Prisma

According to various researches and statistics, Slovakia is one of the countries with the highest rates of homophobia and racism in the European Union. For this reason, civic organisations that fight for the rights of minorities, whether national or sexual, are extremely important. One of the key non-governmental organisations is PRIZMA, a counselling center in Košice that focuses on the LGBT+ community. Richard Langdon, a young transgender Roma, works there.

Richard is one of the most prominent personalities of the Roma LGBT+ community (and not only that) in Slovakia. So he is an amplified activist – he is proud of both his ethnicity and sexual orientation and fights for the rights of both minorities in PRIZMA, where he helps LGBT+ members who do not know what to do, who found themselves in a difficult, seemingly unsolvable situation, or they just need information about their rights

"I know very well what it is like to be labeled as the outcast of society, for example, because of my gender identity, but mainly because of my ethnicity. Being gay, trance, bi or otherwise different from the people around you, does not mean that you are a bad person and your Roma nationality does not make you worse. If I had to go back in time, I really could not imagine that I would go through the process of transition, that I would find a job, love, a place to belong to, when I was always alone, without any support. I know that the path to accepting ones own otherness is difficult, but you can do it, because I also managed. Today I really have everything I thought I would never have… As we sing in our Roma anthem: Djelem djelem, lungone dromenca, maladinom bachtale Romenca, aven manca savo Roma. That's why you don't have to be alone to do all this. I believe that they will give us, the LGBT+ community, the same rights, conditions and opportunities to live a good and high-quality life. After all, that’s what matters. Hatred and ignorance are not the solution, " says Richard in a video posted on the Facebook profile of Bratislava's PRIDE.

The PRIZMA counselling center is a completely unique organisation in Slovakia due to its focus and size, and that is why it is important that Roma LGBT+ clients will find "their man" here. Richard himself realises that in his everyday work:

"I consider the establishment of a community and a counselling center to be a significant step forward, thanks to which Roma LGBT+ have also found a strong and supportive milestones on their journey through life. Our counselling center takes care of the Roma clients but as a transgender Roma I am able to offer them an even bigger sense of trust. And that is the most important, the key moment in building a client–counsellor relationship and in creating effective help. The pillars of my work are my values, which are identical to the values ​​of our counselling centre. Working with LGBT+ Roma women and men I try to prevent their social exclusion or mitigate the effects of such exclusion. I try to strengthen their self-confidence and give them a sense of unconditional acceptance and understanding. Words with which they can name their identity are also important. That is why, for example, I created an information-educational leaflet with basic terminology on LGBT+ topics in Romani."

In COVID-19 times, it is important for LGBT+ clients that Richard is available 3 times a week from 3 pm to 6 pm online on the counselling center's Facebook profile. Even that makes him an indispensable member of the Košice PRIZMA team today.

OBJECTIVES OF KOŠICE PRIZMA COUNSELLING CENTRE:
- to build an LGBT+ community that is ready to respond to the problems it encounters through continuous education of the LGBT+ community, communal activities and counselling; and to actively contribute to solving social problems

- through counselling and support reduce the negative effects of bullying, discrimination and other negative social phenomena that individuals in the LGBT+ community face
- through public education contribute to the observance of human rights and the fulfilment of our vision
- create space for mutual understanding and solidarity through an open dialogue and joint activities with other marginalised groups and their representatives