Voices of gay Roma slowly being heard 

Gay Roma people face multiple forms of discrimination in Romania, but their struggles and stories are suddenly finding an audience willing to listen and take action.

Claudia Ciobanu
Claudia Ciobanu NewsMavens, Central & Eastern Europe
Voices of gay Roma slowly being heard  - NewsMavens
Giuvlipen. Facebook

Why this story matters:

Perceived as uncivilized, uneducated and poor, nearly 2 million Roma people living in Romania face systematic discrimination. But what happens when you are both Roma and LGBTQ?

For one, the white majority dismisses you for being Roma. Traditional Roma communities exclude you. Media and culture silence you.

Increasingly, however, Roma LGBTQ people are carving out spaces for themselves -- and are getting support. Progressive media are welcoming their voices. Cultural spaces are portraying their lives on a public stage -- sometimes literally.

Out of this newfound presence, a coherent message emerges: there is racism inside the LGBTQ community, and there is homophobia and transphobia among some Roma communties; hence the importance of approaching their situation from an intersectional perspective.  

LGBT,human rights,Roma,media

Details from the story:

  • Vice recently published a series of interviews with Roma LGBTQ people living in Romania. 
  • The interviewees said they found more openness in Romania as of late, with many more people speaking out to defend human rights and joining marches. 
  • They also said the degree of discrimination from society depends on their socio-economic position.
  • Famous heterosexual Roma, including actors and singers, have came out in strong support of LGBTQ people from the Roma communities.
  • In the theatre show 'Lalele, lalele', which premiered this month in Bucharest, stories of Roma LGBTQ people were heard.
  • The internationally acclaimed movie 'Soldatii din Ferentari' ('Ferentari soldiers'), out this year, featured a love story between a Roma man and a white man.
  • ARA ART, a group of Roma artists from the Czech Republic, already have organized three lectures on LGBT Roma in Prague.
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