About the project

Anastasiia Sechina
author and coordinator of the project
I am a journalist and editor. I work in an independent, non-profit freelance team "The Fourth Sector" (Russia, Perm). In addition, from time to time I help various non-profit organizations and initiatives. In particular, I collaborate with the Perm LGBT group "Raduzhny Mir".

Working with it, I gradually came to the conclusion about the existence of a vicious circle. Due to the high level of homo-, bi- and transphobia, LGBT people are closing down. They go into the shadows, put on masks, hide their orientation and identity. Even afraid to open themself sometimes. At the same time, due to the fact that the LGBT community is invisible, a lot of stereotypes and prejudices are formed around it, which, in turn, contribute to the growth of the level of homo-, bi-and transphobia.

Changing of consciousness and relations is a mutual process, but it is difficult to expect that the heteronormative society will start it independently. My hypothesis is that changes in the attitude of people and the state towards LGBT people are impossible without leaving the community out of the shadows. It can be scary and painful, and in many countries it is not safe. However, even there are people who choose life without a mask. We collected their stories in order to inspire the LGBT community in countries with a high level of homo-, bi- and transphobia for greater openness.

It is important to emphasize: we do not call for public coming-outs. To do this, you need a very clear understanding of the risks and resources that are not available often. But we believe that any level of openness brings society closer to accepting diversity, without prejudice and false stereotypes. This can be openness only for the close friends, for the parents, or even for themself. Sometimes accepting yourself is a big step.

When this project was conceived, we assumed that its characters would tell exactly the stories of openness at different levels. We were prepared for the fact that most of our characters will remain anonymous. But to our surprise, the characters called their names and opened their faces. Somebody have decided to do this in the course of project preparation.

We are eternally grateful to all the characters who told their stories. Thanks to you, the LGBT community is becoming visible and more understandable to people.

Team

The idea was born in July 2018 at the international forum of young professionals Europe Lab, which was held in the Romanian town of Pitesti. We came up with various projects aimed at working with gender stereotypes within the Gender Blenders section.

The project concept at the forum was created by a group of three people: I am Anastasiia Sechina (Russia), Alina Caradeanu (Romania) and Anastasiia Semenova (Russia). Experts from the Gender Blenders section, Alina Afle (Romania) and LGBT activist, transgender man Patrick Braila (Romania), were very helpful with the development. And also - a radio host, poet, bard, tutor and my good friend Yulia Balabanova.

Directly the work on the project was coordinated by two people: I became the coordinator for Russia and CIS countries, and the journalist from Macedonia Bojan Stojkovski became the coordinator for the Balkan part. Barbara Anna Bernsmeier, Europe Lab project coordinator, helped find a partner in the Balkans.

The texts were written by Alexandra Titova (Kyrgyzstan), Viktor Jovanov (Macedonia), Vladimir Sokolov (Russia), Daniil Zhigalin (Kazakhstan), Dardan Hoti (Kosovo), Darina Solod (Uzbekistan), Kiki Milona (Albania), Mare Knezhevich (Croatia) , Mikhail Danilovich (Russia), Bojan Stojkovski (Macedonia). Maria Naymushina, psychologist of the LGBT group "Raduzhniy mir", helped a lot with creating articles about self-acceptance and openness.

Some of the characters were photographed by the journalists themselves. But also among the photographers who had a hand in the project were Dmitry Andreev (Russia), Zarina Milibayeva (Uzbekistan), Mirsad Bekiri (Macedonia), Tilek Beishenaliev (Kyrgyzstan), Philipp Nedelkovski (Macedonia), Yuna Korosteleva (Kazakhstan), Yaroslav Chernov (Russia).

The authors themselves also translated texts into English or Russian, or the language of the country from which the character originated. But except them: Almir Almambetov (Kyrgyzstan), Zhavokhir Ochilov (Uzbekistan), Irina Galina (Russia), Kairat Zamirbekov (Kyrgyzstan), Fitore Misini (Kosovo).

The project design was developed by artist Natalia Makarikhina (Russia). She also created wonderful illustrations for each story.

The project would not have been possible without a partnership with the Friedrich Naumann Foundation. Personal gratitude for the patience to the Fund's Project Coordinator Anna Ayvazyan. The presentation of the project in Perm took place thanks to the Center of urban culture.

Republishing

All materials of the project can (and should!) be freely reprinted and distributed if you use them for non-commercial purposes.

We ask you only about the following:
  1. do not make any changes to the texts (exception - if you publish a fragment of text as an example or illustration),
  2. indicate the author of the publication, photos and illustrations,
  3. give a hyperlink to our project,
  4. accompany the publication with the following text: "Source: We Accept Project. It tells the personal stories of people who have decided to be open in countries with high levels of homo-, bi-and transphobia. The project was implemented by a group of journalists, photographers and translators from Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Macedonia, Albania, Croatia and Kosovo within the Europe Lab with the support of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation "
Thank you!
Contacts
Have questions or suggestions? Want to report a crash or bug? Ready to do something for a volunteer project or tell your own story of openness and acceptance? Send a message through this form. We will certainly contact you.
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