Welcome to the UN World Tourism Capital, where being gay is a crime and medical torture is the “evidence”. 

The UN World Tourism Organization has chosen Samarkand, Uzbekistan as 2023 World Tourism Capital. Consensual sex between men is a crime in Uzbekistan, punishable by up to 3 years in prison. Furthermore, human rights organizations have documented cases of people suspected of homosexuality who were subjected to forced anal exams as means of “proving” that they’ve had anal sex. These so-called “tests” have no medical base, and are recognised as torture by the WHO. 

How can the UNWTO endorse travel to Uzbekistan knowing this barbaric practice is performed there?

The buzzword for this year’s ITB Berlin, the world’s largest travel and tourism fair, is change

Where others have been receiving white glove service, the highest level of comfort the travel  industry has to offer, LGBTQ have been relegated to a different experience altogether. This “lavender glove service” of criminalization and torture must stop. 

Join us on March 7th and beyond. Wear a lavender glove to tell the UNWTO, and everyone else in the travel industry, this #LavenderGloveService is unacceptable. Until Uzbekistan agrees to #FreeUzbekLGBTQ it cannot play host to the World Tourism Capital. 

What you can do regardless of where you are:

What you can do if you’re in Berlin during the ITB:

  • Look out for people in lavender outfits at the ITB to get your own glove
  • Go to the Uzbekistan Ministry of Culture and Tourism ITB stand (Hall 7.2b, stand 108) and inquire about travel conditions for/as a gay person
  • Take a photo of yourself wearing the glove near the Uzbekistan Ministry of Culture and Tourism ITB stand
  • Drop the lavender glove at the Uzbekistan Ministry of Culture and Tourism ITB stand at the end of the day
  • Visit the #LavenderGloveService info stand at the famous queer club Schwuz during the It’s Britney, B*tch party (March 7, starting at 23:00) or the FLINTA* Drag Open Stage Night (March 8, from 19:00 till 23:00) for more accessible action options.


Links to the publications: 

  1. ECOM Conducts Analysis of National Legislation of Uzbekistan Related to LGBT Rights and HIV: https://ecom.ngo/news-ecom/ecom-conducts-analysis-of-national-legislation-of-uzbekistan-related-to-lgbt-rights-and-hiv
  2. Open for Business: The Economic Case for LGBT+ Inclusion in Uzbekistan: https://open-for-business.org/the-economic-case-for-lgbt-inclusion-in-uzbekistan 
  3. IPHR: There is no excuse — criminalization of consensual sex between men in Uzbekistan is a human rights violation: https://www.iphronline.org/uzb-gbt-2022.html 
  4. AllOut petition: UZBEKISTAN’S HOMOPHOBIA: #NOTBUYINGIT: https://action.allout.org/en/m/73ee93fc/ 
  5. HRW: Uzbekistan: Forced Anal Testing in Homosexuality Prosecutions: https://www.hrw.org/news/2021/08/05/uzbekistan-forced-anal-testing-homosexuality-prosecutions 
  6. Freedom House: Freedom in the world report 2022/Uzbekistan: https://freedomhouse.org/country/uzbekistan/freedom-world/2022 


In media:

Open Democracy: ‘A small ray of hope’: an urgent chance to decriminalise homosexuality in Uzbekistan: https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/odr/a-small-ray-of-hope-an-urgent-chance-to-decriminalise-homosexuality-in-uzbekistan/?fbclid=IwAR1bmIDmPtZnkDdvHZGtDR7OjBLb-JmZtabDoE5gXJndj1sAfn1Km4LfE7k 


Multimedia content:

Video: A letter from an Uzbek mother

Video: Gay and Bisexual Men Face Abuse, Prison in Uzbekistan

Video: Journalist Ali Feruz: ‘I’d Rather Die’ Than Return To Uzbekistan

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