was visibly annoyed by the subject and clueless as to how to answer or avoid the question.
“This is not my issue. I’m not a specialist in that,” — she said, and added that “Russia is holding an investigation, as normal countries [are] doing in these cases.”
“Besides changes in children’s personality, thinking, behavior, when they grow up, 30%, three out of ten, suffer from infertility, based on the latest studies,” — Mizulina said. The senator did not report who have conducted the research, but she already proposed a solution: to create a Children’s Internet — “a universal database with all personal data from birth for the rest of the life, which no one can hack, even Americans.”
In Russia, the religion that allows gay wedding was recognized officially. The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster (Pastafarianism) was registered in Nizhniy Novgorod. The religion initially founded by American Bobby Henderson in 2005 as a parody, in the past decade has grown in strength and now has followers in various countries across the world. In many countries, such as Holland, New Zealand and Australia, Pastafarianism has official status. The church allows same-sex marriage, which, however, is recognized only in New Zealand.
Friendship of Nations Arch to in honor of the 60th Anniversary of the USSR in Kiev was temporarily painted into a rainbow. The installation was created for the upcoming Eurovision Song Contest 2017 and temporarily was renamed the Arch of Diversity. The composition is designed to show that Ukraine is changing and is acquiring the spirit of free people.
The new design immediately provoked heated discussion in social networks: some people found “propaganda of homosexuality,” but most of the reviews were positive and humorous. For example, popular TV anchor Michael Schur suggested to rename the arch into Arch of Nations Love.
Rivne City Council supported the appeal to the leadership of Ukraine with a demand to protect family and stop popularization of same-sex relationship. The appeal, prepared by deputy Alexander Chubay, calls to stop the legislation process of introducing changes to the definitions of family, marriage, paternity, motherhood and childhood, and to prevent the legalization of same-sex partnership.