ROMA LGBT

The subject of LGBT+ people of Romani origin and their multiple discrimination is one we began dedicating ourselves to intensively in 2014, when we held the historically first official meeting in the Czech Republic of gays and lesbians of Romani origin. For security reasons, that event was practically held in secret and its outputs were anonymized, but even so, information about the meeting was abundantly disseminated through the community and the entire event got a great response. In the following years we brought up this subject at international level and held two conferences about LGBT people of Romani origin during which we established the European LGBTIQ-Roma Platform, the long-term aim of which is to advocate for this minority’s rights at the level of communities and in politics.

2014
NATIONAL LGBT WORKSHOP

This historically first organized meeting of gays and lesbians of Romani origin was held in the spring of 2014. Its aim was chiefly to attempt to verbalize our life experiences – which are frequently tragic and unprocessed – as well as to communicate positive experiences and stories. This meeting was attended by 20 Romani youth from all over the Czech Republic and involved several arts workshops and seminars on human rights subjects. 
That workshop led to the establishment of an informal but rather stable group of people who, during the year, attended some of the other events that were organized by ARA ART - for example, by joining the Romani float in the 2014 Prague Pride parade. Several people became ARA ART’s permanent co-workers and the faces of our LGBT activities.

2015
THE FIRST INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE OF LGBT PEOPLE OF ROMANI ORIGIN


The first international conference of LGBT+ people of Romani origin was attended by 28 gays and lesbians of Romani origin from 12 different countries. The conference was three days long, from 13-15 August 2015, and culminated in the establishment of the International LGBTIQ-Roma Platform and in the adoption of the Prague Declaration, eight points that formulated the basic problems and challenges facing the LGBT+ people of Romani origin in Europe. The auxiliary program to the conference was a unique performance by the Theatre of the Oppressed as well as the cultural program accompanying the Prague Pride festival.

2016
THE SECOND INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE OF LGBT PEOPLE OF ROMANI ORIGIN

One year later, we continued the work of the International LGBTIQ-Roma Platform at another conference of several days’ duration. The representatives of eminent organizations able to aid with promoting the rights of LGBT+ people of Romani origin were also invited, such as the European Commission, the European Roma Rights Centre, the Open Society Foundations and others. The platform also grew to include several more members and planned more meetings and work for those members to do in their own countries and in their own organizations.

2017
THE “I WILL SAY IT” COUNSELLING CENTRE

In 2017 we established a specialized counselling centre for gays and lesbians of Romani origin and their families and friends. This functions both online (through e-mail, Facebook or Messenger) and in the field. Our consultants, LGBT people of Romani origin, are available in four different regions of the Czech Republic and to date have provided more than 500 consultations and interventions. The counselling centre online is still in operation today; for more information, take a look here.