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Concerns over Eurovision 2012 host Azerbaijan’s gay rights record

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  1. The Eurovision organisers don’t care abouit the gay fans though.

    Remember how they steadfastly refused to make any comments about Russia (which has a far worse recent history of persecuting gay people ) a couple of years ago.

    They’ll say nothing about Azerbaijan either.

    The Eurovision is only about viewing figures.

    Annoying distractions like human rights are irrelevant to them.

    1. To be fair the situation in Azerbaijan is even more stark than that in Russia. There is an active gay scene and LGBT community movement within Russia – there is very little in Azerbaijan. Yes, there are problems with equality in Russia – but its better there than Baku!

      1. Does Baku have a neo-fascist mayor who actively seeks out the gay community to insult and abuse?

        Either way my point remains. The EBU did NOTHING about Russian homophobia 3 years ago.

        Moscow Pride was timed to coincide with the Eurovision.

        However the Eurovision pretended that Pride was not happening; and pretended not to notice that all the participants at Pride were arrested.

        Bottom line is that unless there is a threat to the viewing figures then the EBU does not care about gay (or any) human rights.

        1. Im not denying there are problems (notably the mayor and police chief of Moscow) in Russia

          But there are lots of positives

          The EBU whilst not making a corporate statement on LGBT issues in Moscow did allow comment from the Norwegian winner, the Dutch semi finalists and the Swedish finalist …

          In terms of gay venues and scene (which is often a visible indicator of a LGBT community becoming more confident and visible) there are multiple venues in Russia – in Azerbaijan … nil points

  2. I think its incumbant on the EBU to seek assurances from the Azerbaijani government that LGBT rights will be respected and protected.

    This of course could be an opportunity to encourage the LGBT communities in Azerbaijan and re-educate the country about the reality of there being gay people in the world

    However cases such as the one below worry me greatly

  3. Wonder where the contest will go if teh EBU were to decide that Azerbaijan is an unsafe location ….

    1. Italy as they came second or Sweden since the winning song was their creation or traditionally BBC would take care of the contest.

      1. The BBC ‘took care’ of the Eurovision by sending Blue and you saw the results the same as the rest of us.

        1. Not entirely sure what you are getting at CMYB .. spell it out …

        2. Jock S. Trap 17 May 2011, 4:56pm

          Have to say I agree with Stu.
          Not getting your point CMYB.
          What do you mean to say?

  4. Well if they don’t like gays in Azerbaijan I think they should have entered a different male singer.

  5. Eurovision is as camp as tits and has a massive gay following.
    There are a couple of simple ways to get the point across.
    Don’t buy tickets, don’t go.

  6. Has anyone asked why this ASIAN country was even invited to partcipate in a European contest? Mind you, Israel is in Asia Minor and that detail always been overlooked, too. Lots of oil & gas in Aberwhatsit, is there?

    1. Have you even bothered to read the rules of the competition? It clearly says there countries in which area can take part. Morocco did in the 80s.

    2. Tim Hopkins 17 May 2011, 10:07am

      I think that the Caucasus region may count as being in Europe, geographically – including Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. I seem to remember that the geographical boundary between Europe and Asia is nothing like a straight north-south line.

      Israel definitely is not in Europe though (although I’m not sure it’s in Asia Minor – isn’t that basically the Asian part of Turkey?).

      1. Technically Azerbaijan and Georgia are outside Europe, but the contest works of the members of the European Broadcasting Area and those who are members of the Council of Europe, which included non European countries such as the two you mentioned and some of North Africa. Odd I know.

  7. Dan Filson 16 May 2011, 5:03pm

    I think we need a plan. First soften them up with Azerbaijan showing repeats of ‘Heartbeat’ and ‘Upstairs, Downstairs’ (including the one with the foreign diplomat with the wandering hands for the valet), then slip in a showing of ‘Downton Abbey’ (complete with Ryan Phillippe), then a bit of ‘Are you being served?’ and finally “Queer as Folk”, and they should be ready. By the time crowds assemble for Eurovision Song Contest 2012, the whole of urban Azerbaijan should be in yellow speedoes dancing in the streets to YMCA and Frankie Goes to Hollywood. Of course in the areas beyond the reach of television, the sheep will continue to fear sunset when the shepherds approach….

