SOUTH AFRICA

FROM THE WRITING WORKSHOP OF A LGBTQI REFUGEE

EUROPE

FREEDOM OF SEXUAL IDENTITY

GEORGIA

FIRST PRIDE WEEK

BULGARIA

PRIDES IMPROVE SOCIAL ACCEPTANCE

AN HANÈNE ZBISS

AN HANÈNE ZBISS

AN HANÈNE ZBISS

LATIN AMERICA

DISCRIMINATION AND STIGMATIZATION OF LGBTQI

SOUTH AFRICA

FROM THE WRITING WORKSHOP OF A LGBTQI REFUGEE

In a writing workshop, the Foundation invited LGBTQI refugees from various African countries to write down their story. As a homosexual man, Ethan Chigwada was persecuted in his own home in Zimbabwe, which led him to flee to South Africa. Here, he writes of "my home, my body and my dreams":


"If it were possible to choose one's family before birth, I would not choose mine, even if it was the last family on Earth."

"Home is the place where one should find peace, happiness, warmth and support. For me, my home was a place of sadness, suffering, loneliness, the darkest place that could ever be. When my family found out that I am a gay man, it turned my whole life upside down. I was treated like a punching bag. I was insulted every way possible. The only thing I wished for myself was to have been born into another family. No matter what I did, it was never good enough for my family. I was always the bad guy, the lost son, the person possessed by evil spirits.


When I was at home, I felt like I was in a cave full of lions. It didn't take long for them to send me away to live with my uncle. There, I had everything until the day he came home drunk and raped me. He forced himself on me. I screamed, but no one came to help. Then my body and my mind felt very violated, the trust I had was gone. My nightmare began all over again.


It wasn't just that one night. It had now become daily routine. If I refused, I was beaten with any-thing he could get his hands on. One day, I almost committed suicide. He found me and took me to the hospital. I tried to talk to a doctor, but no one would believe me. The good thing is, I never gave up hope. I decided to run away from the hospital, to cross the border and travel to Cape Town by train.


I found myself again in a city where no one knew me. I was still a pupil, which meant that I had to finish my education so that I could get my dream job. I always wanted to be a journalist and to have a family. The reason why I want this job is that I would like to tell the world, my people and our families that we are all human beings. I would like to inform people such as government officials, from the Ministry of the Interior, for example, that we have the right to be here.


We are all Africans. I would like to inform people, through various formats such as documentaries, that being gay isn't a choice. You are born gay. As gay refugees, we are in danger of experiencing double discrimination. First of all, because we are gay and, secondly, because we are refugees. As a journalist, I will tell my stories so that people learn and are also able to tell their stories so that they become our stories.


I haven't given up hope. I have to go back to school, get my diploma and help create a world that is a better place for future generations. Together, we can do just that. Everyone needs a better home, a place with love where you feel safe. Each person needs the integrity of their own body to be protected.


Every day that comes and goes, we have different dreams. My vision is to make these dreams come true and to dream even more. I believe that we should only stop dreaming when we stop breathing."


Homosexuality is a crime
in 33 African countries

Liberal human rights work
demands decriminalization
of homosexual acts and trans*identities

EUROPE

FREEDOM OF SEXUAL IDENTITY

"We're all different, and yet we're the same. We must all have the same rights that have been enshrined for 70 years in in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in the European Convention on Human Rights."

– Anne Brasseur

"The essence of our shared humanity finds its legal expression in human dignity as it was first enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 70 years ago. On the basis of our common humanity, we are responsible for protecting human rights and must therefore combat discrimination of LGBTQI persons." With these words, Anne Brasseur, member of the Foundation's board of trustees and former president of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, opened the panel on the "Freedom of Sexual Self-determination and LGBTQI Movements" during the Oslo Freedom Forum(OFF).


Every year, human rights defenders and activists, politicians, civil-society actors, young entrepreneurs, members of think tanks and foundations from around the world come together in Oslo for a global dialogue on the world’s most urgent challenges to human rights. The Foundation's Brussels office took part with its European Dialogue Programme for the fourth time.


During the round of discussions, defenders of LGBTQI rights talked about their everyday experiences of having their human rights violated and of the hostility they face.


Together with moderator Juliette Sanchez-Lambert of the LGBTQIQ Intergroup of the European Parliament, Denitsa Lyubenova (Bulgaria), Victor Pilirani Chikalogwe (South Africa), Denise Ho (Hong Kong) and Mikhail Tumasov (Russia) provided insight into the current situations in their native countries. All panelists issued political recommendations for regional and national problems that LGBTQI groups and individuals face. The participants agreed that more needs to be done by elected politicians around the world to fight discrimination of LGBTQI groups.


