Chisinau, Moldova: The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) community in Moldova is a diverse group. It comprises people of different ages, from different social classes, different political backgrounds, and various levels of education. It includes citizens from grassroots movements to institutional NGOs, activists, professionals, and it has support from the international community.
What its members have in common is a claim for equality and equal opportunities for all. In Moldova, the call for LGBTQ+ rights provides an umbrella issue to combat intolerance within society and to open public spaces for further social, cultural, political and democratic development that are free from prejudice.
LGBTQ+ rights in Moldova do represent an important issue area for human rights defenders, but also for people who call for fair society and for the prohibition of discrimination.
Chisinau Pride, a cultural festival by the LGBTQ+ community, took place in May. It included several side activities that ranged from socially-engaged art like cinema, music and performance, to conferences featuring international speakers. The wide spectrum of activities during Pride proved that LGBTQ+ rights are not only relevant for the LGBTQ+ community, but for society as a whole. Further, Pride demonstrated the resilience and empowerment of a group of people despite the difficulties they face in the public sphere.
The LGBTQ+ community in Moldova has the potential to act as a catalyst of social reform, similar to other civil rights movements from the past. LGBTQ+ rights in Moldova have the potential to be a connecting theme for a real new social movement in a beautiful country that strongly aims at equality and non-discrimination, and a deeper understanding of diversity of people.
Bio: Josef Šmída is a UN Youth Volunteer under the supervision of the UN Human Rights Adviser (HRA) in Chisinau, supporting human rights-based development and no discrimination in Moldova. Previously he participated in the HRA project European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights that tackled questions such as minority rights, empowerment of local communities, LGBTQ+ rights and rights of people with disabilities. Josef thinks that LGBTQ+ rights are “an essential question of equality, because a particular force across society in Moldova excludes the community of LGBTQ+ people in general from real and full-value life.”