LGBT In Turkmenistan: Go To Jail Or Live A Lie

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10/22/2019

To his friends and colleagues in Turkmenistan, Kamil is a successful cardiologist working at a prestigious clinic and an eligible bachelor from a well-connected family. Only a few people in his close family circle are aware of Kamil’s real struggle: He is secretly gay. In Turkmenistan, where homosexuality is a crime and shunned by the Central Asian country’s conservative society, being gay means having to choose between living a lie or facing up to two years in prison and a lifetime of disgrace. RFE/RL changed Kamil’s name to protect him from possible retribution. The 24-year-old native of the Turkmen capital, Ashgabat, spoke to RFE/RL about his ordeal, which includes being beaten up by police and coming under pressure by his parents to marry a woman in order to conceal his sexual identity.

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