Belarus calls LGBT relationships ‘fake’ in row with UK embassy over rainbow flag
July 23, 2020
Belarus has called LGBT relationships “fake” and accused the UK embassy in Minsk of “creating problems” by flying a rainbow flag for International Day Against Homophobia.
The embassy Instagram account posted a video of the rainbow flag above the building’s entrance on May 17, explaining that the banner was meant to “direct society’s attention to the discrimination that LGBT people encounter constantly”.
But the interior ministry retorted angrily in a web statement that the majority of Belarusians “support traditional family values” and that “such statements are a challenge to these values”.
“Supporters of single-sex relationships furiously argue their position, despite the principles and traditions that have formed in society. But however you spin it, single-sex relationships are fake,” the ministry said.
“And the essence of a fake is always the same, to devalue the truth. The LGBT community and the whole struggle for its rights and this community’s day itself are all just fake!”
Сегодня отмечается Международный день борьбы с гомофобией, трансфобией и бифобией. Чтобы поддержать ЛГБТ-сообщество и обратить внимание общественности на дискриминацию, с которой постоянно сталкиваются ЛГБТ-люди, Посольство Великобритании вывесило сегодня радужный флаг. #IDAHOBIT #ukinbelarus #humanrights #belarus #Minsk #IDAHOBIT2018
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While homosexuality is not banned in Belarus as it was in the Soviet era, single-sex marriage is not legal and human rights groups have said the government promotes animosity against sexual minorities.
Alexander Lukashenko, who has led the country for nearly a quarter-century, declared in 2012 that it was “better to be a dictator than gay”.
In move that echoed the law that Vladimir Putin signed against gay propaganda, Belarus passed legislation in 2016 banning information that “discredits the institution of the family and marriage”.
Last year Amnesty International accused Belarus and other former Soviet republics of a “crackdown on LGBTI rights” as part of a Russia-led wave of discrimination.
The report cited an LGBT activist in Belarus as saying he had lost several jobs and been harassed by police due to his work.
In another Instagram video, UK ambassador Fionna Gibb said that the DOTYK gay culture festival in Belarus had recently been forced to repeatedly change venues due to “unwelcome pressure” from the authorities and eventually had to be held “in some secrecy”.
The interior ministry appeared unrepentant, however, arguing in its statement that “Belarus is based on the foundation of the traditional institutes of the family and marriage” since only a heterosexual union can produce offspring.
“For this reason, the government is protecting this union, putting it under special protection, giving it exclusive rights, including in the political and legal aspects,” it said.