  8. I’m still reeling from the fact that they won the contest in the first place. Their winning entry was so bland I’m astonished anyone noticed it, let alone voted for it above the 24 other entries.

    1. It was so f–king bad. Mind you Italy came second which was an even bigger surprise. How those fine lads from Denmark didn’t win is beyond me, average song, amazing looking lads- I thought it was primarily gay guys and teenage girls who voted in this competition. Obviously not.

      1. Denmark, Sweden, Romania and Hungary were much better

      2. Jock S. Trap 17 May 2011, 5:00pm

        Think is is it ‘gay guys and teenage girls’ Europe wide or just the UK?
        Never been a fan of Eurovision down to the fact the music is a little on the crappo for my liking.
        Having said that Eurovision parties can be a lot of fun.

    2. Yes rights about that, I’d voted it joint bottom with Italy! Beginning to wonder in Eurovisioon is really mainly watched by gays if they vote for this rubbish …I think it’s turning straight!

      1. Jock S. Trap 17 May 2011, 4:58pm

        oh so going downhill now then?

  9. Winner Azerbaijan..I love YOU AZERBAIJAN 16 May 2011, 5:29pm

    Azerbaijan forever number one..dont be jealous..Azerbaijan will make everything very well..oh other thing..Azerbaijan isn’t far..near Europa..namely ur knoüledge is not enough..The Eurovision will organize in Baku namely capital of Azerbaijan namely BEst City in the World…who want to see Baku visit this pages and see.. i can say that just you are jealous..Our song better that others..than our country’s// Azerbaijan forever and always number one and will be number one always..

    1. Dan Filson 16 May 2011, 5:36pm

      I’m glad, “Winner Azerbaijan..I love YOU AZERB”, that you are proud of your country, but are you absolutely sure it is a country to be wholly, uncritically proud of? Does it respect gay men and lesbians?

      1. Hi. I am from Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan is a
        tolerant contry. Azerbaijan is not as “bad” as you are imagining. We are the first democratic republic in the east. Azerbaijan is the first republic that protected woman rights in the east. You can read about everything i told in wikipedia. We lived together with jewds for thousand years in peace and still living. We live in peace with different nations : Avars, Tatars, Russians. we dont kill jewds as Germany did. We dont kill negrs as Americans did. we live in peace with Christians. Jewds and Muslims. Gays. Lesbians and everybody YOU ARE WELCOME IN AZERBAIJAN ALWAYS!!! Better to see once , than to hear 100 times.

        1. Strangely, I’m not convinced, when you use compassionate comparisons about killing jews and black people…. wonder why?

          1. Name one openly gay person in Azerbaijan, so.

          2. Jock S. Trap 17 May 2011, 5:02pm

            “Strangely, I’m not convinced, when you use compassionate comparisons about killing jews and black people…. wonder why?”
            Or Wilipedia!

        2. Name one openly gay Azerbaijani? That dude who sang the winning song perhaps? If he wsn’t out before he is since Saturday night’s show.

          1. Sister Maray Clarence 18 May 2011, 1:13am

            I’ve got a mate that comes from Azerbaijan. His name is Abylai. He comes over to London quite a bit, sometimes with other gay friends.

            He’s always telling me I should go and live over there because life is much better there than here.

            He seems to be very happy with his quality life there, and we sometimes talk about gay life there against gay life here.

            As he explains it to me, legislation is there to protect gay equality under the country’s constitution, but public opinion is still catching up with it. Views, beliefs and values do not change over night (unlike their constitution) and he seems very relaxed the rate of change and progress that is being made.

            I think we all need to appreciate that views don’t change at the flick of a switch. Constitutional protection is there for gay people already and over time, with in creased familiarity and positive examples, society there will come more open, tolerant and equal.

