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Gay Guide Azerbaijan
The age of consent for heterosexuals and homosexuals is 16. In 2000, with the introduction of the new criminal code, article 121, that had made homosexuality a punishable offence, was abolished. This was a major step towards the protection of human rights. Former president Heydar Aliyev was anxious to do all he could to make the country a memeber of the European Council. Therefore, abolishing the criminalisation of homosexuals was an important step to dispel the concerns against Azerbaijan. Gays and lesbians can still lose their jobs and homophobia is omnipresent, because the majority of the population know too little about homosexuality. Marriages or registered partnerships for homosexuals are not possible, there is no political LGBT organisation. Reports of police violence against homosexuals, especially male prostitutes, are commonplace. The first news website (gay.az) in Azerbaijan and the Caucasus was launched in May 2011. In January 2014 the openly homosexual founder of the organization AZAD LGBT, Isa Shahmarli, committed suicide. He hanged himself with a rainbow flag and accused the society to be responsible for his act in his suicide note. His suicide led to increased activity in the Azerbaijanian LGBT scene. The day of his death is commorated as LGBT Pride Day and was first recognised in January 2015 with the release of several videos. Surrounded by a steppe landscape at the oil-rich Caspian Sea lies the capital Baku, whose old town is part of the Unesco cultural heritage but is surrounded more and more by modern skyscrapers.
Cities in Azerbaijan
Location: South Caucasus region of Eurasia.
International country code: 994
International access code: 810
Currency: Manat (AZN)
Religions: 85% Shia Muslims and 15% Sunni Muslims.
Climate: Summers are dry and hot while winters experience moderate temperatures and changeable, rainy weather.