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.