You might have heard of the Maidan protests in Ukraine, but did you know that LGBTQI activists played a central role in these protests? And that in Turkey, the authorities’ crack-down on the whole range of civil society has led to unusual alliances between activists? Whereas in Armenia, gender and LGBTQI activists find themselves alongside nationalists in protests against Russian influence in the country, only to experience mocking and threats by the same nationalists on other occasions?
LGBTQI and gender equality activists see a lot of potential in the democratization and human rights movements in their countries and participate actively. Unfortunately, they face a number of challenges as well. They are looked at with suspicion by many who see their sexual orientation and focus on diversity and equality as a threat to the national identity under development. The authorities focus on a common enemy, the threat of war and unrest, and intensify the dichotomy of “us versus them”, with a rhetoric of “either you are for us or against us”. Citizens, activists and politicians are torn between the liberal prospects of the European community and the so-called “traditional family values” fronted by Russian, Turkish and national authorities.
How do the LGBTQI and gender activists partake in these processes under such conditions? We have invited activists who experience these questions in their everyday national activities to a discussion, and invite you to learn about a lesser known side of the democratization movements in Turkey, Armenia and Ukraine today.
Olena Schevchenko (Insight NGO, Ukraine)
Zhanna Andreasyan (Socioscope NGO, Armenia)
Mamikon Hovsepyan (PINK NGO, Armenia)
Neyir Zerey (academic field coordinator for the NGO SPoD, which works for equality and human rights for LGBT people in Turkey)
Moderator: Lene Wetteland, the Norwegian Helsinki Committee
Do not miss the screening of This is Gay Propaganda before the debate.