    2. I agree with Dan, the issue of you being proud of your country is one thing, and quite right too, but if its as homophobic as I have read, then “jealous” isn’t really high on our feelings for it, at least not with gay people.

  10. Spanner1960 16 May 2011, 7:01pm

    Well, if the EU is anything to go by, we will half the Western Hemisphere in it within 20 years.

  11. martyn notman 16 May 2011, 7:51pm

    did anyone else notice the fact that the entire audience in germany seemed to consist of bears!? never seen so much facial hair in my life…although i suspect the women of Azerbaijan will give them a run for their money next year

    1. Andrew Wells 16 May 2011, 9:49pm

      Did you not watch Azerbaijan’s entry? The women were absolute babes. I have no idea what you’re talking about.

    2. Aidan Meyler 17 May 2011, 11:51pm

      pmsl…. :-)

  12. Ha! @Dan Filson – interesting suggestions. :) . Also, just for accuracy it’s worth pointing out that Azerbaijan is a secular country, not Muslim. Plus, just looking at this and lots of speculation that first people ever to represent them in the contest (2008) – Elnur Huseynov & Samir Javadzade (think that’s the right spelling) were themselves gay. See: Does anyone know if this is true? Seen lots of stuff on blogs ’bout it. I would think that bringing Eurovision to Azerbaijan would b a pretty damn good thing. Politicians always talk about exporting democracy – well why on earth shouldn’t we use 2012 to showcase the gay community and help export values too. I say bring it on. :))

    1. I do wonder if it could export pro-gay values … however, safety should be consdiered

  13. since when stance on gay rights is an indicator of what can or cannot be staged or hosted

    1. Run along bigot, we’ve already seen your uber-smart views on gays before. Go find a god screaming site to play in.

    2. Jock S. Trap 17 May 2011, 5:03pm

      Yes, run along kane, grown ups talking.

  14. I’m still shocked they won, boring , insipid song and the woman sounded like a drunk at closing time. Instantly forgettable song , for the best really.

    1. Thankyou, I was starting to think it was just me! Don’t get me wrong, there were other boring insipid songs in the mix, but that one was instantly forgettable.

      1. Not to mention the two of them had the sexual chemistry of a gone off yoghurt.

        1. Well she’s a mother of two and he’s gay so they’re kinda a dimestore version of Demi Moore and Aston Kutcher. The song didn’t really require sexual chemistry to make it work, downing a bottle of whisky and a belly full of MDMA- now that woulda made the song work. Anyone else think the danish guys would make great porn together?

          1. The Danish entry? Are they the ones who were jumping through sugarglass panels and wearing PVC and leather trousers? If so… yes.
            Though in terms of sheer WTF factor, I wanted Moldova to win. Anyone who can field an entry dressed as gnomes whilst their backing singer dresses as a fairy on a unicycle blowing a trumpet gets my vote!

          2. The danes were the four blond studs in black leather and jedward style hairdos. Sweden had the guy jumping thru’ the glass box and yeah I’d do him after I’d worked my way thru’ Denmark. Jedward could watch.

    2. @CYMB … with ya on that mate… de-fookin-lish! mmm ;-P

  15. Azerbaijan borders on Iran. EUROvision??? Whatever.

    1. As I mentioned above Tom, Technically Azerbaijan and Georgia are outside Europe, but the contest works of the members of the European Broadcasting Area and those who are members of the Council of Europe, which included non European countries such as Azerbaijan and Georgia, and some of North Africa. Next year we’ll have Japan and New Zealand entries :)

  16. Isn’t the eurovision as corrupt as FIFA these days?

    1. Well certainly the voting seems far shadier now than when it just relied on the public picking up the phone and making the choice. I’d like to know who the panel of music industry experts are that allocate a % of the votes for each song. Cause all the industry experts seemed to think Azerbaijan was the best song when clearly the response of the public has been how did that song get in the final let alone win. It was interesting to see Ireland give Latvia a decent score- I’m assuming that’s based primarily on the amount of Latvian migrant workers now living and working in the republic and proof that they’re picking up the phone to vote for their homeland. Anyone else wonder whether Jedward could point out Dusseldorf on a map?

