In 2019, the roma population and especially us, roma women, already suffered from severe social discrimination, and this situation was extraordinarily aggravated in the case of also belonging to the LGBTQ+ collective.
We are also discriminated against by our families, community, and society in general, with a risk of being expelled by our environment and by society very real for LGBTQ+ youth, being able to easily end up homeless, without opportunities for inclusion, and living in a constant threat in our day-to-day.
During the development of this project, this situation worsened even more, reaching its critical point on June 23, 2021 with the approval of the anti- LGBTQ+ law by Hungarian president Viktor Orban.
Faced with this need to offer an opportunity to young LGBTQ+ roma, we created the project “THE ROMA COMMUNITY IS ALSO DIVERSE: TRAINING YOUTH WORKERS FOR INCLUSION”, in which we have promoted the social inclusion of young roma who have lost family, social, and institutional protection, so as not to leave them alone in front of those who hate us or in the face of situations that can end in homelessness.
This is especially important, because many of the movements and entities that work with the roma people systematically ignore the reality of the LGBTQ+ collective, and the same happens with the LGBTQ+ and Feminist movements, where the roma collective is not included in their studies, campaigns, or projects.
Thanks to the development of this project we have generated two Intellectual Outputs of great quality and impact to show the social workers and youth technicians who work with this group a methodology generated by the beneficiary group itself and innovative tools that allow them to understand us.
Throughout the project we have used an innovative methodology for the inclusion of LGBTQ+ young people based on generating a personal critical awareness that reinforces our confidence, our capability for empowerment, and the importance of the self before external impositions (both before that part of the roma community that rejects us and before the paya society), since inclusion is based on self-confidence, on strengthening our self, and looking for others in our situation to create a us before the exclusion from them..
With this methodology we train the monitors and trainers of the roma and LGBTQ+ entities of Europe to promote an effective inclusion adapted to the reality of the LGBTQ+ roma collective, which suffers from multiple discrimination.
Our methodology also considers the specific conceptual and terminological scenario of the LGBTQ+ collective, especially the situation of integration and social exclusion in each of the participating countries, the joint logical framework of the LGBTQ+ roma community, and the bases compared at a geographical level and in relation to the rest of the contents.
We have created within the project two major Intellectual Results: firstly the "METHODOLOGICAL GUIDE FOR WORKERS IN THE FIELD OF YOUTH: THE INCLUSION OF YOUNG LGBTQ+ OF ROMA ETHNICITY IN EUROPE" (O1), and secondly the "OPEN EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES FOR INCLUSION IN DIVERSITY", in addition to multiple tangible and structural results, with the aim of bringing social workers and youth technicians closer to the methodology generated by us, to enhance our opportunities for inclusion, trust, and the possibilities of building a society that does not reject us for who we are.
The O1 is a Methodological Guide 87 pages long with a very appealing and enjoyable appearance, which allows partner entities, collaborators, and even entities from all over Europe to train their monitors and youth workers for the social inclusion of LGBTQ+ gypsies, adapting their training practices and non-formal education to the reality of this group, thus encouraging the creation of a space for feminism and roma LGBTQ+ diversity to be included in the agenda and demands of the majority movements, and training them to undertake international projects that include and guide the beneficiary group
On the other hand we have the O2, as 16 Open Educational Resources (OERs) as a set of non-formal education materials aimed at young LGBTQ+ roma and youth monitors who can use them in their activities to develop skills that allow them to improve their lives and inclusion.
The 6 interview videos that are part of these OERs include contents on the topic of oneself, on the community, and on society, so we have included the 6 of them into the three categories in which they are divided, that we have defined as:
Throughout the project we held 4 Transnational Meetings, the second of them in full march of LGBTQ+ Pride in Pecs, Hungary, in protest against the approval of the controversial anti-LGBTQ+ law together with thousands of young roma.
The very serious and successive crises that impacted our four associations meant that this first meeting had to be held virtually. In it we focus on:
Members of AGFD, GLAS FOUNDATION, E-ROMNJA, and DIVERSE YOUTH NETWORK participated in it. Despite the fact that being virtual we could not strengthen personal ties and meet in informal spaces, it was very important to locate ourselves in the project and give it the necessary push to achieve all our objectives, in addition to establishing the bases of the next one, face-to-face, in Pecs ( Hungary), during LGTBIQ+ Pride week.
