In Macedonia, various LGBTI and human rights groups, as well as their allies, organised a wide variety of events around the IDAHOT 2014, in what local activists described as the most beautiful, peaceful and important May 17.
We thank activists at LGBTI Support Center for drafting the majority of this report.
Flashmob & city park event
The National Network against Homophobia and Transphobia of Macedonia held a public activity / flashmob against homophobia and transphobia as a way of launching their main activities for May 17 this year.
A public event for IDAHOT also took place in cooperation with municipal authorities in the City Park. The event included a music program, speeches by LGBTI and human rights activists and experts, as well as info booths with promotional and educational material. At the end of the event, there were DJ sets of Mirko Popov, Sonja Ismail and Zoki Bejbe.
Public debate: Hate crimes against LGBTI people
On 17 May, The National Network Against Homophobia and transphobia organized a public debate about Hate crimes against LGBTI people. This debate aimed to contribute to the fight against homophobia and transphobia in the direction of creating a culture of nonviolence in Republic of Macedonia, through the involvement of the legal and social implications of (un)protecting LGBTI people from violence. Speakers on the debate were: Zarko Trajanoski from Coalition „Sexual health and rights of marginalized communities“, Neda Calovska from Helsinki Committee for Human Rights of the Republic of Macedonia and the journalist Aco Kabranov. This debate was moderated by Sophia Velkovska from LGBTI Support Center.
You can see photos here on facebook.
May 17 was also marked by the participation of the No Hate Speech Movement, which is supported by the Council of Europe. The LGBTI Support Centre joined this campaign via blog posts which represented the realities that LGBTI people face in Macedonia today. The final report, which will contain information from the blog posts, will be reviewed by the Commissioner for Human Rights of Council of Europe.
Launched of the initiative “Article 3”
On 15 of May in GEM Club, Coalition “Sexual and health rights of marginalized communities” Action Zdruzenska and Frick held a press conference to promote the summary of proposed changes for importing sexual orientation and gender identity as grounds for discrimination in the Law on Prevention and protection from discrimination. Local activists explain:
Initiative for proposed amendments is an activity within the project “Article 3-solidarity and support to improve the protection of discrimination of the LGBT community” That aims importing sexual orientation and gender identity as grounds on which discrimination is prohibited in the Law on Prevention and Protection of discrimination. This amendments would lead to legal recognition of LGBT community, increasing their visibility in the eyes of state institutions and general public and effective protection from violence and discrimination as well.
According to organizations working with the LGBTI community, sexual orientation and gender identity are equally important as the fundamentals race, gender and ethnicity. Here is also the obligation of the Republic of Macedonia to international institutions to bring these two grounds in law. Taking into consideration the Reports on the progress of the Republic of Macedonia to the EU, the latest Report of the Committee on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women and two rounds of the Universal periodic review of Macedonia to the Human Rights Council at the United Nations, we can see that the obligation of the state to include sexual orientation and gender identity as grounds for discrimination in the law is underlined. It was underlined that the importing of sexual orientation and gender identity in the law would be a first step and an essential measure that legislators must take in order to protect LGBTI people from discrimination and violence, especially after the numerous attacks on LGBTI Support Center, attacks of the activists and constant hate speech. It was also noted that when it comes to protecting the human rights of the LGBT community, we should bear in mind that this is not just a matter of a marginalized community, but the degree of democracy in a society.
At the press conference speakers were: Dragana Drndarevska from Coalition „Sexual health and rights of marginalized communities“, Urania Pirovska, executive director of the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights of the Republic of Macedonia and Susanna Grozdanovska of Action Zdruzenska. Moderator was Velimir Zernovski from Formation of development initiatives in culture F.R.I.K. – Skopje.
Photos of the event on facebook and flikr. Press releases available here and here.
LGBT United Macedonia actions
Also, LGBT United Macedonia participated in the Tirana Diversity Festival and First Tirana Pride in Albania on May 17.
Activists also marked the day with a set of street flashmobs, movie screenings, demonstration, information booths and sprayed messages on city walls in Macedonia.
“Who is afraid of silence bad? Creative workshops held for young people”
On 17 May, at 12 pm in the House of ARM was held all day event by the “Creative Youth Action” Student organization “Izlez”. At the event, despite presentation of the products made by the participants in the five workshops (creative writing, illustration, photography, film and performance/theater), were presented products by other individuals, groups and organizations that were involved in this event. The goal was to stop the longstanding tradition of silence criticism aimed at the young people. Among the participants were representatives from organizations working with LGBT issues.
The project “Creative Youth Action” identifies the need for a space where young people can express themselves creatively and to express their views and opinions. Seven months of workshops contributed to successfully finding space and a way to defeat the silence.
You can see photos of the event here on flikr.
Marking of the International day against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT) at LGBTI Support Center
On May 17th, The LGBTI Support Centre held an event to commemorate the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT). The event began with a speech by the Program Director of the Center, Kocho Andonovski,. In his address, he briefly presented the significance of that day in the global fight against homophobia and transphobia. Biljana Ginova from the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights of Republic of Macedonia promoted the newly created Intervention Fund, whose main goal is providing help to members of LGBTI community in three main areas: housing, legal and medicinal area. At the end of the evening, the Executive Director of the Committee, Uranija Pirovska awarded certificates of gratitude to the participants in the “Macedonia has love for all” campaign, for their contribution in the reduction of homophobia and transphobia in Republic of Macedonia.
You can see photos here on facebook, and press releases here and here. You can see photos here on facebook and flikr.
Public Debate on theme: Homophobia/ Migration/ Workers Rights – Experiences from Germany and Macedonia
A part of the program for the International day against homophobia and transphobia was also a public debate at the LGBTI Support Centre, on 19th of May with the title “Homophobia/ Migration/ Workers rights – The experience from Macedonia and Germany”. Speakers at the debate were the previous German MP Lale Akgun, member of a trade union Zlatko Perijoski, and the debate was moderated by Kocho Andonovski the program director of the LGBTI Support Centre. Among the other, at the debate participated the German ambassador that emphasized the value of human rights and the need for respecting them in the Macedonian society, underlining the fact that Helsinki Committee for human rights in Republic of Macedonia is one of the organizations that have important contribution towards the promotion of the human rights and liberties. Photos here.
Debate – Legal change of gender
The National network for struggle against homophobia and transphobia, on the 21st of May, at the GEM club organized the round table on theme ,,Legal change of gender”. At the round table was opened discussion about the need of legal regulative of change of gender, especially of the personal documents, about the practice in Macedonia on this issue, and about the probable solutions that can be focus of civil organizations, LGBTI activists and members of the trans-community in Macedonia.
Participants at the discussion were Natasha Boshkovska from the Coalition “Sexual and health rights of marginalized communities”, Igor Raiden – coordinator of the support group for trans-persons at the LGBTI Support Center, and the same was moderated by Dragana Drndarevska from the National network for struggle against homophobia and transphobia. This activity was organized by the National network for struggle against homophobia and transphobia as a part of the project “SAY NO TO HOMOPHOBIA” that is implemented by “Subversive Front” in partnership with Coalition “Sexual and health rights of marginalized communities” and supported by the Fondation Open Society – Macedonia