Inaccurate mental disorder diagnoses and other problems LGBTI+ faces in Azerbaijan
Problems of the LGBTI+ community in Azerbaijan
During the medical examination at the military registration and enlistment office, one of the representatives of the LGBTI + community in Azerbaijan was diagnosed with a “personality disorder” and sent to a dispensary. According to activists, with such a diagnosis, all property can be taken confiscated from a person.
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For the first time in 8 years, LGBTI+ community activists held a press conference in Baku amid Pride Month. Activists Javid Nabiyev, Ali Malikov, Rabiya Mammadova spoke about discrimination, physical and psychological violence they are subjected to, as well as other problems.
Every year in June, LGBTI+ communities around the world come together to protest against decades of social, economic, cultural, and political discrimination. During this month, they try to promote the love and pride of their personality.
“This is the month of protest, resistance, politicization”
LGBTI+ activist Javid Nabiev said that Pride Month is a good occasion to voice the problems of the community and its difficulties, and to put forward its demands:
“We are here to honor and demand justice for the over 100 queer people who were subjected to police violence in 2017, Elina who was bullied at school and committed suicide, Avaz Hafizli, a journalist and LGBTI+ activist who was brutally murdered, a trans woman and sex worker Aisu, Nurai and in their person, all victims of hate crimes.
The community has many problems. We are being bullied, discriminated against, and abused in therapy, schools, medical, police departments, and the media”.
“Both authorities and opposition ignore us”
Political parties act as if we have no voice and will not vote, says activist Rabiya Mammadova:
“Hate rhetoric has been rampant in the country for a long time. We have not witnessed any measures in relation to this phenomenon either from the state structures or from the gender equality commission. Moreover, what we see is their hateful rhetoric”.
Mammadova gave examples from the speeches of the deputies of the Milli Majlis, the Azerbaijani parliament:
“Deputy Eldar Kuliyev says that ‘these subhumans need to be re-educated or expelled from the country’.
According to Javid Osmanov, a member of the Milli Majlis and a member of the ruling New Azerbaijan Party, society is obliged to isolate LGBT representatives and feminists.
Deputy Tahir Karimli argues that “subhumans”, a “waste of society” should be persecuted and isolated”.
“Police are not taking any measures to investigate murders”
“We have repeatedly written to the police because of the blogger Sevinj Huseynova, who voices calls for violence against us. We wanted her to be punished, but no action was taken. As a result, Avaz Hafizli is not with us today. Avaz claimed that after Sevinj Huseynova’s speeches, he was threatened by family members.
Aisu was stabbed and strangled to death… Two days after Aisu was killed, two more trans women were stabbed in the neck and shoulder area. A trans woman named Nurai was burned alive. Avaz Hafizli was killed by stabbing in the throat.
The people responsible for these killings are at large today and continue their hate speech. Unfortunately, the Azerbaijani authorities are not going to take any measures against this.
There is a list approved by the Cabinet of Ministers of the country on February 19, 2019, which indicates who cannot work as a teacher. The 29th item of this list reads: “Persons with a sexual orientation disorder cannot work as an educator in the country”. We want to understand the reasons for this. Why can’t we work as teachers? Why do we fall victim to hate speech? Why are we being killed, and burned?
Everything I have listed is only a small part of what we know”, said Rabiya Mammadova.
“Recently, I spoke with one of the university teachers. He said that after the lessons he once walked with his friends. Due to the fact that his friends were effeminate (feminens), the university management issued a warning to the teacher telling him to never again be seen with people who do not correspond to pedagogical activity.
Violation of the right to property
Similar rules also apply in military commissariats, added LGBTI+ activist Ali Melikov:
“I want to emphasize that we are against forced military service and militarization.
In the military commissariats, according to the rules of the military-medical examination, queers are marked as people with a personality disorder. One of the community representatives declared his orientation there, and he was committed to a psychiatric dispensary. This state of affairs also seriously affects property rights. Because at any time, relatives of a person with a personality disorder can apply to the court and leave him without any property.
Rabiya Mammadova’s mother was also recently subjected to physical and psychological abuse. She was told that her daughter was a lesbian, and immoral. These facts show the conditions under which LGBTI+ activists have to fight for their rights”.