May 31- June 2. 2019. Pécs, Hungary
Together with Diverse Youth Network we organized a Forum where Roma and LGBTQIA+ activists came together to set up a Roma LGBTQIA+ working group with the long-term goal of formulating relevant recommendations to the decision-makers in order that the specific needs of LGBTQIA+ groups and an intersectional approach get particular attention in the National Roma Integration Strategies and during their implementation post 2020.
Moreover, the activists identified the key challenges Roma LGBTQIA+ groups face and developed a 2-years action plan to change their situation in a more inclusive way.
Background of the forum:
Due to the prevalence of antigypsyism Roma people have to face challenges in their everyday lives which set barriers on the fields of social inclusion and employment and hinders their participation in political decision making processes on national and international levels.
The stigmatisation of LGBTQIA+ people, women and people with disabilities within the Roma communities keeps escalating and aggravates the situation of minorities within the minority, who face multiple forms discrimination. Furthermore, media represents LGBTQIA+ people as the enemies of the nation, religious values, traditional gender roles and traditional family models.
LGBTQAI+ youth face rejection from their families and wider communities, particularly often: besides being rejected because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, they often become victims of violence at home, in the school, at the workplace and in other institutions. Many hide their identities and preferences and become invisible for their environment and the wider society as well. Clashes between identities and the Roma traditions’ restrictive gender roles place Roma LGBTQAI+ young people in the intersection of different systems of discrimination. LGBTQAI+ movements do not represent ethnic minorities’ needs in an inclusive and adequate way and Roma movements fail to secure visibility for their LGBTQAI+ members. Therefore, we find it important to establish a professional team which will be able to advocate for the real interests or LGBTQAI+ Roma youth on both national and international levels.
In parallel with the forum of the activists, thematic roundtable discussions have been held and involved a big number of audiences each day in the center of Pécs:
May 31. 13:00 László Farkas, QRTV photo exhibition opening
May 31. 14:00 “Do not look at the colour, but the person” Panelists: Dezső Máté – sociologist, researcher / László Láng – civil expert / Géza B-Hábel – Diverse Youth Network
May 31. 16:30 Selection from the Queer section of the International Fresh Meat Short Film Festival
June 1. 18:00 Faith and LGBTQI+ Panelists: Rita Dr. Perintfalvi – progressive theologist, university professor / Tamás Büchler – director, Izraeli Cultural Institute / Zoltán Ócsai – Lutheran pastor
June 2. 18:00 Trapped in another body Panelists: Adél Ónodi – trans activist, actress / Sheida Németh – trans activist / Alex Fajt – youtuber
June 3. 17:30 “Package to carry” installation on the situation of rainbow families followed by a discussion about rainbow families Panelists: Renáta Pápai – parent / Boglárka Kovács – parent / György Dr. Mészáros – researcher
The Forum was part of the Roma Youth Voices project and the activity and the roundtable discussions have been financed and supported by the European Commission, Prezi and Budapest Pride.