March 25, 2011
Moldovan activist explains LGBT rights situation
Anti-discrimination laws have recently been brought before the Moldovan Parliament amid protests.
The law seeks to prohibit discrimination on various grounds. However, some MPs have called for the deletion of “sexual orientation” from the draft after apparent pressure from American right-wing evangelists. Earlier this month anti-gay activists held a protest outside Parliament and supporters of the anti-discrimination legislation have been threatened near their homes. Homosexuality was decriminalised in Moldova in 1993.
In a recent interview women’s rights activist, Anastasia Danilova explained the LGBT rights situation in the country at the moment and indicated that the country’s desire to join the European Union means that they must make an effort to progress: “To join the EU, the government needs to demonstrate that it adheres to human rights principles, but this is different in theory versus practice and is going very slowly.”
Danilova mentions that the church is very powerful in Moldova, with 90% of the population identifying themselves as Christian. The church publicly denounces homosexuality as a sin. She also draws attention to the daily discrimination faced by LGBT people, suggesting that those suspected to be gay or lesbian, or those with gay or lesbian parents, face harassment at school. Discrimination is equally rife in workplaces and public places, according to Danilova. It also permeates other aspects of society, as she describes: “I recently tried to secure a place in a domestic violence shelter for a lesbian woman who had experienced abuse from her family, but the shelter refused to take her because she is a lesbian.”
LGBT organisations currently publish two magazines in the country, one aimed at the LGBT community and the other at the general public. The magazines include political articles but also stories and poems from contributors. The organisations are keen to make films, but many people shy away from showing their faces in such a public manner. An annual three-day Pride festival is widely covered by the media.
Danilova has hopes that the younger generation will have different attitudes than their parents. She explains that they go away to study in other European countries and return more open to social change. She hopes that progress can be made in the country: “We are going to keep pushing for this anti-discrimination legislation and keep raising awareness about sexual diversity, along with supporting individual LGBT persons. All these things need to be done simultaneously.”
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