The past week of 14-21 February has been very rich with events for Labrys. As has already been reported previously, on 14th of February, Labrys held a press conference summing up the four years of its activity since inofficial establishment in April 2004. Labrys representatives reported on achievements and developments within the organization and its work with the community, as well as on strategic plans within the trans-advocacy project for year 2008. Ally reverend Maxim Bratukhin from Apostolic Orthodox Church also delivered a speech, during which called for nondiscrimination and inclusion of LGBT people into the mainstream society. “God is Love” was the underlying message of his monologue. More about the press conference and the media reaction to it is to come end of February with results of media monitoring. So look for updates!
The week continued with 16 February official Community Centre opening and the preceding Third GMA meeting. The first half of the day was dedicated to the general members assembly gathering a quorum of 16 people. The main goal of the meeting was election of a Board for effective and successful functioning of the GMA institute within Labrys. As had been decided by the second GMA the Board was to consist of two female-identified, two male-identified, and one either/neither-identified members of the General Assembly. The elections were conducted through secret vote with a neutral non-member party acting as an election committee. There were seven people total running for the Board. Now Labrys has a representative Board consisting of five people of which no less than 2/3 come from LGBT communities. Once the Board was elected, Chair of the Board was also elected, completing the procedure. Intensive consultations with the Board on their rights and responsibilities, as well as projected functions in assisting Labrys are planned for Spring 2008.
The day of 16 February finished with official opening of Community Centre for partner organizations, volunteers and willing members of LGBT communities. Labrys staff opened the evening with introductory speeches about themselves, nature of their work, and one particular achievement of the organization that they deemed especially pride-worthy. This continued with greeting speeches from volunteers and guests of the opening evening. The event proved to be useful in terms of networking for Labrys and partner organizations, which may be resulting in new forms of partnership and cooperation.
However, remainder of the week turned its less bright side to Labrys, as the previously appointed meeting with Ministry of Health regarding the establishment of a working group on gender marker change was cancelled. The deputy Minister of Health Madamin Karataev refused to meet with Labrys and Soros Foundation Kyrgyzstan representatives on this issue, justifying this with lack of previous communication with the Ministry. The justification is less than corresponding to truth, as Labrys (as well as Soros) has documented evidence of the Ministry’s, and deputy Minister Karataev’s, readiness to discuss the issue at a working group level. Labrys has an official letter with Minister Karataev’s signature and ministry seal accepting the proposition to establish a working group – perhaps if this letter is sent back to deputy minister’s office, it might refresh his memory. Regardless, Labrys will continue lobbying the gender marker change issue. Updates on this work will, hopefully, come soon.