A very important event about LGBT issues for women were held during one week in September. Together with participants from Armenia and Azerbaijan, we shared experiences and knowledge about LGBT issues. Many members held their own sessions, including me, about the situation for LGBTQ persons in Sweden. The situation in Sweden is quite different from challenges in the Caucasus area, however, the ground problem looks quite the same.
Everything, everyone and every group in the society is influenced by, and reproduce norms. Norms are a fundamental part of the social unity in a society, but they could also be restrictive especially for those who is placed outside the norm. For example, the heteronormativity which is based on the norm that there are only two genders, and creates a lot of prejudices and discrimination of LGBTQ persons.
However, this norm has lately been questioned more and more, especially in laws that accept the existence of other gender identities and prohibits discrimination based on this fact. On the other hand, the society still holds heterosexuality as the norm, and value other groups as less worth as citizens. Both through discriminatory laws and social structures. A true democratic society should give everyone the positive and negative rights that they need to have to fully take part in the system, feel safe and be themselves.
In many ways, the situation for LGBTQ people in Sweden is relatively good, due to a long democratic tradition, liberal and secular values. However, there are still big problems. When it comes to the physical and mental health, discrimination and hate crimes, LGBTQ persons are still overrepresented as victims. The fight for marginalized groups can never stop if a democratic society is going to be kept, even though some of the goals have already been reached.
The fight should be held everywhere, in everyday social contacts, within the group to strengthen people’s self-esteem, and to hold politicians and other officials accountable, since it´s their responsibility to include and protect all citizens. This camp was about to strengthen the self-esteem and knowledge about these issues, which gives capabilities to face the struggle in society. Georgia still has a long way to climb, and pressure to make change from both bottom up and top down is needed.