STANA - LBTQ Womens Organisation established in Montenegro

Podgorica, 5 March, 2020 – “Women in the Montenegrin LGBTIQ movement have remained invisible, although they have created a movements’ history. Because of that, lesbian, bisexual, trans and queer organization, STANA, will advocate for bigger visibility, and protection of their rights in Montenegrin society.” This was announced at a founding press conference of the non–governmental organization for LBTQ Women's STANA.

STANA’s executive director, Ana Dedivanović, explained that this organisation emerged from the informal LBTQ women’s group QueerA, which, as she reminded everyone at press conference, were implementing their activities through the organization Queer Montenegro.  

“Although not specific to Montenegro, in our advocacy and community building work, we have noted that the visibility of LGBTI people in the movement, has generally meant the visibility of men, with emphasis on their identity, needs and issues, with particular focus on physical violence and discrimination” said Dedivanović. “On the other hand - Dedivanović added - the history of LGBTIQ movement in Montenegro was created by LBTQ women that were active throughout the years. LBTQ women have remained invisible, though they are in a large number of cases the catalysts of change, and have implemented almost all of the activities in this field”, said Dedivanović.

According to her, there are three reasons for which the organization is called STANA:

“Stana is one of the names that, next to the names of Dostana, Stanka, Stanojka, was mainly given to new born girls in families that up to that point had only female children, with the intention that this chain is interrupted. Where their birth as such, just because of their sex and gender, was unwanted. We want to emphasize that our sex and gender makes us proud female citizens of this country, and that the activist scene of Montenegro has a major driving force in women”, said Dedivanović. She pointed to the last surveys done in Montenegro that show how very small number of citizens were ready to support promptly and in full their child when they find out about their different sexual orientation, and most of them would help their child in conversion to the “normal”.

"We are born different, we do not have the ability to change, but we have the ability to influence the society to understand why it is important that every girl who is lesbian, bisexual, trans or queer has the ability to live a happy and fulfilled life”, stated Dedivanović.

She also said that the third reason goes in to the direction of homophobia, transphobia, misogyny, as well as all other negative phenomena that directly affect the lives of LBTQ and which need to stop. "We will, as an organization which works on human rights of LBTQ woman, in line with all stated objectives and reasons, implement all of our activities” announced Dedivanović . 

Founder of the non–governmental organization for LBTQ Women's STANA, Staša Baštrica, said that in the forthcoming period, STANA will be dedicated to reducing the level of homophobia and transphobia in Montenegrin society, as well as the improvement of the Montenegrin LGBTIQ movement. STANA will be dedicated to the advancement of gender equality and human rights of women, with a special emphasis on LBTQ women in Montenegro, achieving full visibility and equality for them in the fields of health (physical and mental), social services, their sustainability and social protection“, stated Baštrica. She also stated that STANA will be dedicated to achieving full participation of LBTQ women in decision making processes and creating policies that are affecting the human rights of LGBT people and women, as well as the suppression of all forms of violence based on homophobia, transphobia and misogyny.

“Our organisation will be dedicated to the improvement of the situation and protection of the rights of LBTQ women with experience of all forms of gender-based violence and/or hate crime, as well as the improvement of queer arts and culture and other events through the creation of content that will be focused on the needs and interests LBTQ women in Montenegro “, said Baštrica.  

She said that in the framework of the project “Contribution to the empowerment of women LBTQ movement in Montenegro” they will work on the empowerment, strengthening capacity, networking and connecting of all women in Montenegro, “special emphasis will be given to the reduction of discrimination which women are encountering based on their sexual orientation and gender identity“. “Lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer women are often ignored in initiatives for the empowerment of women, which makes this project of exceptional importance in the field of protection of human rights – especially because it targets one of the most marginalized and invisible women in society, LBTQ women“, said Baštrica. She announced that organisation STANA in the coming period will implement a series of activities for LBTQ women.

STANA was established with the support of non-governmental organizations Queer Montenegro and NGO Juventas, through the project "Contribution to the empowerment of LBTQ movement in Montenegro", which is supported by the Ministry for Human and Minority Rights.