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Other Main Cities/Resorts
Almaty, Karaganda, Chimkent, Semipalatinsk
Scene and Culture
Since independence there has been increasing tolerance towards gays and lesbians in Khazakstan particularly in Almaty and a few of the other larger cities. However it was only in 1991 that the first gay group in Kazakhstan was founded. Male homosexuality was then illegal, and the group was subject to violence and threats at the hands of the Ministry of the Interior. The group however sucessfully campaigned for the repeal of the law prohibiting male homosexuality.
The centre of gay life in Kazakhstan is the former capital of Almaty where there are currently three gay clubs and a sauna. As yet there are no gay newspapers or magazines in Kazakhstan with gay people still being quite closeted due to the continuing stigma and homophobia. For this reason visitors are warned not to show open displays of affection. Nonetheless we are sure discrete gay and lesbian visitors will find Kazakhstan a facinating and different holiday destination.
Despite the new found freedoms there are reports of occasional violence towards gays. in 1997, according to the International Kazakhstan Bureau for Human Rights, there were 8 cases of murders of gays by militia men in Kazakhstan. In 2001 police called to assist 4 gaymen being beaten up outside a gay nightclub joined in! Apparently this is quite common.
Gay Age of Consent
Lesbian Age of Consent
Same-sex relations between consenting adults is no longer a criminal offence following the new Criminal Code adopted in 1997. Under Article 122 the age of consent for gays and lesbians is 16.
Kazakhstan has a continental climate with seasonal temperature extremes. The best time of year to visit is during the summer months of May to September.
Winters are long and cold with snow cover lasting from 50 to 150 days depending on the region while summers are short hot and dry with an annual precipitation varying from less than 100 mm to 400 mm. Average temperature ranges in the north are from -18c in January to 19c in July, while in the south it ranges from -3c in January to 30c in July.