The aim of this project is to bring the topic of equality for LGBTI people into the public political agenda of the December 2016 elections. This project is part of a broader strategy to encourage greater political participation of LGBTI people in the Balkans as a region, and in Macedonia, as a tool to advance towards equality. Subversive Front, Labris, and Victory will collaborate on this project and all activities and actions will be branded under the same theme, “Vote for Equality” campaign.
The project will begin with developing an analysis of the programs of the political parties that are involved with the December 2016 elections in Macedonia, specifically their inclusion of the specific needs of the LGBTI population. This will be done through dispatching short questionnaires to the representatives fo the political parties.
Once the data has been gathered, a comparative report will be published onto a campaign website in order to be used as an advocacy and voter education tool, allowing for transparency and informed voting decisions. The initial findings of the analysis will also be presented to parties during closed meeting as part of a Civil Society Forum. This forum will allow for an open space of political participation from LGBTI people and will aim to build bridges among civil society and political parties. There will also be a part of the forum open to the public.
The Vote for Equality campaign will display the analysis of the party programs through a website. Specifically, each party’s stance on particular LGBTI issues will be displayed in a non-biased manner, so that voters can utilize the information to educate themselves. The analysis will not explicitly endorse any specific candidate. The results will be backed by the findings of the analysis of the political parties’ programs and the short questionnaire conducted previously.
This action will promote informed voting among the LGBTI population and the general public, and reinforce the commitment of political parties to include the needs of LGBTI people in their programs. Because of the strategic timing, the campaign will showcase the LGBTI movement as a cohesive group of informed voters that parties should be strongly considering as a voter base. This will encourage them to be supportive of inclusive policies and to welcome and accept more LGBTI leaders within their structures.
The campaign will be promoted via social media such as Twitter and Facebook in order to direct more traffic to the website. This campaign will also be presented and advertised during the conference that S-Front is organizing on December 5, 2016, called “1st National LGBTI Conference – Strengthening the political dialogue on LGBTI in Macedonia”. This timing is strategic because it is one week before the elections on December 11th, which will bring attention to the candidate platforms in the campaign at a crucial voter decision time.
Lastly, after the elections, a similar report will be published about the newly elected officials so that citizens can be aware of the formal opinions of their officials. It will also be used as an advocacy tool, allowing LGBTI groups to follow up with political parties around any commitments and promises made during the campaign.
Overall, the official documentation of party programs as a tool for advocacy and voter education, and the opening of spaces and visibility through the Civil Society Forum and the National LGBTI Conference will help us achieve our goal of bringing the topic of equality for LGBTI people into the public political agenda of the December 2016 elections.
The grant awarded for the project is 281.046 MKD and the project duration is from 16th March to 31st December 2016.