While Moldova adopted an anti-discrimination law in 2012, widespread public stigma against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) members of the society perpetuates hate speech and hate crimes against LGBT persons. The stigma, which is also prevalent within the justice sector, makes it harder to legally protect LGBT rights. Yet, a number of local and international human rights organizations are striving to raise public awareness of the Law on Ensuring Equality and its implications for LGBT rights.
A Romanian language teacher reunites with her lesbian partner after work.
To supplement ongoing rights-based approach to legally protect LGBT persons, in May 2015, the ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) and the leading LGBT rights non-governmental organization in Moldova, GENDERDOC-M, conducted a 17-day long public awareness campaign. Composed of four short videos, which depict LGBT individuals in their professional and personal roles, the campaign challenges harmful biases and stereotypes, and highlights the contributions of LGBT members of society as well as the interdependence among citizens with varying personal attributes.
The videos show a gay medical doctor consulting with his patient before going home to his partner; a lesbian Romanian language teacher in her professional and personal settings; a transgender baker serving a customer; and a montage of the different characters from the video series, with the transgender man receiving guests at his birthday party. The videos end with a message that emphasizes the need to live harmoniously despite personal differences, “We trust them because they are professionals. We need them, because they do their job well. We respect them because they are talented. We all need each other, because we all live here.”
The videos are available in both Romanian and Russian languages and were released a week before GENDERDOC-M’s annual Pride Festival in Moldova. They were broadcasted on two popular TV channels, N4 and RenTV, reaching 380,000 viewers nationwide.
“I am sure that people generally do not think that their doctor or teacher or even police officer near their house could be gay,” said Andrei, a 27-year old Moldovan who watched the videos. “I really hope the videos will gently bring them to this other perspective, which is not that frightening after all.”
Another young Moldovan, Irina, said that the campaign is a welcome development that can highlight the human aspect of the LGBT rights discussion. “Such videos have been necessary for a long time. Everyone seems to be talking about laws: anti-discrimination and European integration, and how adopting the Law on Ensuring Equality was a ‘necessary evil’ for EU integration. But everyone seems to forget that lesbians or gays are people who live, love and work by your side,” she said.
To learn more about our work in Moldova, contact the ABA Rule of Law Initiative at [email protected].
Links to Russian versions of the videos: