Annual Review 2011
Bias motivated violence
Iniciatíva Inakosť launched a new online tool for the reporting homophobic violence or other homophobic incidents. The site provides information for victims seeking help. The creators of the site plan to monitor and document incidents, and to help those who report crimes to receive help from the authorities.
TransFúzia provided a 2-day awareness raising training session for LGB human rights defenders on trans issues. The training resulted in deeper inclusion of trans issues in the strategic planning of various organisations and led to new co-operations and training projects planned for 2012 (such as training for medical students).
Equality and non-discrimination
- The statute creating the new Council for Human Rights, National Minorities and Gender Equality to address equal treatment and protection of minorities was redrafted to exclude an Advisory Committee on LGBT rights. Iniciatíva Inakosť and Queer Leaders Forum condemned the decision, calling it a political move. The LGBT community is the only group listed in Slovakia’s anti-discrimination law that lacks representation in the newly-formed Council.
- In June, the government supported and published a translation of the Yogyakarta Principles.
- The situation of lesbian and bisexual women was included for the first time in the Shadow Report for Slovakia on the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). Another first was the inclusion of information about the situation of trans women and trans men in Slovakia.
The government department in charge of human rights and equal treatment organised an international conference Human rights aspects of lives of same-sex couples. It included speakers from Norway, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom (countries where marriage or registered partnership for same-sex couples already exist). It provided a positive perspective on the effect of marriage equality. The goal was to support discussion on the topic, raise awareness of public, media and political authorities, and set attention to the European and local continuities of human rights of LGBT people.
Freedom of assembly
- Slovakia’s second Pride Parade was held in June in Bratislava. Over 1500 people attended the festivities, guarded by armed police officers enforcing strict security measures in severe contrast to the country’s first Pride Parade in 2010 which was violently disrupted by protesters. In 2011, no one was injured, and only one person was charged following around 45 arrests. The 2011 celebration was attended by Bratislava Major Milan Ftáčnik, Speaker of Parliament Richard Sulík, and Labour Minister Jozef Mihál, amongst other dignitaries. However, a number of public fi gures, including former Members of Parliament, issued a public statement opposing the Parade. Despite this opposition, the event was well attended and kept safe. Rainbow Pride praised the police for their help in monitoring the event.
- After Rainbow Pride in June, Slovak Public Television organised a discussion on issues relation to LGB people and same-sex couples which lasted about an hour and a half. This was the first time such a public discussion, with time and space for debate, had taken place. Romana Schlesinger, spokeswoman for Rainbow Pride, and Former Minister of Interior Affairs Vladimír Palko were the invited speakers.
In August, a mental health campaign Psychological support for LGBT people was launched by Iniciatíva Inakosť with the financial support of the government. It includes personal development training for psychologists, the production of materials including brochures on a number of LGBT issues (such as coming out, homophobia and heterosexism, identity, and same-sex couples) and a handbook about LGBT issues for psychological service providers.
Human rights defenders
A centre providing a wide range of services to the LGBT community, including counselling, legal advice, a safe meeting space and consultation on academic theses opened in Bratislava. Q-centrum arose out of an initiative of the Queer Leaders Forum and received government funding.
Participation in public/political life
Stanislav Fořt came out as Slovakia’s first openly gay Member of Parliament. He belongs to the Freedom and Solidarity Party (SaS), and said that reactions had ranged from reserved to positive. The LGBT community welcomed the announcement, commending Fořt for his courage in living openly.