Roma LGBTQI+ Forum

“The stigmatization of young women, people with disabilities and Roma people who belong to the LGBTQI+ community is becoming stronger, making it harder for them to exist as minorities within one or more minority groups. The Diverse Youth Network organized a first of its kind Roma LGBTQI+ Forum between May 31 and June 2, 2019, in Pécs, Hungary, with the participation of 21 young Roma and non-Roma activists. 
The forum aimed to share updates on the workflow of the Roma LGBTQI+ movement; map the experiences of the participants, individual and organizational initiatives, good practices in the areas of human rights education and advocacy; and create a common mission and vision. The main outcome of the meeting was a strategy that outlines the working flow of the group and its potentials in the international arena. The planned activities include the Pécs Pride 2020 event, which was happening last May, integrated into a flagship Festival (Freedom of My Identity). The forum was the first opportunity for many people to freely live their true identities among a circle of peers that identify with the same issues. Since the event, the organization has continued its work establishing the LGBTQI+ working group of the Diverse Youth Network consisting of 13 Roma young people both from the non- and LGBTQI+ communities.”

About Diverse Youth Network:

“Diverse Youth Network was established in 2018 on the grounds of intersectionality; students of the University of Pécs thought of creating an association that strives for equity for all socially excluded groups including the Roma, Jewish, the LGBT community and foreigners. We aimed at providing mobility opportunities through the Erasmus programme for talented Roma students to gain international experience. Our goal was to empower Romani women through roundtable discussions. We wanted to raise awareness within Romani families on the importance of doing well at school and daring to dream big. We started to insert our human rights approach through seminars, conferences, workshops and partnerships that include contemporary social issues from the human rights perspective. With a Roma leadership, it was important for us to bring together the diverse youth of our societies who are silenced or are left out of decision making processes.

The Diverse Youth Network is unique, because it has a Roma leadership and its impact is realised in mainstream civil society. Independent of any political party or donor organisation, the fundamental principle of our activities lies in grassroots activism and the empowerment of young people, who are the key agents of change. We work towards building a democratic and inclusive society by mobilising large crowds, addressing the youth and others. We aim to shape the public opinion on different discriminated groups enduring social injustices. We are unique because we are brave and committed to topics that nobody talks about.”