IE SOGI refers to the UN Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity
Same-sex relations are legal in Belarus, but LGBTIQ people face severe barriers. Based on Russia’s infamous “anti-propaganda” law which bans dissemination about LGBTIQ people or topics to minors, Belarus passed its own law prohibiting the dissemination of information that “discredits the institution of family and marriage.” This law not only provides a legal basis for prohibiting LGBTIQ events or information, but also perpetuates negative societal perceptions of LGBTIQ people as somehow threatening to family and society. Hate speech from politicians is also pervasive. The media generally depicts the LGBTIQ community negatively and sensationalizes LGBTIQ issues. LGBTIQ issues are largely taboo, resulting in very little visibility or acceptance of LGBTIQ people. Belarusians are not protected from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, which allows for violence, threats of violence, and discrimination against LGBTIQ people to occur with impunity. LGBTIQ activists are particularly vulnerable to these attacks. Families often ostracize and abuse their LGBTIQ family members. Out of fear for their safety and due to societal pressure, many LGBTIQ people remain closeted.