Victory Institute recently added, under the research section of our website, a report about political participation of LGBTQ individuals in the Western subregion of the Balkan Peninsula. There are lots of fascinating finds within the report, and they help us to continue our pursuit of LGBTQ equality, political participation, and representation.
Countries discussed in the report include Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, and Slovenia. An overview of the status of LGBTQ rights in each of these countries is given, specifically relating to areas such as employment, education, healthcare, marriage equality, and anti-discrimination laws.
An interesting find in this area is that nearly all countries have nondiscriminatory laws already on the books, with many having guaranteed constitutional protections for LGBTQ individuals. Most of these countries are either already members of the European Union, or are on its enlargement agenda. Thus, they have to have certain laws in place, regardless of what local opinion on LGBTQ rights is. This idea that EU accession motivates countries to pass civil rights legislation is discussed in the report in the next section.
Analysis of data regarding political participation of LGBTQ people comprises the next section, going into detail on topics such as political parties, civil society organizations, and EU accession. Interviews were conducted with LGBTQ activists, politicians, experts on LGBTQ issues, and representatives of other institutions. These interviews constitute the last section of the report.
Those interviewed from political parties point to a consensus of support from left and center parties in most of the countries studied, but leaders of LGBTQ organizations said that they feel the LGBTQ community needs more support from the government. Experts on LGBTQ issues in these countries feel as if hate speech still prevails and many are afraid to come out in fear of ostracization.
Several organizations came together to conduct this research as it is important to understand the situation of the LGBTQ community in all places where we are activists. We want to know what the people think of the politics in the places they live, as we are fighting for these individuals. With data such as these, our goal of more LGBTQ people becoming involved in civic engagement is made easier. This is the mission of Victory Institute after all, to ensure that LGBTQ people are represented in our democracies, and how to get these representatives into office.
The members of the International Team at Victory Institute that contributed to the report include Luis Abolafia-Anguita, CV Viverito, and Logan Graves (the last being the author of this blog plus others on this site). Three organizations commissioned the report: Labris, Hirschfeld-Eddy-Stiftung, and Victory Institute. Subversive Front was a collaborator on this project. Labris is an organization focused on rights for Lesbians but also does work for the wider LGBTQ community. Hirschfeld-Eddy-Stiftung is a German organization working for rights for LGBTQ people. Subversive Front is an organization based in Macedonia that is active in LGBTQ equality.