Publication: „On the other side of homophobia: Analysis of the life experiences of LGBT persons in Serbia and recommendations for lowering discrimination“

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Civil society organization Safe Pulse of Youth has presented within the project Coalition for Equality – STEP a new publication titled „On the other side of homophobia: Analysis of the life experiences of LGBT persons in Serbia and recommendations for lowering discrimination“.
Twenty people were interviewed in the course of preparing this publication, in order to attain the personal confessions of LGBT people. These confessions were then classified into three categories, in order to emphasize the numerous difficulties that LGBT people face in everyday life – in the family home, at school and at work.

The focus of the publication is in three parts: in the first part of the publication the stigma and discrimination that LGBT people face in Serbia is described; then the psychological problems that this discrimination leads to, and in the final part recommendations were made as to how discrimination can be lowered.

Coalition demands response of the competent authorities to attacks on LGBT social center in Podgorica

Statement

STEP Coalition, that consists of eight NGOs from Serbia, Kosovo and Montenegro, calls on the authorities to use all available resources to respond to attacks and demolition of LGBT Social Centre in the evening 19th December 2014, the only social and cultural gathering center of LGBT community in Montenegro.

This is not the only one attack on LGBT Social Center. Within a year of its existence, this is the 25. attack on this center, and what is alarming is that the police have not shed light nor prosecuted any of these attacks. Last demolition was particularly disappointing because it was done again in the presence of the police since the security of this facility is being conducted by the same. The failure of the police and the state as a whole to stop and prosecute these attacks sends a message of fear to again invisible and frightened community and members of the LGBT population are already exhausted to ensure regular functioning and increases their regular expenses. This area is the only environment in which cultural, artistic, scientific, entertainment and social lives of the Montenegrin LGBT community occurs.

To broaden and strengthen the front combating discrimination

Coalition for Equality STEP logo

Executive Director of the Center for Civic Education (CCE) Daliborka Uljarevic estimated that in Montenegro exists a strong xenophobia against the LGBT population, hatred and disdain towards women in socio-political life and lack of understanding of the problem of people with disabilities. She stated on the final conference of the regional project “Connecting civil society in the protection of marginalized human rights in Serbia, Montenegro, and Kosovo”, entitled “Achieving equality in societies of the Western Balkans – traces STEP-a”, that in the fight against discrimination , LGBT rights advocacy and promotion of gender equality has developed a broad front of those who are empowered and prepared to cope with the problems of human rights and freedoms in Montenegro.

Director of YUCOM from Serbia, Milan Antonijevic, noted that the whole region’s most recognizable two topics are that are fighting with discrimination, and that are the problems of LGBT population and gender equality. Advisor to the rule of law of the EU Delegation to Montenegro Barbara Rotovnik emphasized that the civil sector has a key role in the fight against discrimination, and that their work is very different from the role of political parties, but it is inseparable from the political and socio-economic processes.

We are xenophobic towards LGBT population

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In Montenegro there is a strong xenophobia against the LGBT population, misogyny towards women in the social and political life, lack of understanding the problems of people with disabilities, said the executive director of the Center for Civic Education (CCE), Daliborka Uljarević. CCE organized today in Podgorica the final conference of regional project “Connecting civil society in the protection of marginalized human rights in Serbia, Montenegro, and Kosovo”, titled “Achieving equality in societies of the Western Balkans – traces STEP-a”

The aim of the conference is, as stated, to provide a review of the current situation in the implementation of anti-discrimination policy, the fight against homophobia and empowerment of women in public and political life in Montenegro through the prism of the results of projects that civil society organizations are carried out within the allocated sub-grants through regional project.

“Miredita, Dobardan” Festival – YouthBuild

INTEGRA

Numerous analyses have shown that the greatest problem in the relations between different ethnicities in both countries is a lack of “real” communication and shared experience, which led to the situation where the only (or at least the most important) “reasoning” is based on prejudice. The project will consist of two components, building upon already existing cooperation and experience of Integra and Civic Initiatives. Both components will reduce prejudices and stereotypes among Serbian and Albanian youth groups, as well as citizens of both nationalities. The project will reduce social distances among people that create a very fertile ground for discrimination.

First component of the project will upgrade the Festival “Miredita, Dobardan” organized in September 2014 by Integra and Civic Initiatives. This festival engages activists and artists from Pristina and Belgrade in a peace building art project that has a significant political and social dimension in reforming the Serbian society on its path towards the EU. The second component of the Project will have look beyond existing initiatives and investigate the general atmosphere and specific conditions necessary for introducing new model of youth cooperation based on YouthBuild Program, with the guidance of Civic Initiatives as an organization that has shown to be the most successful in the region when it comes to implementing the YB.

Improving relations Online and Offline – Kosovo 2.0

Kosovo 2.0

Kosovo 2.0 is a media organization offering feature analysis and commentary of current socio-political events and developments with the aim of triggering reform and critical debate, both in Kosovo and abroad. Through various media approaches, Kosovo 2.0 aims at giving a voice to the country’s silenced, disenfranchised majority: young people. Kosovo 2.0 consists of: an

AWARDED SUB-GRANTS IN KOSOVO

Coalition for Equality STEP logo

Coalition for Equality STEP, with the support of the European Commission provided funds for sub-grants in Kosovo. From the numerous proposals that have been submitted in this call, two sub-grants were awarded. KORAK-HAPI-STEP is a coalition formed with goal of implementing a regional action to improve the status of human rights in Serbia, Montenegro, and Kosovo, in the areas of LGBT rights, strengthening the role of women in politics and public life, and monitoring court procedures for discrimination. It includes and connects a large number of NGOs and activists who share the values of the coalition. Members of Coalition for Equality are: Lawyers’ Committee for Human Rights – YUCOM , Centre for Civic Education, Humanitarian Law Centre Kosovo, The Network for the Committees of Human Rights in Serbia – CHRIS, Gay Straight Alliance, LGBT Forum Progress, Belgrade Centre for Human Rights and Youth Initiative for Human Rights Kosovo.

Organizations that were awarded sub-grants in Kosovo are: NGO INTEGRA and KOSOVO GLOCAL (KOSOVO 2.0).