Imagine your child just came out to you, you had no idea yesterday what "LGBT" even
means and now you are faced with the prospect of your loved child living a life of social
marginalisation, higher risks of harrassment, institutional discrimination, possible rejection by community and family, and you feel powerless.
With this project we will provide support for parents of LGBTI+ people to connect with each other and mobilize them to take action for social justice of this community.
Slovenia, Koroška region, mostly Slovenj Gradec, some activities around the whole country.
In Slovenia there are, except for counselling, no programs or activities that target or include parents of LGBTI+s. The level of acceptance and support of LGBTI+s from their parents affects a persons’ mental health and the level of self-harming behaviour they engage in (eg. rejected LGBTI+ youth are 8 times more likely to attempt suicide, from Family Project).
In Slovenia, especially rural and isolated regions like Koroška, the level of knowledge about LGBTI+ topics is scarce as are the activities targeted to LGBTI+s or ensuring them a safer space (pretty much non-existent), discrimination and stigma levels are high.
With the project we want to empower parents of LGBTI+s to take action against the discrimination their children are facing by providing a supportive network for them.
We want to give parents of LGBTI+s a support network where they can discuss their fears and questions with other parents that are going through the same experience and thus lifting the weight of the support from their children (who need their parents’ support, not the other way around).
Through providing parents with support, information and tools we are going to empower them to take action for LGBTI+ equality (activism, sharing knowledge about LGBTI+ issues and advocating for LGBTI+ rights out of their families), in their communities in Koroška region. We plan to implement similar activities in other regions after (or already during) the duration of this project.
Our main target group are parents of LGBTI+s in Koroška region and Slovenia. The group is itself very diverse: different socio-economic statuses, political and religious views, outlook on human rights and LGBTI+ issues. They deal very differently with their childrens’ coming outs and their acceptance/rejection levels can vary wildly (less than 50 % of LGBTI+s in Slovenia feel fully accepted by their parents, from Ljubljana Pride). We will offer all of them a safe space to discuss their fears and concerns regardless of their starting attitude.
LGBTI+ persons will be included in the project, mainly in events targeted to them and their parents. The interviews will include persons from Slovenia; rural areas, cities, with different experiences, coming from a variety of backgrounds.
We are going to implement a new multidimensional approach aiming at mobilizing parents for civic engagement against discrimination their children have to tackle. The activities are meetings with foreign parent organizations to improve the capacity of DIH, a research including interviews with LGBTI+s, parents and siblings to determine the situation and needs of LGBTI+s (publishing and distributing), creating materials for parents (leaflets, booklet, videos), 10 social gatherings for parents (with their children) and 5 workshops for parents, to build up the community, 2 roundtable meetings, with related stakeholders to increase the effectiveness of the project, to promote the idea and share the results of the research to mobilize other NGOs for this topic.
The biggest achievement is going to be the group of parents, mobilized to stand up for and with their LGBTI+ children against discrimination in Koroška. It is highly possible that after this project, parents will maintain the activism and attempt to reach out to other parents to support them with our supervision. Because during the project, parents will be encouraged to start up their own projects and through workshops they will be furnished with the crucial qualifications to implement their ideas. Outcomes of the research will be the basis for us and other stakeholders to frame projects in future on this topic. Consequently all the results mentioned above will positively impact the relationship between LGBTI+s and their parents. The knowledge on LGBTI+ topics in the region will improve.
The project has a target group with very diverse political stances and connects it with a
marginalised community, providing participation to the citizens' life both from the viewpoint of the LGBTI+ community as well as from the population of parents. For Koroška area this is a first initiative of this kind and will make a big difference for the LGBTI+ people and their parents there, but also create a space to be inspired by for other towns and regions that have a need for these activities. The project will strengthen the Slovene public involvement by activating a societal group that has been inactive in terms of LGBTI+ so far and through the collaboration with other organisations in Europe who have dealt with this topic, the wave will be sent further to those who have not yet started.
Receiving family acceptance has shown big influence in the health and well-being of LGBTI+ people, whereas rejection has the opposite effect. Our motivation comes from practical knowledge that learning to accept your child as LGBTI+ may not be easy and having a platform with support and guidance in the process is helpful in moving forward. The mission is reaching for an aphasic topic concerning LGBTI+s, encouraging better dialogue between parents and LGBTI+ children, participating in building healthier forms of relationships, guide and motivate parents in finding ways to support their children, offering an open community to the parents of LGBTI+s. Also increasing the understanding about sexual orientation, gender identity and increasing parent activism.
Funding requested from Civic Europe
Personnel costs: 35.000 €
Design, proofreading, translation and publishing: 7.000 €
Event costs: 2.500 €
Video costs: 3.500 €
Travel costs: 1.000 €
Office expenses: 1.000 €
We would like to receive feedback on the used approaches, the vision of the project idea, what we did well and what can be done for further improvement in the creation process, management and implementation. Advice or comments of the planned outcome, the benefit and the impact of intended actions.