      1. I assure you, with Ireland’s economic situation, there aren’t that many Latvians left.

        1. Probably. So the handful of Latvians left in Ireland and making telephone votes outnumbered the other three people in the country who can afford to use their telephones for non-emergency occasions.

      2. I doubt if many a level students could even point out germany on the map. When i was at school in sarf london at a prestiged acadamy ,early noughties ,most could not even point out scotland/london on a uk map.

        1. And yet ironically every supporter of the English football squad seems well up on German history any time England play Germany at some tournament or other. I’m quite surprised the guys from Blue didn’t sing the Dambusters theme tune at any stage during their week in Dusseldorf, they must have had good manners drilled in to them for a month beforehand.

  17. At the end of the day it is an event. It is there to make money, music and get on TV. It is NOT a political body or an LGBT movement. Arguably even though many of it’s supporters and viewers are gay doesn’t give it the right to advocate gay rights to a nation-state. That is not its place. You wouldn’t expect the cast of ‘Wicked’ or a flim crew for a blockbusting movie to speak out for gay rights because a couple of the performers happen to be gay or because it’s watched by gay men and women.

    Sure, it can place pressure on the various facets of the country to create a more pleasant atmosphere but what use would it be if it refused to hold the next Eurovision in Baku. On that argument it probably wouldn’t be able to hold the event in most European countries due to human rights issues.

    If you have an issue with it don’t watch. Don’t buy tickets. Boycott the event.

    1. Clark Downes 17 May 2011, 1:56pm

      Actually event or no event as a country we fund a significant amount of it through the BBC. And as the BBC is funded by all types of people paying their taxes and with eurovision being a significantly gay event/show then it is rather political.

      Its also political as the EU as a whole is meant to enforce the same standards in all its countries. Your meant to have the same standards to even become part of the EU. If you arnt matching existing members then why were you allowed to become part of the EU in the first place?

      And as for the country in question and their values, well heres a quote from the Guardian..
      “Sometimes, politics trump economic reality. Armenia and Azerbaijan are still determined to beat each other to the victory (last year Azerbaijan was fined for trying to manipulate the system so that no one there could vote for Armenia. When 43 people beat the system they were briefly detained by the police). Determined to shake off this embarrassing incident”

      1. Clark Downes 17 May 2011, 2:00pm

        The Wright Stuff show once said it cost the UK £40 mill but this source predicts £30 mill, either way while LGBT people pay towards their licence fee and look forward to this event it should not be done in a homophobic country. OR be funded by us as a country with different morals.

        But hey its eurovision I cant even stand the thing.

        1. I understand your point but I have to disagree. The EU may try and enforce standards in all countries (particularly the ones who aspire to join) but then it doesn’t work. LGBT rights in the existing EU countries differs wildly. Just because something ‘should be’ doesn’t mean it actually is or ever will be.
          Also, as I tried to express before most countries in Europe has an appaling human rights record (Britain included) and your argument can easily be flipped on its head to argue that the UK shouldn’t host the show either.

  18. George Broadhead 17 May 2011, 2:13pm

    “LGBT Azerbaijan citizens suffer police harassment and brutality, blackmail, intimidation, bribery and invasions of privacy and have no legal protection against discrimination.”

    What do you expect in a country whose population is 99% Muslim.

  19. Since when was Azerbaijan part of Europe?

  20. Can I just ask all of you: Who really wants to go to Azerbaijan? There is nothing.
    No hotels, no venue and i won’t even start about the fact that they are two hours ahead of central Europe and three hours ahead of the UK, which means, if you’re there it starts at eleven and ends at ??… No we will skip one year. Düsseldorf was absolutely fantastic, I think that we can live on that experience for two years!!! Baku??? No Way!

