Dates: 27.9. – 4.10. 2010
Venue: Vilanova i la Geltrú, Spain
Organiser: Catalunya Voluntaria
Participating countries: Italy, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Turkey and Romania
Participants: Ondřej Mocek (group leader), Petr Šandera, Věra Žemličková, Karel Zeman, Jan Likavčan
Participants’ profiles: We expect the participation of lesbians/gay guys as heterosexuals too, in order to create a heterogenic space of discussion and to share more different points of views as possible… The participants should be members or activist of the gay movement or have an interest on the topic.
The gay and lesbian youth are at a disadvantage and social isolation. The difficulty in accepting and being accepted by their environment causes them to live much of their adolescence and youth with communication barriers with people around them, often living with harassment and always feeling different. In this context, it is vital to provide an environment in which, as noted in the name of the exchange, for the first time not to feel different and “weird”, and just to enjoy being with other young people with similar experiences.
The idea of organizing this youth exchange came into being out of experiences of parents associations of lesbians and gay men, who often generate spaces for their children in their encounters, where they can relate independently. Although these experiences are very specific and of short-term (maximum one weekend), the youngster who come experience an impressive change: to feel that they are not alone in the world, to establish relations of friendship, to share concerns and experiences with people who also have experienced them.
From here comes the idea to offer this kind of opportunity, as to say to have a space to share problems, experiences and ideas and to use this meeting for discussions about the general idea of discrimination and what nowadays society regards as “ordinary” taking in consideration the different views or perceptions in different countries. What does it mean to be normal? What are the troublemakers (like discrimination, intolerance, …).
Facing these problems the youngster, both homo and heterosexuals, shall be become prepared to neutralize the mechanisms of discrimination and not to suffer from them anymore, or even to use them, change them and become more self-confident to express themselves freely.
-The objectives are:
- Create a surrounding in which the young gays and lesbians can socialize with people from different countries who are in the same situations, without feeling different from the group.
- Agree on problems of the young gays and lesbians and make proposals to solve them.
- Share experiences of homophobia and the different ways to answer it.
- Know the paper of the European Union as a guarantor of equality for lesbians and gays and consider how this role could be deepened.
The exchange will focus on the situation of young gay and lesbian in Europe (GLBT) and how to improve their rights through effective campaigns and actions. The programme will include visits to projexts related to gay rights in Barcelona and Vilanova, meetings with associations and government offices and work on ground. The idea is to exchange the best practices and experiences in every country and to contribute to the participation of gay people in society
Catalonia and Spain have become an important place in Europe in relation to the gay rights. Recently the law has allowed gay people to get married, and there is a strong civic network about gay rights which is influential towards the authorities. The Municipality of Barcelona has set up an european network of gay friendly cities and there is even a Union of Gay Policeman to make police corps more aware about the gay identity. All this improvements had happen quite recently and have been possible because the youth movements like the Youth Council, NGos and political parties have worked together and as a network to make it possible
The exchange would like to figure out the situation of gay people in the different participant countries, the achievements and improvements so far won and the transfer of good practices on how to campaign about that.