Making Europeans through Rights
Within the European Union, the principle of anti-discrimination is a fundamental right, which was ratified by the founding Treaty of the Union and, thereafter, was instituted by each Member State. However, this principle is not always put into practice. With this awareness, in 2008 M.I.T. (The Italian Movement for Transsexual Identity) promoted the first edition of the “European Festival of Diversities and Anti-Discrimination”, with the goal of fostering a culture of respect for all differences and with an emphasis on the industrious and diligent work of NGOs in this sphere across several Member States.This project’s outcomes have enabled us to understand that any action and effort aimed at promoting the principle of non-discrimination should involve all of us as ordinary citizens, and that the exchange and dissemination of good practices concerning equal treatment should be carried out in everyday life, on a day to day basis. In order to achieve this aim, it is vital to maintain a high level of attention for and a sharp focus on non-discrimination topics.
To this end, the Festival is conceptualized as a celebration of diversities in Europe and will include seminars, workshops, and public events such as exhibitions and a ‘Grand Ball’. The project aims, on the one hand, to increase awareness about the rights that membership in the EU guarantees to specific subjects and, on the other hand, to disseminate and highlight the EU’s many achievements in the field of non-discrimination.The project participants believe that the ideas behind the principle of equal treatment should not be relegated to the status of specialist, expert know-how or, even worse, just words printed in law books. On the contrary, a horizontal and democratic approach to the circulation of ideas and practices alike is strongly needed in order to enable the formation of a meaningful culture of anti-discrimination and respect for cultural and social differences among the general public.
Movimento Identità Transessuale – Italy
MIT is a non-profit organization, founded in 1982, that fights for and protects the rights of transsexuals, transvestite and transgender people. Thanks to an agreement with the Emilia Romagna regional health system, since 1994 MIT has operated the first free clinic for promoting the health of transsexual and transgender individuals in Italy. Today the association provides specialized assistance and support to transsexuals in their transition and sex change processes.
MIT works on both the national and the European levels to combat all forms of gender identity discrimination; to this aim, it develops strategies for combating and opposing forms of inequality in collaboration with other associations and governmental institutions. It also offers services tailored to transsexual and transgender people who have been socially excluded and discriminated against as well as promoting important cultural activities.
DIH – Drustvo za integracijo homoseksualnosti – Slovenia
Drustvo DIH association was established in 2003 for the work in the field of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights and activities. It is a non governmental organisation with a focus on volunteer work to achieve it’s goals. The association work covers socializing, information activities for LGBTIQ people, human rights education, information campaigns for wider public connected to sensitization about homosexuality and gender expression (student homophobia campaign, elections), lobbying and advocacy, Ljubljana Pride parade co – organisation and LGBT sports and health as well as professional counselling.
COLEGASUR-GRANADA – ASOCIACIÓN POR LA IGUALDAD SOCIAL LGBT – Spain
COLEGASUR GRANADA is a meeting point for people ready to work for a better society through visibility, volunteer work, participation, inclusive work, human rights globalisation, promoting the respect, the acceptance and the recognition of the sexual, ethnic, religious and cultural diversity; willing to fight against stereotypes and discrimination (especially homophobia, racism and sexism). His action consists in providing Legal Aid, Psychological counselling, and Familiar mediation; organizating meetings for teenagers and young women (in a non formal education approach) in order to create a space in which everyone feels free to share experiences and to express himself. Social awareness to spread our message of respect to the diversity: formalizing actions in the cultural area, promoting and taking part in programs that foster the Culture of diversity, developing actions in the area of the education and labor directed to eradicating any kind of discrimination.
CESD CENTRO EUROPEO SULLE DISCRIMINAZIONI – Italy
The European Study Centre on Discrimination is an association, based in Bologna, aimed at developing knowledge on discrimination, of elaborating strategies to counter unequal treatment, of promoting the equal value of individual and group differences and the dissemination of a culture of respect and participation. To that end, CESD undertakes activities of documentation and study of multiple issues, including legal ones, concerning equality, equal treatment and discrimination on grounds of several personal characteristics. CESD promotes studies and scientific research on an interdisciplinary basis, manages a legislative and judicial monitoring centre on discrimination issues, supports the sharing of methodologies and good practices of legal advice, as well as the organisation of meetings, conferences and editorial initiatives, with a particular focus on the training and updating of professionals active within the scope of the mentioned aims.
KOUZMIENKO – France
KOUzmienKo is a laboratory mixing music, architecture, theatre and poetry. Its main objective is the creation and organisation of polymorphus happenings. KOUzmienKo host in its events multicultural groups and artists in order to create artistic moment of interchange and social awareness about the richness of foreigner and migrant people’s cultures
NZOCCHÉ – Italy
Nzocché is a non-profit organisation based in Palermo, founded by a group of women in order to achieve solidarity, social equality, individual freedoms, respect for fundamental rights and values of equal treatment and non-discrimination in the Mediterranean Europe. The Association has reclassified a venue in the Borgo Nuovo district, a disadvantaged neighborhood, and seeks to achieve its social goals through the promotion of political, cultural and social activities.
SOCIAL ACTIV – Romania
The principal aim of the Asociatia Social Activ (Social Activ Association) is to develop the socio-educativ-cultural activities for contribut of the development of the social community and growing up the level of life to their member.
In this aim the Asociatia Social Activ (Social Activ Association) develop:
• Social activities: comunitaire programs, ofering the social services, finacial and material support to the beneficiary, etc
• Cultural-educativ-artistic activities
• Training courses
• Development and keeping clean of enviroment activities
• Creaiting the informativ end educational materials, books, etc
CAMPAIGN AGAINST HOMOPHOBIA – Poland
The Campaign Against Homophobia (KPH) is a nationwide public-benefit nongovernmental organization with non-profit status working for the equal rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. We were established in 2001.
We conduct a wide range of activities in order to increase tolerance and acceptance while tackling stereotypes and prejudices including:
• Empowering members of the LGBT community
• Research and report writing
• Social awareness campaigns
• Combating sexism and working towards gender equality
KPH specializes in organizing large social awareness and educational campaigns aiming at integrating LGBT people into society. These include the poster campaign and photo exhibit “Let Them See Us” or the annual “Queer May” festival in Krakow. We have also trained and educated students, teachers, social workers, lawyers, police, parents and others.
KPH has been part of many international initiatives and networks working on LGBT issues.
ASSOCIAÇÃO CULTURAL DE ARTES ORGANIZADAS - Portugal
ACARO has three structural backbones: A theatre company – ACARO; a Cultural Formation Centre where we develop workshops of different areas such as music, dance, theatre, writing, etc, and Contagiarte, a place where we make our own shows and we host artists from several areas.
Meetings in six different European cities, hundreds of participants: the Festival has been conceptualized as a celebration of diversities in Europe.
The aim of the Festival is to sensitize a large strata of society, especially the younger generations, to the themes of equality and social inclusion.
Previous festivals owed their success to the impressive communicative impact that the languages of art, music and performance have on such themes of obvious complexity.
The events sought to encompass both reflection and intellectual analysis on the causes of stigma and prejudice and on strategies for change as well as the sharing of ritual, recreational and cultural moments in a climate of cheerfulness and joy.
The Festival has been a moment for sharing and participating in a common effort to produce elevated levels of socialization and mutual understanding. The involvement of partners from various countries and with rather different target groups and actors has enabled the project to simultaneously aim its action in different directions and at different levels and dimensions.
Workshops, seminars and conferences focused on potential strategies and tools for combatting stereotypes and prejudice, public meetings, countless workshops, conferences, artistic events, nine partners from seven different countries: this has been the European Festival of Diversities.