Azerbaijan: Local news coverage of gay engagement forces couple to go into hiding
After local news outlets reported that a gay couple in Azerbaijan got engaged, they were forced to go into hiding because of the threat of homophobia.
Javid Nabiyev and his partner got engaged in a small ceremony in Sumqayit, one year after meeting, reports the Guardian.
After several local news outlets saw pictures of the ceremony, attended only by a few friends, the couple received a slew of hate-mail and death threats.
25-year-old Nabiyev, who heads up the Azerbaijani gay rights group Nafas Azerbaijan LGBT, told the Guardian: “Some people said ‘you should die, I’ll kick you in the street, I’ll kill you.'”
They said they had to leave home after people gathered outside their house, and shouted homophobic abuse. Nabiyev said he is safe, staying with friends, but that his partner, 19, had been taken to his parents’ house.
Nabiyev said his fiancé may be sent to the army, instead of university, after his father heard the news, and that his mother attempted to set him on fire with petrol last month, but did not succeed.. His identity remained anonymous for his security.
Despite attempts to lobby politicians, and to gain protection from the police, the pair remain in fear and unprotected.
Although same-sex sexual activity was made legal in Azerbaijan in 2000, there are no discrimination protections, and same-sex marriage or civil unions are currently not recognised there.