Lesbo is a Slovene political,
social and cultural non-profit making quarterly. Its founder
and publisher is the lesbian
group ŠKUC-LL.
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Nataša Velikonja:
Shari Benstock:
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ILGA - Europe

Balkan Lesbian Connections

Political Action

The advocacy of equal opportunity, the promotion of civil and human rights, the introduction of anti-discriminatory legislation, the abolishment of institutionalised discrimination and homophobia, the improvement of the social status of gay-men and lesbians. Political activism is formed through public engagement, dialogue and pressure tactics, it is aimed at state as well as international institutions the general public and the media. The cooperation with international GLBT movement (International Lesbian and Gay Association) and conceptually related activist initiatives within the local framework (UZI-Office For Interventions; CNVOS-Centre of Non Governmental Organizations of Slovenia, etc.).

Ljubljana, February 2nd 2005

Ljubljana, January 1st 2005

Ljubljana, December 24th 2004

Ljubljana, September 14th 2002
The final document from the seminar of lesbian NGOs from
former Yugoslavia


The final document from the seminar of lesbian NGOs from
former Yugoslavia

The seminar "Equal Citizenship", a meting of lesbian NGOs from the states and regions of former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, was held in Ljubljana, Slovenia from September 12 to 14, 2002. The meeting gathered 40 representatives of lesbian NGOs and individual activists from Croatia, Serbia, Vojvodina, Kosovo, Macedonia and Slovenia. The main goal of the seminar was an exchange of information, experience and knowledge among lesbian activists, a development of joint working strategies for the future, and an examination of realization of the working platform adopted at the previous meeting in Rovinj in 2001.

REGIONAL LESBIAN NETWORK is the basic form of networking between lesbian NGOs from the states and regions of former Republic of Yugoslavia. Groups (NGOs) and individual activists, members of the network, have made a commitment for mutual cooperation, support and solidarity with a view to achieve the common goal, namely combating discrimination and creating equal human and civil rights for lesbian women. A continuous exchange of information, experience and knowledge will assist in achieving this goal. A regular and stable communication is enabled by way of a special
E-mailing list
for the members of the Regional Lesbian Network.

If necessary, the Regional Lesbian Network will start an Ad hoc coalition, which will be the basis for efficient joint actions in case of emergency or any other special need.

Demands. With this document we unanimously demand of the governments of the respective countries to make the following changes in legislation:

- National constitutions must explicitly prohibit any discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation.
- Explicit sanctions must be introduced into Penal Code for violations of human and civil rights of LGBT citizens. Family law must introduce reforms in the light of protection of same-sex partnerships, including the right of foreign partners to gain citizenship.
- Laws regarding parental, adoption and reproductive rights must allow equal rights for all women regardless to their sexual orientation or marital status.
- Public schools and education systems must respect the right of each citizen to unbiased and neutral information on homosexuality.
- Public media must be aware of their responsibility for creating public opinion about marginalized social groups in the society.

We call upon all the countries within the region to establish laws and mechanisms for implementation of equal rights for same-sex oriented women in all aspects of daily life and work.

* * *

Content of the seminar. The participants analyzed the situation of lesbian women in regard to society, state, family, and legislation. Special attention was given to the question of legislation reforms, developing infrastructure of lesbian NGOs and public media attitude towards lesbian issues.

Assessment of the current situation. In the year between the two seminars there were no significant changes in legislation, apart from Croatia where several bills concerning the protection of LGBT rights were initiated. No country within the region legally recognizes same-sex relationships. Stigmatization and discrimination of lesbians and general homophobia are topical problems, urging systematic solutions.

Needs. The situation and status of lesbian women differs from one state to another, however in all the states within the region the situation demands organized activities and articulated common action of lesbian NGOs. In some parts of the region, LGBT rights are completely ignored and social situation of lesbian women is "invisible". Those areas demand special attention. The Regional Lesbian Network took a decision to stimulate the development and support the formation of new groups in this areas.

Examination of conclusions from the seminar in 2001. Some goals stipulated in the final document from the meeting of lesbian NGOs in 2001 were fulfilled, while most of them still need to be worked on. The goals that were fulfilled include the exchange of knowledge, information, and mutual support of NGOs during the organization of national Pride Parades (Zagreb, Ljubljana, Belgrade).

Future meetings and structure. The communication, cooperation and exchange of information will be intensified between annual meetings. In the future, the meetings will be organized either as topic-oriented seminars for lesbian activists or regional conferences for a larger number of participants.
A long-term plan is to integrate the Regional Lesbian Network into similar international networks and associations. The meeting in 2003 will be organized by Labris (Beograd) and Kontra (Zagreb). The meeting in 2004 is planed to take place in Priština (Kosovo).

Kontra, Zagreb
Lori, Rijeka
Labris, Belgrade
Lambda, Niš
LP, Priština
SKUC-LL, Ljubljana
& individual activists

Ljubljana, September 14, 2002

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