“Vote for equality”- campaign for LGBTI inclusion in the political agenda in Macedonia

The association for critical approach to gender and sexuality “Subversive Front” in light of the early parliamentary elections in Macedonia scheduled for 11th December, has just started with the campaign “Vote for equality”. The aim of the campaign is to include LGBTI equality in the public political agenda of the political parties not only during the upcoming elections, but also after them.

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“Before the start of the campaign, meetings with the political parties were held, whose representatives were answering the Questionnaire on LGBTI inclusion in their programmes” – says Antonio Mihajlov, the president of Subversive Front. The Questionnaire was dispatched to all the political parties, however only 5 of them – Social-democratic Union of Macedonia, Liberal-democratic Party, Liberal Party, Democratic Renewal of Macedonia (the Greens), and the Left Party, answered it.

At the same time, once the election programmes were published, Subversive Front completed an analysis if and to what extent the problems and needs of the LGBTI people are included in them.

“The general impression is that the political parties to a very small extent address the LGBTI issues and problems. They can only be found in the programmes of the left-oriented political parties, and it is only in the programmes of the minor-power political parties where they are included to the highest extent. This is a result of the dominant hetero-patriarchal norms that prevail in Macedonian society and this is reflected in the political parties, who, fearing that they will lose part of the voters and the potential undecided voters, choose not to voice their support and vocally defend the human rights of the LGBTI people. With this campaign, we want to make the general public aware of the LGBTI problems and needs, and to encourage the political parties to start considering the LGBTI community as a strong voter base that they need to include in their political agenda.” – says Mihajlov.

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Within the scope of the campaign, on 5th December will be the First National LGBTI Conference in Macedonia held, where representatives from the political parties and the state institutions will discuss the advancing of the status and the rights of the LGBTI people in the country. At the same time, the amendment-proposals of the Law on Protection and Prevention against Discrimination and the Criminal Code will be presented which will aim to legally recognize and protect the LGBTI people against discrimination, hate crime and hate speech based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

The campaign “Vote for equality” is part of the wider strategy for encouraging better political participation of the LGBTI people in Macedonia. It is supported by Sarajevo Open Center, Gay and Lesbian Victory Institute, and Labris – Lesbian Human Rights Organisation.