In the project countries,
the Foundation supports
organizations and movements
that stand up for the rights of LGBTQI

Anne Brasseur,
Member of the Board of Trustees
of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation


The former President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Anne Brasseur, is now committed to the human rights work of the Foundation. The rights of LGBTQI are one of the main topics of the Foundation for Freedom.


Denitsa Lyubenova
- Lawyer and LBTQI Activist

In Bulgaria, the Foundation supports the LGBTQI youth organisation Deystvie and its human rights lawyer Denitsa Lyubenova in their work to achieve equality before the law for LGBTQI.

GEORGIA

FIRST PRIDE WEEK

Even if it was not possible for the "March of Dignity" to take place because of the tense security situation, the first Tbilisi Pride Week took place in Georgia in June 2019 without any major incidents, attracting widespread international attention. This is a great success!


Prior to that, however, systematic efforts were made to turn public opinion against the Pride events. A wealthy Georgian businessman called for the formation of patrols resembling vigilante groups. They were to report every LGBTQI event to prevent them from taking place and to "beat" the organizers. Law enforcement authorities were reserved in their response to this open and targeted call for violence.


While Pride activists received impressive support on an international level, the government never took a clear stance. Instead, the influential orthodox church issued a statement calling on the Georgian authorities to stop all LGBTQI events. This statement presumably contributed to the zig-zag course of the Ministry of the Interior: Guarantees for security were assumed for events taking place in enclosed rooms; in return, organizers were to cancel the "March of Dignity" because it was associated with grave security risks. Likewise, due to security issues, a demonstration on May 17th, the International Day Against Homophobia, was called off. In July, the cancelled Pride took finally place. Though, it was not called "March of Dignity", but Alternative Partisan Action.


"Due to our own humanity, we are obliged to fight discrimination of LGBTQI persons. Our human rights oblige us to respect the human rights of others."

– Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger

We can not support LGBTQI Prides in Russia because since 2013 a law prohibits “homosexual propaganda towards minors“. It is therefore not allowed to have a Pride in the public. With our project “We accept! “ we support the visibility of LGBTQI persons from post-sowjet countries who tell their story: https://we-accept.online/head-en

Prides mobilize affected persons and supporters

LGBTQI Prides promote sexual and gender diversity of
people and freedom of self-determination

BULGARIA

PRIDES IMPROVE SOCIAL ACCEPTANCE

More than 6.000 people walked
peacefully through the streets

The Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom has established itself as a supporter of the LGBTQI community and of the organizers of the Sofia Pride in Bulgaria. For six years, the Foundation has promoted networking with international experts as well as dialogue with Bulgarian politicians and LGBTQI organizations.


However, there is still a lack of political support in this country! Because of this, the Pride – which brought together more than 6.000 people on June 8th, 2019 – was more of a festival of diversity than a political march for equal rights for non-heterosexual people. Still, many more people are taking part in the Pride than in its early years. Another positive trend has become apparent: Society is showing more acceptance towards same-sex partnerships if they have children themselves and, as parents, share the same problems with heterosexual parents.


The human rights attorney Denitsa Lyubenova of the LGBTQI youth organization "Deystvie" achieved a spectacular victory for her clients in July 2019: The supreme administrative court ruled in favor of recognizing a same-sex marriage entered into in France. In doing so, the court enforced the legal principle that EU law has precedence over national law.


The Pride is aimed to improve the human
rights situation in Bulgaria

Sofia Pride at the Monument to the
Soviet Arm in Bulgaria

LGBTQI do not demand special rights for themselves, but merely the same human rights that apply for every one.

LATIN AMERICA

DISCRIMINATION AND STIGMATIZATION OF LGBTQI

The judgement on same-sex marriage must be respected

In early 2018, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights ruled that same-sex marriages be recognized – a ruling that was immediately legally binding for the 20 Member States. Nonetheless, marriage for all or anti-discrimination laws are by no means a matter of course in many Latin American countries.


The extremely conservative and patriarchal societies of Latin America carry the potential for discrimination and stigmatization of the LGBTQI community. Civil-society activists from Peru, Cuba and Haiti drew attention to this at an event organized by the Peruvian Foundation partner Instituto Político para la Libertad and the Red Liberal de América Latina and devoted to the topic of "freedom and minority rights".


To open up societies, the Foundation also became involved in Guatemala in connection with the Alianza para Centroamérica for respecting and upholding LGBTQI rights. The civil-society organization Guate Activa successfully organized a forum during the "Marcha del Orgullo" (Guatemala's Pride parade). "We can take a positive approach by moving from a protest stance towards constructive cooperation for finding solutions that allow and increase personal freedom," noted Allan Ortiz. He founded Guate Activa together with other young managers and emphasized that the LGBTQI community does not demand any special privileges, just equality before the law. Young people in particular can break down traditional paradigms and take action to promote a society where the dignity of all people is inviolable.

Allan Ortiz demands equality before the law

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