A non-violent rally and “kiss-in” was held this afternoon to protest queer purges and increasing anti-LGBT persecution in Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, and Tajikistan.
Spearheaded by grassroots activist organization Voices4 in partnership with RUSA LGBT, a group for Russian-speaking American LGBT people and their allies, protestors braved the rain to pucker up near the Consulate General of Uzbekistan.
A Voices4 representative explains that the governments of these former Soviet republics “must be held accountable for their unjust and inhumane policies,” adding that the “kiss-in” serves as a “defiant counterpoint to the oppression faced by the global queer community.”
Human rights groups have suggested that the anti-gay purge in Chechnya has emboldened homophobes in other nearby majority-Muslim countries.
It is an accident of birth that I can stand on the street (and anywhere else) freely and safely and kiss the man I love. All over the world queer people are being targeted, beat, jailed and murdered for this simple act of affection. Today @voices4_ and @rusalgbt held a kiss-in outside of the Uzbekistan consulate in solidarity with our queer Uzbek, Azerbaijani, and Tajik siblings suffering at the hands of their oppressive government. ️✊ #kiss2resist PHOTO @xjdmoran
A gay couple in Uzbekistan was arrested and tortured by police in December for having sex in their own apartment.
Meanwhile, Tajikistan authorities have launched an official registry of gay citizens who will reportedly be required to undergo mandatory STI testing.
See more video from today’s rally below.