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Monthly Archives: June 2012

the most inspiring flipchart ever?!

brainstormed by us on the 15th of April in Zagreb – drawn by me

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The Balkans is home to a growing and diverse LGBT+[1] community which unfortunately is subject to ongoing oppression, discrimination and violence. During the twentieth century homosexuality was banned and the existence of other non-hetero normative identities and bodies were not recognized for a long time in most parts of the region. Apart from a short-lived positive intermission in the 1980’s, war and the building of new nation states in the Balkans deteriorated the situation for the LGBT+ community. Today, the region is still far from reconciling itself with its political, ethnic, sexual, gender, bodily and other marginalized groups. The most common and fundamental human rights of these groups are still not respected. For example the recognition of the LGTB+ communities’ right to the freedom of assembly during pride parades and queer fests and the right to live a life free from the fear of violence.

LGBT+ persons are still seen by the state and society as second-class citizens. In the Balkans LGBT+ persons do not fully enjoy the equal right to marriage or forming registered partnerships. The LGTB+ community is very far from having their human rights in other spheres of life recognized, such as their rights to the freedom of speech and assembly as well as equal access to health care and reproductive services. Furthermore LGTB+ communities continue to face discrimination when accessing social services, adoption services, employment, housing and education. A key problem faced by the LGTB+ community is the wide use of hate speech and discriminatory language in school text books, political and religious discourse and popular culture. Trans[2], gender variant and intersex people continue to face extreme violence, discrimination and hatred. Stigmatized by the medical profession as mentally disordered, and rendered invisible by a society who is not aware of their struggle, they face discrimination ranging from slander to murder. Intersex people are left without choice right from birth and are forced to undergo unnecessary and harmful medical treatment.

Currently support for the LGTB+ community in the Balkans although growing is still in its early stage. The fact remains that the major political parties in the Balkan countries do not openly support or cooperate with the LGTB+ community or advocate for their rights. We believe international cooperation must be intensified to support LGTB+ communities in the Balkans. It is here that we see a unique opportunity for the Greens to meet the demands of the LGTB+ community. No other political party has an established link with the LGTB+ movement and shares with them the common goals of equal rights, an open society, non-violence and other similar principles. We believe that actors like FYEG, Greens/EFA in the European Parliament and EGP[3] as well as organizations like GEF[4] and HBF[5] can contribute to building and strengthening a strong and sustainable LGBT+ movement in the Balkans. In addition, we believe it is important that local and national Green Parties support the LGBT+ community to address the issues they face at the local and national level.

We demand:

  • All LGBT+ people should fully enjoy equal rights of marriage and registered partnerships regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity and expression.
  • Equal access to reproductive services and child adoption
  • Stop discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and expression by the state and society.
  • States to create and implement legislation guaranteeing LGBT+ rights which is in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and European Convention on Human Rights.
  • The state to guarantee and protect the LGTB+ community’s right of public assembly, pride parade and queer fests.
  • The state to create campaigns for raising awareness of LGTB+ issues.
  • Easy and clear procedure for changing official documents for trans people and protection for their privacy before and after transition.
  • No enforcement of sterilization surgery and procedures on trans, gender variant and intersex people
  • Providing free medical services for sex change and other needs on demand of trans and intersex people.
  • UN to recognize IDAHO as the international day against homophobia, biphobia and transphobia.
    The states should provide free legal aid and shelter for LGBT+ people.
  • All religious institutions to stop promoting homophobia and hate speech against LGBT+ persons.
  • Relevant bodies should investigate and prosecute institutional discrimination.
  • Education that includes objective information on LGTB+ people which are free of hate speech and discrimination.
  • Education for journalists on LGBT+ rights and sanctioning of media which uses hate speech and promotes negative attitudes towards LGBT+ people.

[1] LGBT+ refers to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Asexual, Intersex, No gender, Queer and other people whose sexual orientation and/or gender identity does not comply with the patriarchal norms.

[2] The term “trans” includes those people who have a gender identity which is different to the gender assigned at birth and/or those people who feel they have to, prefer to or choose to – whether by clothing, accessories, cosmetics or body modification – present themselves differently to the expectations of the gender role assigned to them at birth. This includes, among many others, transsexual and transgender people, transvestites, travesti, cross dressers, no gender and genderqueer people.

[3] European green party

[4] Green European Foundation- the political foundation of EGP

[5] Heinrich Boll Foundation- the political foundation of the German green party