The publication of a brochure about homosexuality in the central Asian republic of Kyrgyzstan has drawn attention to the discrimination lesbian, trans and bisexual people in the country face.
However, the head of Bishkek mosque condemned the publication.
“If there is no reaction to it, then our society has truly sunken below the level of animals,” said Myktybek ajy, according to the BBC.
Homosexuality: A Kyrgyzstan Reality has an initial print run of 1,000 copies, half of them in Russian and the other 500 in Kyrgyz.
The publication is the work of Labris, a group of more than 100 people that provides legal and emotional advice, information and support to lesbian, bisexual and trans Kyrgyzstanis.
“The brochure aims at providing objective and open information about homosexuals, and calls for an understanding attitude toward them,” Syinat Sultanalieva, information co-ordinator of Labrys, told the BBC.
“The cases when such people are subjected to discrimination and beatings are not far-between.
“In our country the plight of those outside of traditional sexual orientation does not seem to touch anyone. They are considered outcasts.”
The brochure explains what homosexuality is and how homophobia and transphobia affect people’s lives.
Kyrgyzstan is a former Soviet republic of more than five million people.
Although the majority are Muslim, the country is relatively secular and homosexuality is legal.
However, gay people face considerable social hostility and discrimination in employment, housing and goods and services.
Labris’ leader Anna Kirey said it was difficult to accurately calculate the number of gay people in Kyrgyzstan.
“They do not come out open to their communities. It is very rare that they do. We have about 300 people registered in our organisation.
“According to data of the Oasis gay resource centre in the capital Bishkek, there are about 7,000 homosexuals.
“The majority of them cannot come out open. They are afraid of those surrounding them.”