The “Ethnically and Gender Inclusive Grass-Root LGBTI Movement in Macedonia” Project, implemented with the support from the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in the period from September 2012 until September 2013, represents a policy study for awareness raising activities.
The need for this kind of study stems from the current situation and position of LGBTI people, as one of the most vulnerable groups in Macedonian society. Practically, there is no legal protection against discrimination for the LGBTI people, nor there are existing institutional policies for their social inclusion. A sensible public discourse, which will be sensitive to the human rights of these people, is also missing. On the other hand, until recently, within the movement there was lack of visibility of lesbians, transgendered people and other ethnic minorities.
The main purpose was to make a long-lasting project which will influence the capacity strengthening of the of LGBTI movement in Macedonia in a time characterized by widely expressed homophobia, hate speech and numerous physical attacks of LGBTI people. One of the research motives was also the increased activation between the “invisible” groups in the LGBTI community like the lesbians, transgendered people and gays from other ethnicities.
The research part consists of a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods. The ISSH-S through its closed forms of debates (focus groups, discussion groups) contributed in the networking between formal and informal organizations that work towards ethnically inclusive LGBTI activism and the feminist – lesbian part of the activism. During the realization of the project, the informal LezFem group was establishedas a group which is connected to the work of the LGBTI Center which is managed by the Macedonian Helsinki Committee on Human Rights. Also, the multiethnic non-governmental LGBT United became an active and vivid part of the activism since fall 2012 (and was registered in May 2012). It should be noted that LGBT United actively contributed to the realization of this study.
The main idea of the project is to initiate a discussion among activists themselves regarding the needs in the frames of the movement through grass-root level debates, as well as for those in the wider societal context. One of the goals was to design a context specific approach in the strengthening of the LGBTI community. The project activities should result into mobilization of the LGBTI community in the country toward a more vibrant and locally informed/context-sensitive movement that establishes priorities and forms of activism adequate to the social and cultural specificities of Macedonia.