You’re a failed cold-war state with a predilection for repressing your native gay and lesbian population and you have a pesky editor of a gay website calling your government out for all its human right violations. So what do you do? Well, if you’re Belarus, you do what you do with all dissidents– draft them.
23-year-old Alexander Paluyan, the editor-in-chief of the largest and most popular LGBT website in Belarus, Gay.by, was previously excused from service for medical reasons, but has been ordered to report to the military department in Mozyr today to find out if his medical exemption is confirmed or if he will be called up to service.
Human rights groups are concerned and Sergey Androsenko spokesperson for the Belarusian Initiative for Sexual and Gender Equality says, â€œIt is not safe for openly gay persons to be called-up for military dutiesâ€
“with the number of conscripts down this year, the Belarusian authorities are believed to now be â€œcalling upâ€ those who have previously been medically exempt.
As a leading gay activist, Mr. Paluyan could face a very difficult eighteen months in the largely homophobic military, fellow activists say.
â€œWe are anxious for the physical and psychological health of our friend, colleague and activist.
â€œWe want to stand against disrespect, violence, and rudeness, which he can come across in the Belarusian armyâ€ said the activists in their email.
In addition to Mr. Paluyan, another gay activist has been called-up. His identity is not being revealed.
Activists in Belarus, whose membership of the Council of Europe has been suspended as the country does not meet the European human rights standards, point to the fact that there has been considerable â€œgay rightsâ€ activity in Minsk over the past year.
And Belarus often uses the â€œtrickâ€ to call-up dissidents of the Lukashenko regime for military service, the activists say.”