Month Against Homophobia will take place in Belarus for the third time

01/04/2010
Submitted by Aliaksandr Paluyan, Gay.by

From 17 April to 17 May 2010, a human rights information campaign known as “Month Against Homophobia” will take place in Belarus for the third year running. This year's campaign has been initiated by the Belarusian Initiative For Sexual and Gender Equality (BISGE) and the civil association of Young Social Democrats-Young Hramada. The campaign will also enjoy support from The Gay Belarus Project and Labrys Group. The Internet portal Gay.by will provide information support.

During this month, a number of Belarusian initiative groups and organisations will hold a series of events aiming to inform the people of Belarus about the LGBT community and issues that homosexuals face in every day life.

‘This is the third year that we are organising this campaign to draw the attention of Belarusian society towards the issues and problems facing homosexuals in Belarus . Previous campaigns managed to affect a significant change as members of the public were finally provided with accurate information about the life of LGBT people both in Belarus and round the world. We are determined to continue the tradition of informing the public, as the situation with LGBT rights remains a worrying one' – said Aleksandr Poluyan, BISGE coordinator.

Numerous events have been planned for the Month, including an intensive information campaign, the first ever LGBT camp in the country, a round table involving representatives of the civil society and a talk show “For and Against Homosexuality” where those who support and those who oppose same sex relationships will have an opportunity to discuss the gay rights issues.

Without a doubt, the most stimulating discussions will erupt at the meetings with LGBT Christians and LGBT Muslims. Apart from the above mentioned, the intensive programme for the Month includes the showing of video materials and subsequent discussions that aim to tackle the issues facing the LGBT community. Also featuring in the programme are a Belarusian-language disco against homophobia, presentation of the second issue of the “GAY” magazine, Mr Gay Belarus 2010 competition, a football match and ideological debates between the members of Social-Democratic Parties and organisations.

Sergey Androsenko of the Human Rights Project “GayBelarus” made a point that ‘The very idea of the campaign has been a positive one since the very beginning. It makes the LGBT community a much more visible presence, which allows for a more active lobbying of LGBT's interests and discussions of the violations of human rights and discrimination.'

Month Against Homophobia has a few targets to pursue.

- discouragement of any physical, emotional or mental violence towards people with a different sexuality or gender self-identification.

- solidarity with all the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transsexual people round the world, especially those who have no opportunity to stand for their rights.

- widening human rights campaign

Yulia Matskevich, Chairperson of the Youth Civil Organisation Young Social-Democrats – Young Hramada said ‘I am very pleased with the fact that the Month Against Homophobia is being organised for the third year in a row. Even more, I am pleased to see that many more people, activists, journalists and NGOs would like to become involved. This means that information about the Month does enjoy a great deal of resonance both in Belarus and abroad. This year, members of our organisation and representatives of other Belarusian Social-Democratic Parties will hold ideological debates on how to stop homophobia in the left political organisations'

The campaign will end on 17 May, International Day Against Homophobia, with a traditional event commemorating the victims of the Nazi persecution and a marathon against homophobia. We also have to point out that 20 years ago, on 17 May 1990, the World Health Organisation removed “homosexuality” from the list of psychiatric disorders.

More information about the campaign and the events held during the Month will be available on www.homophobia.gay.by The website is going to commence its work shortly.

All those interested in participating in the campaign or taking part in any of the events held during the “Month Against Homophobia in Belarus ” are invited to contact the organisers at info@gay.by

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