The time has come for the last Member of the Month of 2022! On this occasion, we are making our way to Timișoara, Romania, to meet with our new Member Identity.Education, the only active LGBTQI+ NGO in the western part of Romania.
Working mainly in the areas of culture, the arts and education, they organise many events for the LGBTQI+ community, with a view not only to bring people closer to the cause and different means of expression, but also to collaborate with non-LGBTQI+ organisations so as to create safe spaces for everyone.
Let’s meet them now!
Heya, can you tell us more about Identity.Education?
For years, we felt that our city, Timișoara, lacks any kind of events for the community, especially when it comes to representing the community in any area, be it cultural, artistic, institutional, educational.
Therefore, Identity.Education was born out of the need of a formal representation of the LGBTQIA+ community in Timișoara, and out of the wish (and why not…skill) to create artistic, cultural, and educational events about the community, and for the community and allies.
Therefore, Andre Rădulescu (founder and current leader of the organisation), together with their parents (in Romania, you need 3 founding members who are willing to take responsibility for all the legal and financial matters of the NGOs), founded Identity.Education in 2018, which is currently the only active LGBTQI+ NGO in the Western part of Romania.
What have been your main achievements? What makes you unique in your country?
Now, we are a team of 20ish members (working members, and volunteers as well).
In just a few years, we have organised dozens of events for the community, all under the umbrella of culture, the arts, and education — the main three areas we focus on.
We have organised the first Pride events ever in the western part of the country, and this year, we have organised the first Pride March in Timișoara. Almost 1,000 people attended it!
Through curated events especially tailored for the needs of the community, we managed to bring people closer not only to the cause, but to different means of expression, only because art is so diverse in all its forms (e.g. we have a storytelling exhibition that tells 11 queer stories through augmented reality).
We also focused on bringing non-LGBTQIA+ organisations closer to learn together how to create safe spaces for everyone – whether that is for team members or beneficiaries. We spent 2 years building bridges between them and the cause, and for operationalising the concept of a safe space through research, workshops, and community events.
Are there specific ways in which you have supported the community that you would like to highlight and/or share with other European organisations?
We created different platforms through our projects and events for youth to voice their stories, to change narratives on gender identity and diversity. We hosted community events of their choosing, we created cultural and artistic events and photo expos with them as main storytellers. And we also opened a community centre.
What can governments, (national and international) authorities and institutions do more to support the communities you serve?
In Romania, the history of the relationship with institutions and public authorities has been shameful, and continues to be this way. Same sex relationships were criminalised up until 2001, we had a referendum in 2018 which tried to change the constitution to specifically mention that marriage is between a cis-man and a cis-woman (queer marriages illegal anyway), and throughout the years we’ve dealt with several legislative proposals to censor LGBTQIA+ topics and gender education.
We are in 2022 and we still have no form of recognition for same sex couples. We are in 2022 and we still have no health and legal framework for trans people to follow the steps they need for their transition.
LGBTQIA+ organisations have been fighting for recognition, equal rights and safer spaces and it is time for other stakeholders to be braver, more visible and work alongside organisations as allies – and this goes for international governments which have any form or presence in Romania too.
We cannot remain silent when communities are still discriminated against and are unsafe in their homes and in their cities.
Thank you so much Identity.Education! In case our readers want to know more, they can find more information on your website.
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