Archive - 2012 - 28/04/2012

What is unique in our actions in the region?

During the 3rd Regional Network Against Homophobia held in Croatia, panelists from Serbia and Lebanon took the floor to discuss on “What is unique in our actions through culture, friendships, rights” on April 27, 2012.


Biljana Stankovic from Novi Sad Lesbian Organization in Serbia started commenting on lesbianism and culture: “‘Unique’ to whom and compared to what? As a lesbian, my activism is unique and I am very proud of that. If I look through friendship and culture, it is easier for me to get connected in the LGBT community for a better world. Using culture as a lesbian has not changed in the last 15 years of my activism. Making friendships and collecting information under networks such as this one is very crucial to be stronger. Nobody told me I am beautiful before I came into the feminist movement. The culture and the friendships mean creating out own history and keeping tracks of the international movements.

When asked on about the link of their work to culture, she commented, “Our fight for rights need to accept cultural differences, sufferings. It is a men’s world, and the gay movement is a gay men’s world, so we do not feel bad for keeping our event as Lesbian Festival. Art we are making is very right, and the name “Art for action” is therefor a correct name for us at Novi Sad. I do not know where the survival is if it is not in culture.

Stankovic then continued, after being asked to describe what it is like to be a woman and a lesbian: “When I found out the term lesbian, it was enough for me. I never had to check out some researches to live my identity more. I started living my life.”

The other panelist Jo Hammoud from Helem joined the forum by commenting on the general overview of activism in Lebanon and its link to other movements: “LGBT movement depends on not only local realities but also regional realities. In Lebanon, we seem to witness either “too political” or “two commercial”, and as Helem, we find it important to work with anti-racism and women’s movements. LGBT movement is unique, but I see a lot more to achieve in a non-separative movement.”

He then continued with discussions around social rights and Pride events: “Marriage and Pride are not the ultimate symmbols of gay liberation. We see deeper issues to deal with, the issue is to have a more liberated gay movement.”

Regional Network Against Homophobia meeting that was initiated by Kaos GL in May 2011 and February 2012 is now being organized in the Balkans. The host of the meeting is the organization Queer Zagreb and the dates are April 25-29, 2012. The participating countries of the 3rd meeting are Albania, Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Egypt, France, Georgia, Greece, Iraq, Israel, Lebanon, Montenegro, Palestine, Serbia, the Nedherlands, Tunisia, Turkey and the United States.