Iskander Xanov: There is a High Level of Transphobia in Kazakhstan

ECOM continues with its series of interviews with community activists from EECA countries. This time we discussed the situation of trans*people in Kazakhstan with Iskander Xanov, a representative of the organization AlmaTQ.

What are AlmaTQ’s activities?

We are an initiative that deals with advocacy support for trans*people in Kazakhstan. Our organization is made up of trans*people, whose rights are constantly violated and who have decided to unite in order to contribute to improving the lives of trans*people in Kazakhstan.

Transgender people in Kazakhstan – who are they?

We carried out a study of trans*people in Kazakhstan. We tried to get know their needs, problems, and the discrimination they are facing. 41 participants from 11 towns took part. The results show a high level of discrimination and violence towards trans*people. Many of these cases could be avoided if trans*people had proper identification documents corresponding to their gender. This problem also affects trans*people when they seek employment or enroll in educational institutions.

How are gender reassignment issues being regulated in Kazakhstan nowadays?

On March 31, 2015 (the International Day of Transgender Visibility) the Ministry of Health published a decree on this issue. Due to these recent developments, transgender people have essentially lost the possibility of undergoing gender reassignment procedures. Now, only people in perfect health, with significant financial resources, and who are willing to undergo sterilization and genital reconstruction surgery are able to undergo these procedures.

For the full interview, please see the Russian version.

This interview was conducted by ECOM within the “Regional Platform – EECA”.