George Reginald Freeman is the director of Pride Equality International and a former refugee who fled from Sierra Leone to Europe. He initiated the project ‘Why Me’ to increase solidarity amongst African LGBTQI asylum seekers and refugees. During a 2-day photo-voice workshop, all refugees told their personal stories and shared their experiences on being a LGBTQI refugee in Europe. One participant stated: ‘…In the homeless shelter we had homophobic residents who make comments like “gays are disgusting people” and when I reported to the social worker he told me to be discreet about my sexuality, as most of the people staying are religious people…’. With PlanetRomeo Foundation’s support, the workshops were held in Spain, Belgium and France. Pride Equality International hopes to roll out their photo voice workshops in more European countries.
All testimonies were documented and a selection is published in the ‘My Voice Counts’ report. Additionally, the report contains recommendations on how to improve the situation for African LGBT refugees and asylum seekers. Pride Equality International presented the report during a human rights advocacy session in Spain and it will be shared with other shareholders also in order to improve the position of LGBTQI refugees and asylum seekers.
The full testimony report ‘My Voice Counts’ can be downloaded here.
Our funding enables Forum for Dignity Initiatives to organize six dialogues between transgender women and high school students in Pakistan. The first dialogue out of the series “We are not children of a lesser God” took place in the School of Business Management in Islamabad. By means of these gatherings, students will be informed about gender roles and trans* issues which also help to bridge the gap between the transgender community and mainstream society, where trans* people often face social exclusion.
Project leader Uzma Yaqoob told us FDI received a huge round of applause for this initiative taken by them. Thereafter, the university and the students requested more of these dialogues.
Today is Transgender Day of Visibility. We are proud to also support brave initiatives that fight against trans* phobia and trans* discrimination:
TransParent in Croatia gives counseling to parents of trans* children
Jinsiangu Kenya facilitates a safe space for trans* people at risk
Mithra Foundation established self-help groups and hosted awareness seminars to improve the position of trans* people in the Indian society
We are proud to fund these brave initiatives, because the trans* community needs more than only visibility to fight trans* phobia and advocate for trans* rights.
Semper Musica Association successfully completed their project ‘How I LOVE; How I LIVE; How I AM!’ With this project the organization aimed to change the common negative attitude towards LGBTs and to fight LGBT stereotypes. By organizing educational workshops at 4 high schools in Romania, they’ve managed to reach almost 2500 students. Complementary, a website was launched where LGBTs can tell their personal stories. By means of storytelling, they show that non-LGBT and LGBT teens are more alike than different. Let’s hope Semper Musica’s work has started a movement of LGBT acceptance in Romania.
During our first review cycle of 2016, the Board decided to support 8 new projects. The total funding adds up to almost € 36,000. Thanks to our donators, we are able to support: East African Visual Artists in Uganda, Lighthouse NGO and Egalite Intersex in Ukraine, the Croatian initiative TransParent, Young Queer Alliance in Mauritius, “FtM Phoenix” Group in Russia, “Element” in Bosnia and Herzegovina and an ‘unnamed’ sports project in East Africa.