    1. You are imagining Baku like an old soviet city. I would like to give you a little information about Baku.Baku is the largest city in the caucaus. More than 2 million people live in Baku. there will be built 5 5star hotels in 2011 in Baku. Just look for these hotels in google: flame towers, hilton baku hotel,hotel marriot baku, full moon hotel. And yesterday was announced that for eurovision there will be built a new concert complex with capacity 20000 people. Azerbaijan is not a poor country. Our oil company (SOCAR)is the 68th largest company in the world. Our valute reserves more than 30bln dollars.

      1. oil raises it’s ugly head again…I doubt very much then if Azerbaijan will be criticisedvery much, too much to lose..

      2. i didn’t say they were poor, I just asked who would want to go there.. And the words “will be build” makes it even more amusing. That means not there yet!

        1. when I say will be built I mean 2011. Everybody who loves eurovision will visit Baku. I dont see difference between Dusseldorf and Baku, or Oslo and Baku, Moscow and Baku.

          1. “I dont see difference between Dusseldorf and Baku”

            Are you serious? One is in a country where gay people have legal protection, with gay bars, gay politicians, gay people in the media, and are generally accepted by society…. the other, well, isn’t. Can you guess which is which?

          2. do you think that we make gay people leave Azerbaijan? Or we insert them into prison?
            And what do you mean under the word “rights of gay people”?

          3. “Rights of gay people”? What do you think it means. You have show no proof that Azerbaijan is anyway tolerant to gay people, or they gay people can live equally and free without harassment. Show me one gay Azerbaijan politician, gay organisation, or openly gay individual. Show me your civil partnership/marriage laws. Show me your employment protection laws.

            I quote:

            “Although homosexual acts between consenting male adults were officially decriminalized in Azerbaijan, reports about police abuses against gays, persisted during the last year. While complaining of the violence against them, the victims preferred to remain anonymous fearing retaliation on the part of police.” [2001 Report of the International Helsinki Federation]

            “State-controlled media outlets use homosexuality as a tool to harass and discredit critics of the government and opposition journalist” [United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. “Amnesty International Report 2009 – Azerbaijan”]

            Put up or shut up.

          4. you say that if there is no a gay person in a country, then this country is not a tolerant country, and this country doesnt protect gay people rights. Isnt it amusing? Azerbaijan’s population is more than 9 million and may be some people dont like gay people, but that doesnt mean that the whole country hates gay people. I am sure that in Europe you can find people against homosexualism, but that doesnt mean that the whole Europe is against gay people. If a gay person or a lesbian wants to visit Azerbaijan he/she will be able to do it. He will be able to work, have a walk, sleep as everobody. And all bad publications in mass media about Azerbaijan have a political goal. But there are lot of good publications, if you want you can find them. And there are a lot of gay people in Azerbaijan. or do you think that we have already made them leave the country?

          5. “Isnt it amusing?”

            No, I gave you facts. No its time you put yours up, or don’t you have any?

          6. this is the fact: Europeans during the centuries killed jewds from the иeginning of era to the world war 2. Europeans captured America, India, Africa and killed the local people. Europeans have always been against Judaism. And now this Europe teaches everobody tolerance. And only after 50 years from the world war 2 they changed from bad to “good”. And even know when Germany wanted to begin building of the largest mosque in Europe, Europeans were against it. Ant those Europeans teach Azerbaijan how to be with gay people, lesbians. This is the fact and this is amusing!!

          7. This is not a comparative history lesson. What happened in Europe 50 years or 500 years ago is not relevant here, or anywhere else for that matter. All you’ve stated here is that Europe has learned from its past mistakes, yours hasn’t.

            I’m assuming as you can’t provide any actual fact here as to Azerbaijan’s LGBT record, it’s not that “gay friendly”. And I find nothing amusing about that.

