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Kazakhstan has joined a long list of conservative nations by halting distribution of the children’s cartoon feature film Lightyear because of a scene featuring two women kissing.

Culture and Sports Minister Dauren Abayev wrote in a post on Facebook on July 14 that the decision to pull the movie, which is produced by Pixar Animation Studios, a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company, arrived following “numerous queries from citizens and the media” about whether it would be released.

The movie was due to start screening this week.

The clamour for Lightyear to be banned from cinemas in Kazakhstan has been some weeks in the making and follows similar prohibitions enforced in countries like China and a raft of mainly Muslim nations, including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Indonesia, Egypt, Lebanon and Qatar.

Conservative and religious activists have argued that a scene showing evidence of the existence of same-sex relations goes against Kazakh family and moral values.

“We need to stop this obscene propaganda. They [Disney] can do whatever they want, but don’t pump it into the heads of our kids," filmmaker and actor Nurtas Adambai wrote in an Instagram post in which he tagged President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev. “Don't turn a blind eye to this.”

Adambai’s objections are particularly ironic as he has himself been the object of criticism from moralists in the past. His movie Kelinka Sabina, in which he dressed up as a woman for intended comic effect, was written as a polemic against gender inequality. Last year, however, Adambai made a public show of enthusiastically embracing Islam and expressed regret for his work on Kelinka Sabina.

An online petition to ban Lightyear from being shown in Kazakhstan has to date racked up 34,000 signatures.

“Since the time of the Kazakh Khanate, our traditions, customs, ways of thinking, and social relationships have been built upon the canons of Islam. This cartoon cannot be shown in our country,” read a statement accompanying the petition.

Those protestations notwithstanding, Kazakhstan remains the most notably secular country in Central Asia. The government is not typically inclined to put pressure on LGBT groups, although it also tends as a rule to avoid addressing the issue altogether.

In the autumn, the release of Eternals, a movie adapted from a Marvel Comics adventure, provoked some protest from conservative groups over the presence of a gay character. But their complaints were in vain, and the movie was released.

Since that time, however, particularly since political unrest swept through the country at the start of January, the government has sought to project a more engaged public stance – a policy that President Tokayev has described as “the Listening State.”

While Kazakhstan has more or less formally banned Lightyear – although Abayev, the minister, carefully avoided stating in his Facebook post that this was a legally binding policy – other countries in the region have gone down different routes.

Cinemas in Tajikistan, almost all of which are located in the country’s largest cities, were showing Lightyear as of July 14.

In Kyrgyzstan, where movies are released via Kazakhstani distributors, Lightyear is unlikely to appear following the de facto ban in Kazakhstan, a spokesman for the Bishkek-based Cinematica theatre chain told Eurasianet.

Uzbekistan is not known to have imposed any restrictions. The manager at one cinema told Eurasianet that market demand for projections of US-made cartoons is relatively weak.

The Lightyear ban has dismayed progressive commentators in Kazakhstan who see this as a victory for what they view as regressive conservative forces. Journalist Assem Zhapisheva tweeted a screenshot of a scene from the movie showing two women sitting side by side and smiling at one another as one of them hugs their young son.

“Disgusting. A happy family. How can we show this to our children? They might find out this happens too,” Zhapisheva wrote sarcastically in an oblique commentary on the hardships endured by families and children in Kazakhstan, which suffers from one of the highest rates of teenage suicide in the world.

Almaty-based LGBT activist Amir Shaikezhanov described the ban as an act of “unjustified censorship.”

Almaty-based LGBT activist Amir Shaikezhanov described the ban as an act of “unjustified censorship.”

“This is a troubling precedent. Today, they have banned a cartoon because of one particular worldview. Tomorrow, they will ban something else without any justification. Aren’t the views of other citizens being taken into account?” Shaikezhanov told Eurasianet. “This isn’t the kind of ‘Listening State’ we should be fighting for.”



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>“We need to stop this obscene propaganda. They [Disney] can do whatever they want, but don’t pump it into the heads of our kids,"
Am I meant to be disagreeing with this?


>straight kiss
Normal, not propaganda
>gay kiss
Not normal, propaganda

this is your brain on hegemonic thought.


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I think it should be banned over the really stupid plot twist that Zurg is actually a future version of Buzz


In the case of burger Hollywood productions they're both propaganda


Idpol bingo is all the rage these days!


>Majority Muslim
As expected


>Idpol bingo is all the rage these days!
t. someone who does not live in a Muslim country in the East.
There conservatism is always all the rage especially in my country (hyperreligious Indonesia)


I'm not a fan of gay stuff in kid movies since it's rarely done well, but this is retarded. For real it's the most subtle and casual thing - a simple lesbian peck on the lips, LMAO. Also Kazakhstan is genuinely going to shit. Cap this, Kazakhstan is going to become Ukraine 2.0 if Russia doesn't step in ahead of time.


It's just a movie LMAO, it's not like Star Wars that has specific film canon, it's basically a fanwork based on the idea of Buzz and trying to not be a rehash of the animated series, a good attempt, just kinda mediocre for Pixar IMO.




yea,even then i liked it, not as much as the main toy story movies, and there much that could be done to make it better, but it was serviceable.
though it made me wonder for more animated movies and cartoons set in space.


Yeah me too. I don't understand the Western mindset of brand loyalty - I just like what I like and dislike what I don't based on my experiences and understandings, there's some stuff that's blatantly bad or clearly good, but most things are in the middle for people to decide, yet people make everything a battle today.

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