“More and more young people are publicly taking a stand against the LGBTQIA+ community, while there is a growing trend of hate speech in the public space. Also, at the European level, more and more politicians assume a populist, nationalist discourse against human rights, supported by religious leaders and non-governmental structures such as the Coalition for the Family in Romania. Campaigns to discredit the LGBT+ community have been organized in all the countries participating in the project and beyond, while the mass media promotes a stereotypical image of the LGBTQIA+ community.
At the same time, the homophobic discourse comes together with other related topics, such as women’s rights (many of those who oppose the LGBT community are against equal rights for women), the right of young people to sexual and reproductive health (many oppose sexual education for young people), gender identity (many young people do not know about gender, the difference between gender, sex, and sexual orientation, and traditional gender roles continue to be consolidated as the only acceptable ones in society) etc.”
The focus of the project was on promoting awareness and understanding of
LGBTQIA+ issues, gender equality and human rights. We have learned what problems and difficulties had and have LGBTQIA+ community members in the world and especially in our countries. We informed about different laws and their limitations, values and attitudes across Europe related to LGBTQIA+. And during the discussions we shared our ideas and made some possible solutions to these very problems as well.
Throughout the project, we engaged in various activities such as sessions, games, debates and cultural exchanges through intercultural evenings. We explored the challenges faced by different individuals and discussed ways to promote inclusion and respect. We also learned about gender stereotypes and the impact they have on our society, as well as strategies to combat them.
One of the highlights of the project was the living library event, where we had the chance to hear personal stories from people who have faced discrimination and prejudice. It was a powerful experience that helped us to empathize with those who are marginalized and to understand the importance of creating safe spaces for everyone. We didn’t think that we would actually be able to learn and discover THIS much during these 2 weeks. It was really good that the program didn’t only have theoretical sessions, but also artistic ones – such as creating paintings , that helped us learn work in teams and show important ideas, problems through art and music. During one session we made even illustrated books and we learned how complicated ideas can be just ‘’simple’’ and understandable for all of us. One of the biggest problem of all times is fake news and we are happy that in this project we learned as well types of information and how to filter fake news.
During this exchange we developed a lot of interesting competences, such as citizenship, digital, literacy, entrepreneurship, multilingual, personal and social.
The organizers always made sure that we feel comfortable and safe, which was the guarantee of succeeded project. We thought we’d overwhelmed after our return, but it was right the opposite.
For some of us it was the first youth exchange project abroad, we had some concerns but we could improve our skills, acquire knowledge, broaden our horizons and make new friends from all over the word.
As well as we had the opportunity to travel in Romania and learn about their sightseeing and culture.
Now after the project we hope that by sharing our experience, we can help raise awareness of the importance of promoting tolerance, acceptance, and equality in our society. We are more than ever inspired to bring a change in our community and fight against homophobia and hate speech in Armenia. We know that it will take a lot of time and effort from us but after PANdamnit project we are full of information, motivation and energy. If we wanna have the change, we are ready to be a change!