Azerbaijan gay life is an emerging scene. Surrounded by rugged wilderness of high mountains and immense seas the fledgling “gay life in Azerbaijan” is also surrounded by Islamic homophobia and traditional ‘family values’. The balance between secular liberal tolerance and conservative religious rejection of sexual varieties is tipped toward the latter. But influences from the West–especially by potential EU membership with its human rights standards–have given courage and hope to many LGBT citizens for a brighter future. Homosexuality has been removed as a crime and a brave LGBT organization has appeared.
2000 saw the abolishment of the Azerbaijani law forbidding homosexual interactions (gay sex). A special edition of Azerbaijan, the official newspaper of the Parliament, published on 28 May, reported that the Parliament had approved a new Criminal Code, and that the President had signed a decree bringing it into force in September, which bans only forcible sexual acts.
Although homosexual acts between consenting male adults were officially decriminalized, reports about police abuses against gays, mainly male prostitutes, persisted during the last year. While complaining of the violence against them, the victims preferred to remain anonymous fearing retaliation on the part of police.” The age of consent is equal for both heterosexual and homosexual sex, at 16 years of age. As of 2009, there are no established forms of legally recognized unions for homosexuals.