What many consider the first gay-pride march ever held in Central Asia has unleashed a storm of controversy in Kyrgyzstan, with threats of violence against participants, counterprotests, and fiery parliamentary debate over whether to rein in civil society.
The peaceful march by some 400 people in central Bishkek on Women's Day on March 8 promoting women's rights and "equality for all" was fiercely criticized by socially conservative lawmakers in the predominantly Muslim country.
"The men who do not want to have children and the girls who do not want to pour tea...must not only be cursed, they must be beaten," Kyrgyz parliament deputy Jyldyz Musabekova wrote on Facebook of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) supporters who took part in the march in the Kyrgyz capital, with several of them carrying rainbow flags.
"We have to beat the craziness out of them," she added. "Are there any decent guys out there [willing to do that]?"
She warned later during a March 13 debate in parliament that "if we sit silently...Kyrgyzstan will become a 'Gayistan.'" Read more via RFE