Today a person from Russian Ortodox Church called my office and said that they were planning to sue Labrys for something. This something is not very clear but it is related to Labrys press conference on 14 February where an LGBT-friendly priest Maksim from Apostolic Orthodox Church spoke about his church’s views on homosexuality (which are positive).
There is no case for putting to court because Maksim was not representing Labrys but the reaction of the church is a little strange and unexpected. The media did not focus their attention on religion during the press conference and there was hardly any information about Maksim speaking. Most of media focus turned to usual ‘exotic’ issue of transsexuals struggling to change their gender marker officially which was not the news hook at all.
The press conference was supposed to raise the LGBT issues and talk about Labrys experiences during for years of its work and the official opening of the new LGBT community center. Somehow only Labrys Programmer Department Manager Alex Mamytov who spoke about transgender issues and social worker Viktoria Lotz talking about ‘rehabilitation’ center made it to the news. I actually wrote to 24.kg news agency which hosted the press conference and asked to take the ‘rehabilitation’ part out of the text and ‘sexual minorities’ as well. Journalists somehow mix things up all the time and only write about things they find interesting or exotic, e.g. political news (= the state might allow transsexuals change their gender in passports).
If I were to write about the press conference, I would focus on positive developments in Labrys and get in-depth information about the issue, maybe ask to visit the center or talk to priest Maksim in detail, request information from Ministry of Health about their views on transgender documents change. Easy and Shocking unchecked and distorted information made it to media. You may read some of the reactions here.
Labrys blog has some more information about the events surrounding the press conference and will feature