Our participants in IGLYO’s study session “DOWN & OUT: Social Exclusion of LGBTQ Young People and Homelessness” are now gathered at the European Youth Centre in Budapest, Hungary, exploring the topic of social inclusion and the intersection of LGBTQ identities and socioeconomic status. The study session started on the 26th October and will end on the 31st. These first days of session have been thought-provoking and inspiring for participants. Some of them are eager to share their first impressions on the event and some of the conclusions they reached in these first days of work:
For the majority of us, this was the first time we got the chance to participate to this kind of international event. It was surprising and at the same time challenging to see how friendly and open minded were the people in the group. The dynamics of the group was atypical and very inclusive.
The formal content and the terminology was very interesting and educational. Basic level of English permitted everybody to understand the topic.
First Day, 26th October
On the first day, we had the chance to learn on the topic through several educational games. Some
of the games we played were challenging and resulted to be very good ice breakers. At the end of the day, we were all very tired but satisfied with the knowledge we absorbed.
We had a nice introduction on the works of the Council of Europe (CoE) by Karina Chupina. Karina did not give a frontal lecture, but a clear explanation of the structure and the organisation of CoE which helped us understanding much more the work of the CoE on social inclusion.
Birthe’s speech was clear, though very academic. She very precisely presented the situation in Denmark. This inspiring example made us agree on the fact that Denmark represents a very good example in addressing the issue and on the tools to approach this topic. However, though the validity of this approach is remarkable, precise statistics are still not fully available, thus making future researches challenging.
After the presentation on Denmark we played controversial games where we addressed stereotypes and prejudices often fostered by society. It was interesting to see that our cultural diversity could fall under the same umbrella, no matter our origins and nationalities. It is pretty emotional for us to face that we are all fighting the same battle; a battle for equality.
Reflection groups after dinner were the cherry on top: during these moments we got the chance to reflect on the different ways to produce a safer and more pleasant environment for all of us.
Second Day, 27th of October
The second day started with Dr. Alex Abramovich presentation about LGBTQ2S youth and homelessness. He gave us a glossary of important terms (such as cis-gender, FTM and so on…) but also an introduction into the field of youth homelessness in Canada. The presentation was interactive and very inclusive. He tried to give us another point of view and wear the shoes of those people who suffered victimization and exclusion in everyday life due to their sexual orientation and gender identity.
Finn Cotton was an unexpected guest . He was talking about the situation in Seattle and he introduced us to “Zine”, a magazine written and produced by homeless people. “Zine” helps homeless people to feel useful to society and at the same time, allows them to share their experiences and work for common goods.
After the experts’ presentations, we were divided into peer to peer panel groups where we could share our experiences. This was a very emotional and inspiring moment for all of since it was about listening to the stories of our colleagues.
Article written by Naomi Doevendans, Pino Paank, Judith Velasco, Petra Tomašić and Silvia Moretti.
Photo courtesy of Silvia Moretti.