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LGBTIQ+ activist Rémy Bonny visited Ljubljana

LGBTIQ+ activist Rémy Bonny visited Ljubljana

“Europe, time to come up?” That was the title of the presentation of the LGBTIQ+ activists Rémy Bonny who visited Ljubljana last week and held a lecture on the development of the LGBTIQ+ politics in the Post-Soviet Republics & Central Eastern European countries. He was invited by Legebitra to share the results of his research and finally the event took place in their premises on December 6th 2018.

Rémy Bonny is a political scientist. As a core of his Bachelor and Master studies at the Free University of Brussels Rémy choose to focus on the LGBTIQ+ topics and devoted his master thesis to research on the LGBTIQ+ politics in Ukraine. The last three years Rémy spent travelling around Eastern Europe conducting field research on the LGBTIQ+ topics and learning more about the LGBTIQ+ community in specific regions. Since September 2018 he has been enrolled at the European Inter-University Centre for Human Rights and Democratisation in Venice and planning to work on his dissertation on the foreign actors supporting the countermovement to LGBTI-equality in post-Cold War Hungary.

Photo: Rémy Bonny 

LGBTIQ+ activists and volunteers of Ljubljana met together in a cozy atmosphere to learn about the current situation of the LGBTIQ+ movements in different countries. Remy focused in his presentation on the countries of Eastern Europe and Post-Soviet Republics. He spoke about the positive and negative aspects of the LGBTIQ+ politics in countries like Russia, Armenia, Romania, Ukraine, Poland, Czech Republic, nevertheless in the Balkan countries and autonomous regions within the Russian Federation like Chechnya. We were discussing different governmental approaches to the LGBTIQ+ community and specific features of every country. Regarding the positive development, the recent failure of the referendum on the definition of marriage in Romania has be mentioned, as well the implementation of the anti-discrimination laws in Ukraine or the planned introduction of the same-sex marriages in the Czech Republic. In all of the countries with the pro-European politics the situation of the LGBTIQ+ community tends to improve.

In the countries with traditionally strong homophobic views within the society, such as e.g. Ukraine, is this positive development towards the LGBTIQ+ community possible mostly due to the influence of the European Union and their requirements to improve the situation of the minorities, not only in the potential candidate countries, but also in the Member states. In this regard Rémy mentioned the fact that the Pride parade in Ukraine is nowadays one of the safest Pride parades worldwide, because of the high number of police forces set on mainly for the protection of the Pride`s participants. Further on, Rémy explained the reasons behind the homophobia in these countries, especially he focused on Russia giving two interpretations for homophobic views: the historic and the power-based interpretation. Under their influence the situation for the LGBTIQ+ community has been deteriorating during the last decade. Among other things Rémy has pointed out, that Russia and their political direction has a great impact on other countries, e. g. Belarus, Kazakhstan, Georgia, Armenia, Mongolia, and this can lead to a negative progression for the LGBTIQ+ politics.

Apart from the negative development of the Russian government`s politics toward the LGBTIQ+ community there is some positive progress in the LGBTIQ+ activisms mainly among the young generation, e. g. the young generation nowadays has a much easier access to information from the “West” than it was the case in the Soviet Union. Many youngsters are now watching the LGBTIQ+ youtubers or listening to queer music and are becoming much more open-minded towards the LGBTIQ+ community. Also, the number of the LGBTIQ+ youtubers whose channels are in Russian language is growing. Last but not least, the most effective tool in the fight for equality appears to be the visibility of the LGBTIQ+ community.

At this point we would like to thank Rémy for his work and are hoping to see him in Ljubljana again. Love is love!

If you are interested in Rémy`s work, you can find out more on www.remybonny.be.

(@flamingo)

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