Gay Guide Belarus

Despite the legalisation of homosexuality in 1994, homophobia, rumours and prejudice are rampant in Belarus. A study published by the Institute for Strategic Studies in early 2010 found that 62% of Belorussians believe that homosexuals should be prosecuted. Few have the courage to stand up publicly for their sexual orientation. While it is easier to come out in the capital Minsk , gays and lesbians in small towns and rural areas suffer particularly from discrimination by the local population. Homophobic statements by President Lukashenko in 2004, 2010 and 2011 clearly showed that this attitude can be found the highest government circles. In December 2010, Lukashenko declared at a public event that there were no sexual minorities in Belarus. On 19 February 2011, he told the media that he despised homosexuality. Between October 2004 and August 2006, three foreign diplomats were expelled because of their sexual orientation. The current legal situation offers no protection to people who are discriminated against because of their sexual orientation. The police refuse to pursue violent attacks on members of sexual minorities and do not investigate crimes motivated by homophobia. They also carry out unwarranted raids in bars and areas frequented by gays. Since the Belorussian LGBT organisations have never been recognised by the state, their work is illegal. Their members are often the target of hate crimes. The vague wording of the amendments to the Criminal Code (December 2005) gives the authorities far-reaching discretionary powers to brand the activities of gay organisations as illegal attempts to damage or discredit the Belorussian state.

Cities in Belarus

Minsk

Location: Eastern Europe
Initials: BLR
International country code: 375 (omit 0 from area code)
International access code: 8 (wait for tone) 10
Language: Belarusian, Russian
Currency: 1 Belarusian Ruble (BYR) = 100 Kopecks
Population: 9.464.000
Capital: Minsk
Religions: 60% Russian Orthodox, 8% Roman Catholic
Climate: Summer is warm but wet, while winter is grey and very cold.

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