Pink Pearls Magazine Issue Nr. 5
presents the European lesbian scene
Anastasia Danilova from Moldova:
‘Freedom is a great achievement’
Since April 2010, Anastasia Danilova is executive director of the information center GenderDoc-M, the only organization in Moldova that stands up for the rights of the LGBT community. Which is necessary. We asked Anastasia to tell us something about the situation in her country and what GenderDoc-M does there.
Can you tell us something about the rights of the LGBT community in Moldova at the moment?
“Moldova is orthodox country where gay and lesbian people are being considered as sick and unworthy. The LGBT community in Moldova is therefore excluded from every social framework and the fundamental rights of this group are being violated every day. Let alone any attention for the specific needs of the group. There is no anti-discrimination act or policy that focuses on the integration of lesbians, homosexuals, bisexuals and transgenders in this society. Besides this, governmental institutions are incapable of providing services to this group.”
Can you explain what GenderDoc-M does for the Moldovan LGBT community?
“The main goal is the integration of the LGBT community in society by drawing attention to the interests of this group. This happens by rendering social, psychological and medical services and information, and developing a relationship with the state and social structures on a national and international level. Genderdoc-M also organizes the Moldovan LGBT Pride. Each year attention is drawn to a number of important things: realizing anti-discrimination laws and considering the freedom of discussion, expression and union in Moldova. We organize a summer school for gays and lesbians, discussion groups, workshops and information meetings to support the community fighting for their rights.”
The tenth Pride of Moldova has taken place in May, for the first time without any attempt to hold a public event. Have people been molested during previous Prides or LGBT manifestations?
“A striking example is the ban on a peaceful manifestation of GenderDoc-M in May 2008 to draw attention to anti-discrimination laws in Moldova. Our organization decided to ignore this ban, but an aggressive crowd stopped us. They prevented our bus from driving on and threatened us with slogans such as ‘tear them out and beat them up’ and ‘let’s beat them to death!’ 3, 4, 500 people have been seen around the bus. Especially youngsters, some of them looking like skinheads. The police did nothing, which nipped our manifestation in the bud. We took the case to court and in March 2009 the judge stated that the mayor had acted rightfully by banning our manifestation.”
How did you get in touch with EU Member of Parliament Marije Cornelissen?
“Since 2001 GenderDoc-M is a member of ILGA Europe. In 10 years time this organization has set up various projects to collect evidence of legal and social discrimination against the LGBT community, there were lobby’s and campaigns. They advised us to get in touch with Marije Cornelissen of GroenLinks in Europe, after which I have invited her in April 2010 to take part in the Moldovan LGBT festival ‘Rainbow over the Dniester’. Her participation was important for the results of the conference ‘Solving Transgender Problems: the Role of NGOs’, which took place during the Pride. The voice of an influential politician is always louder than ours and will be heard better by the local policymakers. GenderDoc-M has also asked the European Union to support its goals.”
Last year you have taken part in the Gay Pride Amsterdam, on the boat of GroenLinks. What did you think of that?
“Taking part in the Amsterdam Pride is an unforgettable experience. In Moldova you cannot openly be a lesbian. That is why I really wanted to be part of this what I call ‘celebration of diversity’. In my country, children are being told that homosexuality is a bad and dirty thing. I was really surprised how many children came to the Amsterdam Pride together with their parents. And they were all smiling and waving with their rainbow flags. So beautiful, it almost made me cry.”
In the Netherlands we all think this is quite normal. What is your message to the Dutch lesbian women?
“Freedom is a great achievement. Some consider it as self-evident and may think it’s normal to be whoever you are. And it is, but it’s also good to realize that others have to fight really hard to be accepted for who they are.”
Do you agree with possible EU sanctions for a country like Moldova when this keeps violating the rights of the LGBT community?
“Definitely. Our government has signed various international agreements, but it doesn’t respect the rights they contain at all. Moldova is now executing the EU Moldova action plan to liberalize the visa policy for the inhabitants of our country. One of the preconditions that need to be met is adoption of substantial anti-discrimination laws, including the protection of and respect for the rights of people with another sexual orientation. However, many Moldovan politicians have a homophobic attitude and therefore don’t dare to vote in favor of this act.”
What is the type of help Europe can mostly support – amongst others – lesbian women from Moldova with? Will support through Facebook contribute?
“Our organization has its own page on Facebook. You can add us and declare your support, sign online petitions to support our public manifestations and share information about the situation of our LGBT community. Last year, when Marije invited me and other activists, the site of GroenLinks showed a map with little rainbow flags that marked the countries participating to the Pride in Amsterdam. After that, many people added me as a friend and I received messages from people who didn’t even know me, but who wanted to declare their support. That is very encouraging!”
GenderDoc-M was founded in 1998 by Alexei Marcicov. He contributed to the growth and development of the organization and its image as a successful and respected organization on a national and international level. The direct target group is the LGBT community in Moldova. Indirect target groups are the society, journalists, psychologists, educationists, lawyers, doctors, social workers, state institutions and politicians and professional groups that work with the LGBT community. GenderDoc-M involves many groups in society with its activities. The social integration of LGBTs does not only depend on the lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders themselves, but also on parents and family members, law enforcement officers, educational institutions, institutions that are involved in human rights, et cetera. GenderDoc-M has mapped the needs of the LGBT community and worked out a strategic plan. It stimulates the development of national and international cooperation, it lobbies and it tries to encourage its direct target group to be visible in society and participate in social and political life in Moldova. Just like everybody else does.
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