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Lesbian, Bisexual and Female to Male Transgender Initiative Group Labrys (Labrys)

Bishkek Kyrgyzstan
December 2011

Grant Description

In December 2011, UAF received a request from Labrys in response to a recent burglary attempt at their safe house and threats to their members’ safety. Labrys is an organization that supports the LGBT community in Kyrgyzstan by providing a safe shelter for community members and activists and also advocating for LGBT rights with the government and the media. Discrimination and hate crimes against LGBT persons are regular occurrences in Kyrgyzstan and much of Central Asia, and Labrys not only serves as a meeting place and safe space for the local community, but also hosts international and regional events where LGBT activists meet and organize regional strategies. Given the dire situation in other Central Asian countries, Kyrgyzstan is one of the safer places, so maintaining their shelter is important to the sustainability of the Central Asian LGBT movement as a whole.

Labrys had already invested in some security measures such as bars on the windows, reinforced doors, and fencing, but on December 16th there was an attempted break-in. Their staff have also received threats of violence by anonymous SMS messages. Labrys feels they cannot always report such incidences to the police, since some police are homophobic and disclosing the sexual orientation of some of their members to the police may put the members at more risk. At this time, Labrys proposes to install additional security for the safe house, which will include a round-the-clock video surveillance system and other security technology to ensure a rapid response in case of threats or violence.

Impact Report

Funds were used to purchase video surveillance equipment and to install a security system with a panic button that connects to an on-call security agency. In case of an intruder or attacker, the alarm will alert the agency as well as the cell phones of Labrys staff, and will deploy an emergency team to the office. This system also includes a video intercom, which allows staff to see who is at the door of the office before opening it, which Labrys feels is much safer. Since installing the system, there has not been a single attempt to threaten or attack the staff or the office. Labrys also is proud to note that because it can now maintain a safe and stable place for women and the LGBT community to meet, debate, and dialogue, it was identified as a Central Asian resource organization for a five year project by the Schorer Foundation.