Interview with Azerbaijani gay activist

Published: November 15, 2011

Interview with Ruslan Balukhin, co-founder gay.az, a website for LGBT people in Azerbaijan:

Q: What is the purpose of your website?

A: This informative-entertainment resource is for LGBT community of the capital, Baku.

After news about the site appeared on the local news outlets, I started to receive SMS messages from supporters but also from people with negative views about this site. I often receive e-mails and calls with threats. Channel One and Euronews also sent me message and asked to give interviews.

Then I received similar message from Euronews where BBC and CNN were mentioned. I think, this interest is associated with the victory on Eurovision 2011 and with the calls from LGBT communities worldwide to boycott the show in Baku in 2012.

As far as I can remember, an organization, official representatives of LGBT community in Azerbaijan, exists from 2006 – 2007 [this was ‘Azeri Gay Community’]. During its existence it has done nothing to solve problems of sexual minorities. What to talk about, if even the site lgbt.az, which is the site of the organization, doesn’t work anymore.

Q: What methods do you use in the struggle for your rights?

A: We do not yet have any defined methods. Today, our main goal is to offer psychological help to sexual minorities, and we also try to establish communication. Our site is not associated with politics and therefore we do not put any aims in the struggle for our rights on the government level.

Q: Although homosexuality is legal in Azerbaijan, I understand that it is not tolerated?

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