Knowing that the LGBTI history dates back to the times of the ancient civilizations when the first instances of same sex love were recorded, then how does it come that in today’s world there are still people who have prejudices towards this community?

How can we still allow discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, or expression? Is it so difficult to simply understand that love is love and that everybody has their own right to choose who are they going to love and be with?

Even though from the outside it seems as there is bigger progress in our country in the last few years when it comes to the acceptance of this community, as the FRA’s latest report says, we still have a long way to go. Based on this report, only 18% are now fairly or very open about being LGBTI in North Macedonia, while in the EU-28, it is 47%. This is just proof that we need to work more than ever to improve the situation and create a safe environment where these people can feel free to be who they are.

Unfortunately, instead of moving forward, we believe that the situation with the pandemic just worsens the situation for the LGBTI people. When the last year we welcomed the first PRIDE parade in our country, many gained hope that since that moment many things will improve and we will finally start living in peace with each other, which is not so difficult, right? But it appears that things are not always as they seem to be. In fact, only less than a year later, in May this year to be precise, the law on discrimination based on sexual orientation was abolished. What is more, according to PINA’s survey (Platform for investigative journalism and analyzes), almost 60% of the respondents stated that they didn’t feel safe at home during the past 6 months. The research also showed that 12% of the respondents were victims of some sort of violence. So, how can we expect them to feel free and speak openly about their sexuality in front of the others when they can’t even be themselves in front of their parents and family?

Basically, what we need today is more and better education on this issue. Education is the key to these problems. We should also be more open about this topic. We should encourage this topic with the people around us, we shouldn’t be afraid of other people’s reactions. We should teach our kids, friends, relatives, that there is nothing bad in being gay, lesbian, etc., that it is not a sickness, nor a phase, it is just how people are and who they love is none of our business. Because only by supporting, helping, and lifting each other up we can live better, be better, and do better.

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