Ljubljana Pride Association
LGBT+ life in Slovenia is completely concentrated in the capital while rural areas are conservative and skeptic of anything "different". Our solution: we bring the LGBT+ in those areas! We will rent a van, fill it with informational materials, LGBT+ youth to share their stories and set up drop-in LGBT+ info space in public areas in villages and towns, as well as connect with local stakeholders to organise workshops for youth. We are here and we are queer!
Rural villages and smaller towns all around Slovenia
Slovenia is highly centralised, noticably so when it concerns LGBT+. There is still a lot of stigma present around these identities, at the same time there are no organised and regular LGBT+ activities as almost all are based in the capital. But lack of those and the LGBT+ safe spaces are just the tip of the iceberg. The environment is not only unwelcoming, but hostile and toxic. LGBT+ people in rural areas tend to be closeted about their identities, thus their (and LGBT+ community) visibility is very limited. Consequently LGBT+ people don't have adequate support, social network and they feel alone, where as non-LGBT+ locals are completely unaware of (tough) LGBT+ realities, reinforcing their prejudice and strengthening the stigma.
By providing knowledge on LGBT+ topics and issues and enabling sharing of LGBT+ realities, we will on one hand empower the local LGBT+ people, help them build a more positive self-image and connect them with other LGBT+ individuals and groups, help them realise they are not alone. It will support them to live their lives more authentically and open. On the other hand, we will challenge negative stereotypes and prejudice of the other locals and thus making the first steps towards building solidarity. Furthermore, workshops will deepen awareness on LGBT+ among youth, enabling reflections on privilege and oppression. Lastly, we will inspire and support LGBT+ locals to come together, organise and create their own initiatives, thus enabling active citizenship and participation.
This project engages with the local LGBT+ individuals, general youth and the people on the streets, all of whom we anticipate to have quite diverse opinions on the issue as the LGBT+ topic is highly politicised and controversial. It is rarely seen as a human right issue.
As mentioned before, exactly these differences in opinions make life harder for them.
From research, we can expect that 10% of the population is LGBT+, which in a typical Slovenian town still means approximately 700 people - that means 700 are stigmatised, divided and excluded.
Preparation (2 months): preparing the informational leaflets, communication strategy, promotional materials, start communication with local organisations and spaces.
Implementation (2 months): putting plans into practise - we will on a weekly basis rent a van, decorate it to make it more visible and go to different rural ares. There we will set drop-in LGBT+ info centre in the streets, where we will engage with locals providing information, offering support and materials with the use of participatory and creative methods (e.i. storytelling). We will also implement LGBT 101 workshops in local youth spaces. Weekly we will visit at least 3 villages/smaller towns, in total more than 25.
Evaluation (1 month): Taking our learnings and strategically looking into where we can go from there.
Locals will get a positive experience of LGBT+ people and consequently challenge own prejudice and/or fears of LGBT+ community. They will learn how they can co-create safer spaces in their local community and practise acceptance and inclusion.
Local LGBT+ individuals and the ones questioning their identities will be better informed, aware they are not alone, gain new support networks and feel empowered.
Participants of the workshops will gain comprehensive and specific knowledge around LGBT+ topics. In total, local communities we had visited will be more aware of LGBT+ issues, willing to engage and practise solidarity.
In the uncertain times people tend to lean towards more extreme political options, and as we can currently witness, this is already happening in Europe. Especially with and after covid-19, whose risk has (in some countries, including Slovenia) been used as a cover to turn towards retraditionalization and oppression.
Our initiative supports understanding the concept of human rights, it challenges people’s perception and reality by providing them the much-needed contact with people with diverse identities. It also builds on participation and empowers mobilisation and motivation for change. In that way, it is trying to set the ground for understanding the democratic values and processes.
Our organisations’ mission is to contribute to the establishment of a society that will be non-discriminatory, inclusive and open to all individuals, regardless of their gender, sexual orientation, sexual identity or any other personal circumstanceIt. It is partially our own experiences of life which made us feel the big gap in the quality of life between urban and rural places we come from, as well as other LGBTIQ+ youth reporting on conservative environment “back home”. Those who move to Ljubljana report on experiencing the bigger acceptance, diversity, basically a “renaissance” in Ljubljana. At the same time, we see the power of intervention in everyday reality - we want to shake the firmly laid foundations of conservative thought and show to the people our true colours.
Funding requested from Civic Europe
Personnel costs: 25.000 €
Van rental: 7.000 €
Equipment and material expenses: 5.000 €
Promotion: 3.000 €
Activity costs: 8.000 €
Indirect costs 2.000 €
We would be grateful for both technical “could you please elaborate...” comments, as well as to hear what people genuinely thought of the idea!