School of LGBTI activism – Module 3 – On discrimination, violence and activism – here and now!

skolicaSchool of LGBTI activism continues according to schedule. After modules on queer and sexuality, lesbian movement and feminist approach to solidarity and street actions, it was about time to switch to practical and theoretical talks on law regulations and learning about the theoretical and practical aspects of the struggle for freedom, equality and solidarity.

Through this module Vladana Vasić from Sarajevo Open Centre was guiding us, presenting a legal framework for activist action. Vladana is one of the managers of SOC, a lawyer and an activist who has explained in an interesting and interactive way the process of reporting of events/actions, relations with the officials, all the laws related to this issue at all levels in Bosnia and Herzegovina, but also in the Region. Vladana also spoke from personal experience of many years working with the officials and police officers in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Through these illustrative examples we all gained a totally new insight into police work, and their view on LGBTI people and issues we are dealing with.

1926778_863814656978049_8668723884135529252_nVladana also spoke about hate crimes as an important determinant in the legal system, and how this increases the possible motive of the possible sentence. Finally, Vladana gave necessary and very important legal framework to the participants, because doing actions, street actions in particular, is impossible without knowledge of the key opportunities and constraints within the legal system.

Nikola Kuridza, an activist from Prijedor, continued the session, talking about the organization of public meetings, actions and protests, which is apparently more and more needed in society we live in, as a tool to protest and raise our voices against injustice. Nikola has pointed out that the occupation of public space is a legitimate way of action, since this public space definitely belongs to all of us, but it is always necessary to re-conquer it!

nikolakuridzaNikola is a peace and LGBTI activist from Youth Centre Kvart, from Prijedor, and one of the founders of the Initiative Jer me se tiče!. He talked about their experience of organizing high-risk public gatherings, capturing the public space, the possible alternative ways of protests outside the NGO sector. He raised a point to the participants on what is necessary to do in situations of risk and how to protect yourself and the people around you, in possible situations of danger.

During this session the importance of joint action of all the ‘’left’ factors in society was especially emphasized, as well as solidarity of all allies at the basic level. The fight against fascism in all its manifestations is still continuing and we need to avoid unnecessary division into factions.

The final conclusion of the third module of the School is that fights and protest are worth it, that changes are visible, sometimes very slow but evident. We refuse to live in fear- and discrimination-based reality! The fight is difficult and long, but that is the whole point! Freedom needs to be conquered over and over again!

We have over a month until the end of the School of LGBTI activism, and there will be more interesting topics and lecturers.

Thank you all for coming and actively participating in class.