OLAR is the first trilingual LGBTQIA zine in the Republic of Qazaqstan (also known as Kazakhstan). Launched in 2019, the zine is published in both print and digital format twice a year. Issues are distributed free-of-charge throughout Qazaqstan, and free, digital copies are available online.

Members of the LGBTQIA community in Qazaqstan live in constant threat of danger to their physical and mental wellbeing, and most are forced to hide their true sexual and gender identities in order to avoid unemployment, familial abandonment, and public humiliation.

OLAR aims to shine a much-needed spotlight on the creative and cultural lives of LGBTQIA Qazaqstanis.

The zine provides an accessible, anonymous (if desired) platform for LGBTQIA individuals to share their work, educate allies and other groups within the community, and broadcast the realities of their lives to the global community.

We publish written and visual work from any member of the community or ally living in Qazaqstan.

OLAR seeks to publish a variety of content — poetry, non-fiction essays, photography series, illustrations, short stories, digital art, and more. Written content is accepted in Qazaq, Russian, and English.

Poster of Kazakh composer Kurmangazy Sagyrbaiuly and Russian poet Aleksandr Pushkin, advertising a now-defunct gay club which was located at the corner of Kurmangazy Street and Pushkin Street in Almaty. © 2014 Havas Worldwide Kazakhstan

After decades of criminalisation under the Soviet Union, homosexuality was legalized in Qazaqstan in 1998. However, LGBTQIA individuals are not legally protected from discrimination, and they are barred from marrying, raising children, and serving in the military.

Read more about LGBTQIA rights in Qazaqstan