Beyond the Blue Sky: LGBT Art Exhibit from Mongolia

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January though April

The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Community Center

208 West 13th Street (between 7th and 8th Aves)

New York, New York 10011

Entrance is FREE and open to the public, so feel free to bring anyone and everyone! Contact Brandt Miller with any questions at brandt@beyondthebluesky.com.

Mongolia’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community have long been misunderstood and rejected in Mongolian society. Ignorance, misunderstanding and intolerance have led to widespread prejudice, discrimination and violence.  Fear of persecution on simply the basis of one’s sexual orientation and/or gender identity has forced many members of the LGBT community to hide their true selves, thereby becoming an invisible presence in a hostile world.  However underground the community may be, it is nonetheless a vibrant one, full of hope, passion, dreams, and a burning desire to one day gain acceptance and recognition.  They are your friends, your colleagues, your brothers and sisters, sons and daughters.  They share the same goals, the same loves, the same triumphs, the same heartaches.

This exhibition gives visibility to this largely hidden group within our society, to allow them to articulate their life struggles through the medium of art. It is the first time in this country’s history that such an exhibition has been held, and it would not have been possible without the collaboration of the local LGBT community, contributions from national and international artists, and support from countless individuals committed to social change.

The artworks exhibited are designed to challenge traditional notions of gender and sexuality and to confront the harsh realities of life facing the LGBT community.  In order to ensure the safety of the photographic subjects, and to also represent the hidden nature of LGBT people’s lives and their invisibility in society, their faces have been covered with blue scarves known as khadags.  The use of the khadag, which traditionally covers the faces of those who have died, also symbolically mirrors the present reality in which many LGBT people feel they are not fully living.

In a stark list of the impact felt by the LGBTQI persons living in Mongolia, the gallery website lists the following incidents of violence:

An openly lesbian young woman, who was also homeless, was found dead in the Tuul River. She had stab wounds and signs of strangulation.

A 19-year-old gay male had his leg broken by his brother when a newspaper article revealed his sexual orientation. He did not report the incident to the police because he knew he would be further victimized by police.

A 24-year-old gay male was almost beaten to death with a wooden club because his uncle heard rumors that he was living abroad with a man. He did not report the assault to police out of fear that his uncle would kill him.

A 22-year-old lesbian committed suicide because of her inability to reconcile her sexual orientation with her upbringing.

A 26-year-old lesbian was abducted by two men after the funeral of her girlfriend who had committed suicide. Her right hand was stabbed with a broken bottle and she was violently raped.

After a gay gathering in April 2009, a gay male was taken into a taxi filled with four other men. They drove him to the countryside and gang-raped him. He then walked back to the city alone and injured.

A 31-year-old gay male is constantly harassed by his colleagues because of his sexual orientation. He was told that he would never be promoted.

A 19-year-old lesbian came out to her family and has since been repeatedly abused by them.

A well-known singer from the ‘60s and ‘70s who was rumored to be gay was found beheaded in his apartment.

A gay male was not served at a bar while out with a group of straight friends. When he asked the waiters why they would not serve him, they verbally abused him, “Because you are a homo.”

In three separate incidences, three lesbians lost their jobs when employers learned of their sexuality.

A lesbian couple was kicked out of their apartment when their landlord found them sleeping in a bed together.

A gay man over the course of two years was repeatedly beaten by the family members of his boyfriend. He had two teeth knocked out and suffered a broken arm and a stab wound. He did not report the crimes to police because members of his boyfriend’s family were in the police force. He left Mongolia and was granted asylum in the USA.

A lesbian was beaten and held in jail without warrant because her girlfriend’s brother was a policeman and found out about their relationship. She fled from her countryside home to Ulaanbaatar but her girlfriend’s brother continued to harass her. She left Mongolia and was granted asylum in the USA.

A young lesbian woman was excluded from school after being found to be in a lesbian relationship. She and her girlfriend were violently assaulted and raped and she was denied employment because of her sexual orientation. She was granted asylum in Australia.

 

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