Strategic litigation and safe spaces

Mawjoudin - we exist (c) privatMawjoudin — we exist in Tunisia

Houyem studied law. Currently she is preparing her master thesis on the legal protection of whistleblowers. Her professor considered this topic as to challenging but she insisted on it. Houyem has a very clear vision. She wants to change things. And she prefers the strategic approach. Houyem is a member of Mawjoudin — we exist, a Tunisian organization that promotes SOGIESC rights (sexual orientation, gender identity and expression and sex characteristics) and gender equality.  Starting with a Facebook page in 2013, it became a registered organization in early 2015. Mawjoudin is not the only LGBTIQ organization in Tunisia. But its the most recent one and its growing fast.


Artivists” for LGBTIQ

"Artivists" of Zwewla (c) privatZwewla” — An art project in Tunisia

Walking with Oussama through the narrow streets of Tunis’ old Medina, it quickly becomes apparent how he continuously connects with people in his hometown; he is a very communicative and open-minded guy.

Oussama describes himself as an “Artivist”, implying a form of activism that expresses itself by means of arts.Together with his friends, he founded the group of „Zwewla“ (tun dialect: “the miserables”). The Zwewla wants to change the situation of the Tunisian society by using art as its medium: graffiti, music and dancing are only some examples. Members of the group believe that the principle of “support instead of Punishment” provides the most effective strategy to achieve their goals: Support through better education, improved public health and the protection of minorities, including, but not limited to LGBTIQ


Lesbian Spring in Tunisia?!

Amina (c) privatAmina, 21, Sidi BouSaid, Tunesia

When I talk to Amina and listen to what she says I am deeply impressed by the strength she shows, her power, her energy. I wonder, if a young woman of 21 years can seriously be so self confident and positive about what she does. Amina gives home to young people who have been thrown out of their homes by their parents because they are gay or lesbian. Amina just finished her High School and her plan is to study political science in the near future. She lives in a place called Sidi BouSaid. It’s a small town north east of Tunis, with nice small houses painted in white and blue. Up the hill you have a beautiful view of the open Mediterranean Sea. Amina lives in the neighborhood on the top of the hill. She says that the people who live here like her. They know her well, although she is different. The waiter in the local restaurant where I am having dinner with her obliviously knows her and when communicating they kind of play with each other. It seems to me that this older man has a lot of respect and appreciation for Amina. Her arms are covered with tattoos and she likes to smoke and to enjoy a glass of wine. 


Support and Advocacy for Intersex in Uganda

Julius Kaganzi KaggwaStatement of Julius Kaganzi Kaggwa, Director of SIPD Uganda 

Support Initiative for People with Congenital Disorders Uganda (SIPD) is based in Kampala and we work with clients in Kampala but have our outreach in 50 districts outside of Kampala, covering Western, Eastern, Central, and Northern Uganda, with a client base of 1.400 clients. These comprise intersex and gender non-conforming children and youth and some adults. We provide information, support parents of intersex children, advocate for intersex persons rights, create awareness, provide public education, and do capacity building for stakeholders. This is done through public meetings, radio and television broadcasts, newspaper articles, documentaries and these are distributed through community meetings, local and regional partners, district health centers, parents. They are distributed to policy makers in government, healthcare workers in the community, government ministries (health and education), parents, clients, and general public during mainstream meetings to which we are invited. 


We share the same values”

LSVD-Bundesvorstand Axel HochreinDragon‘s Ball 2016 — LSVD-Bundesvorstand Axel Hochrein’s Speech 

Your Excellency, Dear Marta,
Dear Matej and Matej,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Dear Friends,

It is not only a pleasure for me and my husband Andreas, being part of this special event, it is an honor for me, to convey the solidary greetings of friendship from my organization, the Lesbian and Gay Federation in Germany, to you all.

We share the same values, we stand together in our conviction: we have to improve the European Union as a place, where minorities are not only tolerated but respected and treated with equal rights.

An Europe where discrimination of people has no place, not because of sexual identity and gender orientation, and not for any other reason, like belonging to an ethnic group, religion, disability, descent or political views.

We are all fighting and tonight — of course — celebrating for nothing less — or nothing more — then the fulfilling of a promise, which we can read as the first sentence in very important document which is 68 years old: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights. And Article One says: “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights”. 


Constant threat

Logo ASWATHuman Rights Organization “Aswat” on the current situation of LGBTQI in Morocco.

Aswat is an independent non-profit group in Morocco, working on gender and sexuality issues related to sexual minorities. The group pursues a peaceful commitment to fight against discrimination against lesbians, gays, bisexual, transgender, transsexual and intersex in Morocco. The group operates two pages on facebook, “collectif Aswat” and “Aswat Magazine LGBT” and a website.  Guido Schäfer of Hirschfeld-Eddy Foundation has conducted the interview on June 1st, 2016. (Deutsche Übersetzung)

Hirschfeld Eddy Foundation (HES): The German parliament has decided on May, 13 to put Morocco on the so called list of “safe countries of origin”. In case this change becomes effective, this means for Moroccan applicants for asylum that a summary procedure applies in Germany which reduces the deadlines for decision, appeal and deportation each in general to one week only. This would significantly reduce the chance of a fair procedure. How safe is Morocco for LGBTQI?

