Like many 28-year-olds in Tajikistan, Parviz is married. He and his wife have three children that they adore. But Parviz has a secret he can’t even share with his closest loved ones.
“I got married at age 20 because my family put a lot of pressure on me,” he told EurasiaNet.org, sitting far from prying ears in a quiet corner of Dushanbe’s Botanical Garden. “Soon after, I went to Russia to work at a market in Yekaterinburg. It was there that I first realized that I liked men and I began to go to gay bars and parks where men met.” Tajikistan’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community (LGBT) remains one of the most closed and secretive parts of Tajik society.
“Homosexuality is contrary to nature,” said an official from the Ministry of Health, who spoke to EurasiaNet.org on condition of anonymity because she is not authorized to speak to the press.
“Although it [homosexuality] has been removed from the [government’s] list of treatable illnesses, many doctors still see it as a disease which can be treated with medicine. I have heard reports of the use of aversion therapy, psychiatric treatment and the use of testosterone-boosting drugs.”
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