October 27, 2020

Celebrating 8 years of the LGBTI Support Center!

On the occasion of the celebration of the 8th anniversary of the LGBTI Support Center, today, in the social community space “Committee”, a meeting took place between Ambassador David Geer and activists that have been fighting for the rights of the LGBTI+ community in the country, united in the National Network Against Homophobia and Transphobia (NNHT).

The joined meeting opened an opportunity for discussion of burning topics of today, as adoption of the Law on prevention and protection against discrimination and the process of EU integration, but also some of the accomplishments of the hard work in the past. 

Ambassador Geer emphasised the importance of the Law on anti-discrimination to be adopted, as well as anti-discrimination Commission to result with appointment of professionals who will efficiently raise awareness and protect all citizens from discrimination. EU assistance has been offered to the authorities and CSOs in improving the legal framework and practices towards LGBTI people. However, in the period ahead, greater and joined efforts will be of crucial importance respect of LGBTI people’s human rights to be significantly improved.

The past years have been challenging for LGBTI organizations and activists, but the motivation for equality is stronger than ever. What is really important in the upcoming period for the country in the light of the EU integration process, is the harmonization of our legislation with the EU acquis which includes advancement of LGBTI rights in the country. NNAHT with its members, expects to be an active participant during this important process, working together with other stakeholders towards society free of discrimination and with equal opportunities for all citizens.

In the process of promoting and fighting for the rights of the LGBTI community, it is especially important to have strong allies and support, especially in the form we had from the previous Parliament through the Inter-Party Parliamentary Group for the advancement of LGBTI rights. This group was one of the most active and successful groups in the Parliament in the last couple of years and we work with dedication to establish the Group again, within the new composition of the Parliament. 

In the last few years we have improved part of the legal framework, but unfortunately we also experienced processes in which LGBTI rights were not high on the political agenda and remained waiting for better times. The law on prevention and protection against discrimination was adopted, which for the first time provided protection against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, but we also faced its abolition. We have experienced poor implementation of the Criminal Code in the protection against hate crimes based on sexual orientation and gender identity, impunity for hate speech against LGBTI people and lack of a series of legal solutions that will adequately address the problems and needs of this community.

Despite all these challenges, activists and the community continue to work daily to improve the state of LGBTI rights in the country and the lives of the people from the community. The meeting is a good first step for cooperation and joint effort in what remains before us, a united fight for equality for all.

The meeting was hosted by representatives from the LGBTI Support Centre, including the Program Director Kocho Andonovski, the Advocacy Program Coordinator Jovana Jovanovska Kanurkova, the Manager of the Safe House Zorica Nikolovska and the Executive Director Uranija Pirovska. The meeting was attended by representatives from partner organizations part of NNHT, from “Coalition Margins” Irena Cvetkovikj and Elena Petrovska and from “Subversive Front” Antonio Mihajlovski.