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June 01, 2014

TV Show Raises Public Awareness on LGBT Rights in Moldova

June 2014

In March, the ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI), in partnership with Moldovan non-governmental organization GENDERDOC-M, produced and broadcast a TV show to raise public awareness about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights in Moldova. Aired on the Canal Regional station, which services 15 cities and has an estimated audience of 250,000 people, the show challenges myths and stereotypes about the LGBT community, many of which are routinely reinforced by the Moldovan media.

The TV show, which features representatives from Moldova's only LGBT rights-focused organization, challenges myths and stereotypes about the LGBT community, many of which are routinely reinforced by the media.

Despite the adoption of the Law on Ensuring Equality in 2012, discrimination against LGBT persons remains pervasive in the country. Part of a know-your-rights campaign targeting the LGBT community and the public, the show features representatives from GENDERDOC-M, the country’s only LGBT rights-focused organization. Alexandru Ciobanu, a psychologist and LGBT rights advocate, and Doina Ioana Straisteanu, a preeminent anti-discrimination lawyer, present and dispel common LGBT-related myths, such as the claim that homosexuality is a mental illness. Ciobanu also highlights the World Health Organization’s position that homosexuality is neither a mental illness nor a matter of personal choice. In response to recent anti-LGBT remarks in widely broadcast political speeches, the advocates also explained that the negative attitudes towards LGBT people are fueled by misunderstanding and lack of information.

Additionally, the program illustrated that hate speech and hate crimes are rising—there were 13 reported cases of hate crimes in 2013 and two reported cases in 2012. Threats of violence also surround the Pride Parade. The parade, held annually in May, seeks to promote LGBT tolerance and to raise public awareness of equal rights, yet it faces fierce opposition from both the public and municipal authorities. Straisteanu said that the Law on Ensuring Equality protects the freedom of speech and association that LGBT advocates and supporters seek to exercise during the parade and thus outlaws hate speech and hate crimes. However, municipal laws contravene the law and create roadblocks for LGBT equality, she added.

The show was produced in Romanian and in Russian. Video of the show is available here. The TV show and ABA ROLI’s other efforts to promote equal rights in Moldova are funded by the U.S. Department State’s Office of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor.

To learn more about our work in Moldova, contact the ABA Rule of Law Initiative at [email protected].