As the COVID-19 crisis swept through the world, NGO activities and projects have taken the fall quite hard. Subversive Front’s preplanned activities for March and April – have for the most – been done online. The COVID-19 crisis has also raised concerns on the issues of Pride events globally, considering that most Prides in the EU have been canceled or postponed for 2020 indefinitely, most notable of which was EuroPride 2020 – set to happen in Thessaloniki this June, to a now unknown later date in the year.
Subversive Front, as an association for sexual and gender minorities was planned to implement several activities during these two months. Some of these events were adapted to online platforms with modified methodologies, and some, were sadly postponed to later in the year. The following chart address the events that were planned for implementation this March and April. Some of these events were from Subversive Front and some were with partner organizations.
|Training course on Countering Hate Speech through Human Rights Education||HREYN – Tbilisi, Georgia||March 9-18||Canceled|
|Training with school psychologists on anti-discrimination and hate speech||Subversive Front and Ministry of Labor and Social Policy – Skopje, North Macedonia||March 19||Postponed|
|Training with school pedagostists on anti-discrimination and hate speech||Subversive Front and Ministry of Labor and Social Policy – Skopje, North Macedonia||March 26||Postponed|
|Advanced Planning Visit for European Solidarity Corps||Subversive Front, International Services – Skopje, North Macedonia||March 23-27||Postponed|
|General Assembly||Subversive Front – Skopje, North Macedonia||March 30-31||Postponed|
|Queer Easter||Kurt Loewenstein Education Center – Berlin, Germany||April 5-12||Postponed|
|Youth Activists for Change: Podcasts||Subversive Front and Stichting art.1 – Skopje, North Macedonia||April 13-17||Online|
|Youth Activists for Change: Storytelling||Subversive Front and Stichting art.1 – Skopje, North Macedonia||April 22-26||Online|
|Training with middle school teachers on anti-discrimination and hate speech||Subversive Front and Ministry of Labor and Social Policy – Skopje, North Macedonia||April 21||Postponed|
|Training with high school teachers on anti-discrimination and hate speech||Subversive Front and Ministry of Labor and Social Policy – Skopje, North Macedonia||April 30||Postponed|
|How are you doing?||Subversive Front, and Safe House||March 21||Online|
|Second “How are you doing?”||Subversive Front, and Safe House||April 23||Online|
|Drag Makeup 101||Aleksandar Kajmakoski||March 21||Online|
|Techniques from yoga and meditation as an SOS during crisis situations||Students of psychology||April 4||Online|
|HIV in First Person Singular||Subversive Front and Stronger Together||April 28||Online|
The final five events were put together by Subversive Front and self-driven activists in the closed Facebook group “LGBTI, together in self-isolation” that was formed in mid-March as a tool to bring community-building events to the community in this time of crisis. As the country measures intensified and social gatherings were prohibited, the group was a great initiative to keep the queer community engaged and connected while isolating at home. The events and purpose of the group were primarily focused to tackle issues of mental health, personal well-being, loneliness, lack of peer-to-peer contact; as the majority of the community is under greater pressure due to the isolation measures.
The group now records 200+ members who come from all corners of North Macedonia and has allowed for queer youth from smaller towns to get to know the organizations as well tune-in to the activities of the Youth Artivists for Change training courses that took place in April. The same trainings allowed for more people from outside Skopje to follow the training and in contrast to last year’s trainings – when the majority of applied participants were from Skopje – this year most applicants were mostly from everywhere but Skopje.
The highlights of the group were the self-organizing aspects where community members reached out to organize their own sessions online – the session of techniques from yoga and meditation as an SOS during crisis situations, and the Drag Makeup 101 workshop.
The final workshop for April was our most planned and collaborative one yet, that being on the topic of HIV from a first person perspective. The community members were able to listen to a presentation on the situation of HIV, PrEP and ART (Anti-Retroviral Therapy) in North Macedonia from the work of Stronger Together (Association for People Living with HIV), as well as an addition to ask questions and hear the story of a person living with HIV – everything from the moment he was diagnosed 6 years ago, to the feelings he had, and now as a vocal activist and researcher in the field of HIV prevention and treatment.