          8. what mistake are you talking about? Azerbaijan’s past is clear. That means that we are in a right way. Jewds, muslims, christians live together in Azerbaijan. But in Europe europeans dont let their governments to build a mosque or in France where muslim women arent allowed to use head-dress. And what has Europe learnt from its mistakes? Yes you are right that is not amusing, thats sad. But in Azerbaijan government itself build mosques, churches, synagogues. Just look at Libya. Europe leaders are killing peaceful people under cover-up “democracy”. Because of Libyas oil . And what lesson are you talking about? Here europeans talking about “gay rights” and “democracy” but on the other side they are killing people. Do you see an enormous difference between those two? Killing people and democracy. Every fool understands that Europe uses democracy as a cover-up. People come to Baku in 2012. I dont say that you will see a 100% democracy but that will not be worse than in Europe

          9. Look, to be honest, I don’t care. This conversation is going no where, as you can’t produce any evidence that has been requested of you. You keep you pride in Azerbaijan, and I’ll keep to the glaringly obvious facts your country is a hell hole for gay people. The lack of any facts you provide only verify mine assumption (and facts) were right, so keep denying your county’s appalling LGBT rights record, but gay people won’t be going to help you celebrate it.

            Good day to you.

  21. It doesn’t help when PN lists the LGBT problems in Azerbaijan as:

    “They cannot marry and have no legal protection against discrimination.”

    Doesn’t this apply to many of the countries in Eurovision, particularly the Eastern ones. I know marriage is on the up but you don’t even have CPs or any other form of partner recognition in many of the countries…

    I agree it’s a good opportunity to bring LGBT problems to the public’s attention but it’s difficult to see why Azerbaijan is worse than Turkey or Russia or Ukraine…countries that have all won, hosted Eurovisin and yet have no gay marriage nor anti-gay discrimination laws!!…I think PN needs to come up with better example of’s just another mulsim country to me, no hope whatsoever of changing!

  22. Azerbaijan is the most homophobic country in the ex Soviet Union. I’m gay and i live in Azerbaijan .There is no LGBT right is Azerbaijan . Society and State follow and arrest gay people. Gays and lesbians can’t defend their rights in Azerbaijan. I think that Azerbaijan doesn’t deserve to host Eurovision . AT first they have to decide problems and rights of LGBT people.

  23. What can you think about azerbaijan if here is no even ONE GAY CLUB??? But it’s good that Azerbaijan is better than Iranfor LGBT rights

  24. Gay Daily Mail Reader 18 May 2011, 8:44am

    Azerbaijan is a Muslim country albiet culturally rather than religiously and should be praised for decrimilalising homosexuality in 2001 (two years before it’s Christian neighbour, Armenia!!!). However it will take a long time to change the attitudes of the average man-on-the-street in Baku. Just look at the attitudes the British had towards homosexuality in 1977 just ten years after we decriminalised it with police harrassment, bars being shut down, etc and that was before AIDS and Section 28. Maybe in 2041 Azerbaijan will be recommended as a gay-friendly destination.

  25. I think the ESC comity should only allow countries to participate if they comply with EU gay rights, including legal protection against gay discrimination. This might give some backward countries an incentive to pass certain laws quicker.

  26. @Clark Downes & George Broadhead – I totally understand the poor understanding around Azerbaijan, its a part of the world that’s rarely discussed in the UK’s media, and I suspect that most people hold stereotypical prejudices about the region, following the break up of the Soviet Union. I appreciate that that shifts in attitudes won’t happen overnight but I think it’s amazing how far a nation, that had precious little in the way of political infrastructure, has come in two decades. When you think about it, that’s nothing in political terms. About two decades ago in the UK, John Major was starting his premiership. In that time Azerbaijan has has to create the entire apparatus of a nation state. Have they finished their journey to becoming a nation state? No, of course not, but as one road into Baku says, ‘Democracy is our path’. I think a bit more consideration of history and appreciation for the direction of travel is needed in all this, instead of analysis in a UK-centric vacuum.

  27. Hi! Well i would like to tell u my story,i am 18 years old,i left Azerbaijan and came to EU to study. Even though i dont study the thing that i like i have chosen that because of i wanted leave this country. I was born in Baku in 1993. I’m gay,and they hurt me because of it,bullying, beating etc. Well now i live in Lithuania. It is better 100 times,but lithuania is not so gay friendly either. U can compare how awful is Azerbaijan. However Baku is the best place for me,cause it is really beautiful…

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