“On the Theme: Sex, Politics and Life of LGBT People in Central Asia,” held 22-23 March 2019, gathered activists, academics, and artists in Bishkek, Kyrgystan, for two days of intense discussions, presentations, and displays of art, publications, and even a fashion show. The Kyrgystan LGBT organisation Labrys and the Center for Critical Gender Studies of the American University of Central Asia (AUCA), Bishkek, sponsored the conference. With 32 speakers packed into two ambitiously long days the meeting demonstrated the range and quality of LGBT studies in the region – from Central Asia to Ukraine and Moldova.
The conference took its focus as “the theme” – tema in Russian, the language of the conference and the lingua franca of the region. Tema is LGBT slang in the Russian-speaking queer world for “the scene,” “queer,” “in the know about LGBT.” This blog features a full report of the papers presented, as observed by Dan Healey, Oxford Faculty of History and REES, Oxford School of Global and Area Studies.