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Uzbekistan

Uzbek President Calls Homosexuality 'Vulgar' Western Habit

Uzbekistan's Karimov On Gays And 'Vulgar' Western Culturei
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February 08, 2016
In comments broadcast on state television, Uzbek President Islam Karimov spoke disparagingly of homosexuality, saying that "something must be wrong" with men or women in same-sex relationships. (Uzbek State TV, via RFE/RL's Uzbek Service)
Uzbekistan's Karimov On Gays And 'Vulgar' Western Culture: In comments broadcast on state television, Uzbek President Islam Karimov spoke disparagingly of homosexuality, saying that "something must be wrong" with men or women in same-sex relationships.
By Eugen Tomiuc

Uzbek President Islam Karimov has lashed out at homosexuality, calling it a "vulgar" manifestation of Western culture, in a new attack against gays in the former Soviet Union.

Uzbekistan punishes homosexual acts by prison terms of up to three years.

Karimov made the remarks during a televised meeting of people's deputies of the Tashkent region on February 5, RFE/RL's Uzbek Service reports.

"We talk about so-called Western culture. We call it vulgar culture. You know what I mean. It's inappropriate even to speak about this in front of women. When men live with men and women live with women, I think there must be something wrong up here," Karimov said, pointing to his head, before adding, "Something is broken here. There is a saying: When God wants to reveal someone's vulgarity, he first takes his reason away."

Uzbekistan is the only former Soviet state where male homosexuality is illegal, although recent efforts to ostracize lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) communities have been taken or are under way in other ex-Soviet republics.

A law signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2013 banned the spread of "propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations" among minors.

Kyrgyzstan's parliament is expected later this month to easily adopt a similar measure, dubbed "the anti-LGBT propaganda" bill, after passing it in its first two readings. 

The Kyrgyz measure would ban promoting nontraditional sexual relations among minors or equating same-sex relations with heterosexual ones.

Those violating the law could face prison terms of six months to a year.

Sirojiddin Tolibov of RFE/RL's Uzbek Service contributed to this report

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