Hirschfeld-Eddy-Stiftung Projekte

Equal footing?

The Yogyakarta Alliance: A postcolonial course of action

deutsche Fassung des ArtikelsYogyakarta-Allianz-2015

No offense, but your countries came to our countries and violently took what wasn´t yours and left gay people outlawed.” This statement by Kenyan lawyer Imani Kimiri at a meeting of the Yogyakarta Alliance crystallizes the asymmetrical relationship between the countries of the North and the South.

Her position is informed by postcolonial theory. It sees colonialism as a major source of current global power relations, and a major reason behind the persecution of homosexuals in many African states. It seeks to move beyond the categories of thought that were typical of colonialism. It is indebted to deconstructionism, and critically examines the foundations of power. It is a call to critique the self, and to reflect on privileges and power relations. It focuses on representations, namely on ideas and images of the Other, plus the resulting interactions. 


With great concern”

Badr BaabouInterview with Badr Baabou, president and co-founder of “Damj” on the current situation of LGBTQI in Tunisia (Interview auf Deutsch)

Hirschfeld Eddy Foundation (HES): Hello Badr. Tunisia is the only country in which one has the impression that the so-called Arab spring, which started in Tunisia in 2010 with so much hope, has led to an improvement in the human rights situation. How has this impacted on the situation of LGBTQI?

Badr Baabou: Unfortunately, the situation of the LGBTQI community is not good. LGBTQI still experience discrimination in everyday life, violence and arbitrary arrests. To be gay in Tunisia, is a crime and will be punished under Tunisian law. Under article 230 of the Penal Code, sodomy is punishable with three years prison (Note: also same-sex sexual acts are understood under sodomy in many Arab countries, especially between men).

HES: And this provision is applied in practice?

Badr: On 6 September 2015 a young student was jailed based on article 230. The wording of the provision does not clearly state whether the accused must be immediately caught in a sexual act or whether it is sufficient if he is merely suspected to have had sex with the same gender. The legal system in Tunisia can revert to instruments such as the “anal test” to confirm the accusations. Such a “medical investigation” was carried out in the case of Marwen to prove previous repeated anal penetration. Marwen was sentenced to one year in prison. But Marwen was not the first victim that was persecuted because of article 230. 


Regenbogenempfang in lettischer Hauptstadt

 Jörg Steinert vom LSVD Berlin-Brandenburg mit dem deutschen Botschafter Rolf Schütte LSVD Berlin-Brandenburg zu Gast

Am 28. April 2016 veranstaltete der deutsche Botschafter in Lettland, Rolf Schütte, einen Regenbogenempfang in seiner Residenz in Riga. Der Einladung folgten lettische LGBT-Aktivistinnen und Aktivisten, Engagierte der Baltic HIV Association, die bekannte Journalistin Rita Rudusa sowie die Botschafter der Niederlanden und von Kanada. Zugleich zeigte die weitestgehende Abwesenheit der lettischen Abgeordneten – mit nur einer Ausnahme –, wie wenig Zuspruch das Thema Homosexualität in Lettland nach wie vor erfährt. Die Gespräche am Abend bestätigten diesen Eindruck, weder aus Politik noch aus Zivilgesellschaft gibt es Zuspruch für die lettische homosexuelle Emanzipationsbewegung. Besonders stolz sind die Aktivistinnen und Aktivisten daher auf den EuroPride, der 2015 in Riga stattfand, obwohl er von drei Viertel der Menschen in Riga abgelehnt wurde, so eine Umfrage des lettischen Zentrums für soziologische Forschung SKDS. Lesben, Schwule, Bisexuelle und Transgender in Lettland sind daher besonders auf internationale Kooperationen angewiesen. Bereits 2010 hatte die Hirschfeld-Eddy-Stiftung  die Konferenz „Human Rights and Homosexuality – Past, Present, Future“ unterstützt. Dabei konnte u.a. das Buchprojekt „Forced Underground. Homosexuals in Soviet Latvia“ realisiert werden.

Der Regenbogenempfang in der Botschafterresidenz wurde mit einem persönlichen Grußwort des Geschäftsführers des Lesben- und Schwulenverbandes Berlin-Brandenburg, Jörg Steinert, eröffnet:

Hirschfeld-Eddy-Stiftung Veranstaltungen

We’re just getting started!” Discussing a postcolonial course of action for LGBTI

Oumar Diallo, Leiter Afrikahausdeutsche Fassung des Artikels

On 11 November 2015 the Afrikahaus hosted a panel discussion on LGBTI project work. Organized in conjunction with the Hirschfeld-Eddy Foundation, the panel used examples from different African countries and focused on the question: “How is postcolonial work for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex (LGBTI) possible?” The panelists were independent scholar Dr. Rita Schäfer, Uta Schwenke from the board of the Lesbian and Gay Federation in Germany (LSVD), and Naana Lorbeer from Queeramnesty Deutschland. The moderator was journalist Pascal Thibaut.

Discussions of hostility and violence against lesbians, gay men, bisexual, transgender and intersex people (LGBTI) differ based on the country in question. South Africa, for example, has one of the world’s most progressive constitutions, yet sees considerable violence against lesbian women. Many African countries criminalize homosexual relationships. Almost all of these laws were introduced during the colonial period. In light of this background, how is it even possible to pursue postcolonial project work for LGBTI rights?