Before the demonstration, which also served to prepare several audiovisual materials for the OER of O2, we held the working meeting in which we focused on the development of the first Intellectual Product of the project, the METHODOLOGICAL GUIDE (O1), in addition to analyzing what had been done so far and preparing the remaining tasks, Start developing the project website, coordinate the work during the demonstration, prepare recordings and interviews, and analyze the situation of the entities and the project.
This meeting was attended by representatives of AGFD, E-ROMNJA, GLAS FOUNDATION, and DIVERSE YOUTH NETWORK ASSOCIATION.
El orden del día en el que nos centramos fue:
In addition to this formal work space, this 3-day Transnational Meeting allowed us to meet with large LGBTQ+ European federations and roma associations from all over Europe, and on this occasion generate informal spaces (dinners, lunches, breaks) where we strengthen ties between us, and participate in the demonstration.
After the disastrous impact of COVID-19 and the policies of the governments of Hungary and Bulgaria, we decided to hold the last two meetings in Madrid, in a safer climate for the participants.
This meeting focused on closing the O1 and developing the O2, in addition to planning the rest of tangible materials, especially those for dissemination on social networks. We also evaluated the implementation phase, and assessed the situation of the entities and the difficulties they were going through, helping them to continue developing the project despite adversity.
In it we had the participation of members of AGFD, E-ROMNJA, and DIVERSE YOUTH NETWORK; and despite the fact that the attendees of the GLAS FOUNDATION could not make it to the meeting due to the situation in their country, they took part virtually.
Thus, in addition to the formal work space, we established non-formal work spaces (visiting friendly entities, seeing other cultural projects in Madrid ...) and informal spaces that allowed us to become more friends and plan new future projects.
This meeting was held again in Madrid, given the instability in countries such as romania, Hungary, and Bulgaria due to the upcoming war in Ukraine, choosing the Spanish capital as a safe place for the participants.
In this meeting we focused on the dissemination phase, for which we designed specific plans that have allowed us to successfully use the results by entities throughout Europe.
We verified and put into practice the Dissemination Plan that was made before the request, adapting it to the reality of the moment, of the project, and to the global situation. In addition, this fourth and last meeting was the space to carry out the final general evaluation of the project.
At this meeting we focused on the following agenda:
And in this last meeting, leaders from AGFD and E-ROMNJA participated, and from DIVERSE YOUTH NETWORK and GLAS FOUNDATION virtually.
In addition to the formal work space, once again, we established non-formal work spaces (visiting friendly entities, seeing other cultural projects in Madrid ...) and informal spaces that allowed us to analyze the context and specify new projects.
We have been able to carry out many more pilot tests than were proposed, autonomously and virtually due to the impact of COVID-19, but also due to the exclusion and persecution suffered by many young people living in Hungary, Bulgaria, and romania, which prevented them from attending their headquarters.
In spite of everything, 10 social entities of roma, or that work with this beneficiary group, from 7 different countries, distributed the results among their partners, who tested and evaluated them through virtual meetings.
As an association, we have a long experience in the creation in other projects of dissemination events of great impact, with large events in which hundreds of people participate, many of them multiplying agents, both nationally and from other countries in Europe.
Although the original idea was to take advantage of the International LGBTQ+ Pride Day in Madrid to celebrate the Multiplier Event, several changes finally made it celebrated, thanks to the collaboration of the City Council of Cartagena and the University of Murcia, on December 16, 2022 in the Isaac Peral Room of the Faculty of Business Sciences of Cartagena, before a large group of multiplier agents, including local policy makers, experts from the University of Murcia, directors of social entities, exponents of the roma community in Cartagena, and social workers.
The big event had the following agenda:
Thanks to this event we managed to make clear the multiple oppression faced by the LGBTQ+ roma community in a patriarchal society controlled by paternalism, machismo, class differences, and heteronormativity, thus marking a turning point in the inclusion of the LGBTQ+ roma community and promoting that European society becomes aware of the exclusion to which we are subjected every day.
Para evaluar el logro de los resultados y objetivos, se definieron indicadores específicos para cada resultado que permitieron medir el grado de calidad como el nivel de ejecución de los objetivos vinculado a los resultados esperados, a lo largo de todo el proyecto.
El análisis y evaluación de estos indicadores mostraron que no solo hemos logrado todos los objetivos del proyecto, sino mejorado en algunos aspectos, como en la altísima participación en las actividades del proyecto con respecto a la prevista, el mucho mayor número de organizaciones participantes en las actividades realizadas, y el número de jóvenes gitanxs LGTBIQ+ sobre lxs que hemos incidido positivamente.
This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication (communication) reflects the views only of the author. The Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.
This publication is available in Open Access under the Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) license.