LGBTI Equal Rights Association for Western Balkans and Turkey
Low social and political acceptance of LGBTI rights and community as well as a weak tradition of state-sponsored support for human rights organizations makes the work of LGBTI organizations and groups difficult and challenging in terms of safety, accessibility to resources, cooperation with state authorities and financial sustainability. Low level of economic stability causes high unemployment rates among the general population with even higher rates among LGBTI people – especially trans people. Due to the global economic crisis funds available to civil society organizations from abroad has been limited while competition within civil society sector has increased. Government authorities have a poor tradition of financially supporting LGBTI CSO’s and the groups themselves have no tradition of grassroots fundraising or support from corporations and businesses. CSO’s need to find alternative sources to secure their financial sustainability. Brain-drain, a phenomenon which is seeing young and talented people from the region leave their countries is also affecting young LGBTI people who are vulnerable not only to general economic and social factors but also to discrimination and persecution. Access to services for LGBTI people is limited and the organization’s efforts are limited to their capacities and financial situation. Many LGBTI CSO’s have limited approach to state institutions and often have difficulties participating in the public discourses related to LGBTI rights. LGBTI-phobic content is wide-spread in public text-books as well as media (traditional and modern). LGBTI-phobic bullying prevails in schools and among youth. The level of support and outreach to victims of bullying is low.
On a more positive note most LGBTI organizations are very present through online media and many have great outreach to the local communities. Many have allies in state institutions, political parties and Parliament. Cooperation has been noted throughout the entire region and successes have been registered.
However, LGBTI organizations lack resources, access to diversified resources to funding, are vulnerable to socio-economic and political contexts in their country and with a few exceptions are still vulnerable to closing their community-centres or activities.
We want to strengthen capacities of our member organizations in areas of advocacy, research, communication and public campaigning, in developing and implementing strategic development, in building and maintaining effective organizational structures, increasing their financial capacities, providing them with knowledge and expertise, encourage regional and inter-regional cooperation and enhancing their capacities in all fields of action.
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