Posted by: kyrgyzlabrys | September 10, 2008

August 2008: vacations, strategic planning and community successes

In the beginning of August from 1st to 10th our Community Center was closed down for sanitization. This opportunity was taken up by Labrys staff members, who scheduled their vacations for that period of time. Now the rested and fresh staff of Labrys is again ready to meet the challenges of the day and respond to requests of the community.

On 16-17th of August the Kashka-Suu mountain resort in the outskirts of Bishkek welcomed staff members, the Board, and several volunteers of Labrys for a strategic project and budget planning session for year 2009. Labrys management presented an idea of establishing a new department within the organization, which would work on empowerment of LGBT and general communities. The department would be the fourth within Labrys, the other three being: advocacy department, administrative-financial department, and services department. The new department would be mainly occupied with providing professional training for LGBT on various themes, and for general public on LGBT and human rights. The new year 2009 would also bring Labrys an ad hoc lawyer, who would be ready to help Labrys out on whenever needed basis. This was thought to be the best way out based on Labrys experience so far in the year 2008.

In July OSI sponsored project on access to health care for LGBT people entered a stage of creating information materials for medical professionals on LGBT health. Basing on results of a survey of LGBT communities we have defined the main problems they encounter when deciding to turn to doctors. These identified problems became the foundation for the text of brochures aimed at medical specialists. There will be overall six different brochures for different specialists, which will contain previously unknown or unheard of direct information from LGBT communities. We expect these brochures to be an important step in attracting friendly medical specialists to working with LGBT. The brochures have already been sent to a printing house and should be ready in the nearest time.

Equal trainer of Labrys – Dan, has distinguished himself this summer with his achievements, becoming the star of the season. Team Labrys congratulates him sincerely with three events:

  1. The publishing of his transgender love story in a global “Trans People in Love” book.
  2. His birthday with wishes of all the best in the world.
  3. His selection as participant of a Literary Summer Camp through competition of young writers organized by Chingiz Aitmatov foundation. The two weeks at Issyk-Lake did not only bring him physical pleasure from the sun, the sea and the air, but also spiritual from being around similarly minded artists and writers.

We wish Dan more future achievements!

Also our outreach worker Nika does not stop perfecting her training skills. From 11th to 16th of August she participated in a training of trainers organized by youth Y-PEER network. There along with a dozen of other participants Nika learned the compositing blocks of a successful training. Now we can expect Nika to be even more professional in delivering trainings.

Labrys in Kyrgyz UN Expert Group on violence against women

Even though the turn for September news has not come yet, team Labrys cannot fail to gladden its friends and allies with the news that Labrys was included in the staff of a UN-level expert group on issues of violence against women. A conference of women’s NGOs, gender themed UN agencies and ministries of Kyrgyz Republic took place in Bishkek on 3-4 September. Participants of the conference discussed issues of domestic violence, bride kidnapping and forced marriage, as well as sexual violence against women.

For the first time in history of Kyrgyzstan lesbians, bisexual and transgender people were mentioned in a sociological study of violence against women on such a high level. The researcher, one of the leaders of feminist movement in Kyrgyzstan, stressed that even though her study did not include much information about LBT due to lack of direct access to them, the group was one of the most vulnerable to violence. This gave legal ground for representative of Labrys to push forward issues of LBT communities and raise uneasy for other participants of the conference questions about freedom of sexual orientation and gender identity. The attention of the conference group was also concentrated on the fact that nowhere in Kyrgyz legislation there is a mention of freedom of citizens of Kyrgyz Republic from discrimination on basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. This was identified as the main legal impediment on empowerment and social inclusion of L(G)BT communities, as well as the source of constant depression for the communities.

Inclusion of Labrys in the composition of the expert group on promoting anti-violence legislation was decided by all participants of the conference. Within the expert group Labrys now intends to promote specifically anti-discrimination legislation aimed at inclusion of freedom of sexual orientation and gender identity in the body of Kyrgyz law.

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