Embracing gender diversity and discussing this topic is not easy in Flanders (Belgium), but an even bigger challenge in Latvia. Together we can achieve more! That's what the LGBT-organisations 'Holebihuis Vlaams-Brabant' (Flanders) and 'Mozaika' (Latvia) concluded after an exchange in Riga in 2013.
Both organisations decided to put their youngsters to work, and in 2015 they will join forces to build a bridge across Europe and bring together a young generation during a youth exchange week in september.
20 youngsters (10 from Belgium and 10 from Latvia) will embark on a joint journey to discover and compare how their societies react to differences in sexual orientation and gender identity, and how respect for gender diversity can be promoted.
Part of the exchange is learning about gender diversity. We will work together with experienced partners who will help us understand the topics through intensive -yet fun- workshops. This will help us in building useable tools to spread the message.
During our exchange we will use all modern day tools available to us to put what we have learned out there. We will be creating a large video production on the subject matter, and will actively use social media tools (like blogs, facebook and twitter) to connect to other youth.
The youth exchange week will take place from the 2nd 'till the 9th of September 2015 in Leuven, Belgium. The 20 participants will work together with the stakeholders through workshops and fun activities. It will be a mix of social and educational fun.
During the youth exchange week, the main challenge will be making a soap opera, written and acted out by our participants. The story of the soap will focus on gender diversity and self discovery of the characters, and also about overcoming adversity.
Our main goal is personal development for the participants with an increase in local, regional and international awareness about gender diversity. We also want to provide tools to the organisations to help discuss gender diversity in their respective communities.
Holebihuis Vlaams-Brabant (LGBT House) is an umbrella organisation and it actively builds bridges between, around and with all organisations in Flemish Brabant whose work involves gay men, lesbians, transsexuals, transgenders, bisexuals and their family members and partners.
The association of LGBT and their friends MOZAIKA is currently the only LGBT organisation in Latvia.
Their work covers advocacy for LGBT rights, educating both professionals and society on LGBT topics and involving youth in the human rights activism.
The province of 'Vlaams-Brabant' actively cooperates with partners to increase regional and international awareness about gender diversity. They are locally known for the project “Gender in the blender”, an educational tool and website on gender diversity and transgenders, which will be used as a basis for the EYW-project.
They are a Leuven (Belgium) LGBT organisation run for and by young people up to the age of 30 and organise a mixture of activities and parties! They want to be open to all LGBT youth who would like to have a serious and/or informal chat every now and again.
They are young and spontaneous LGBT people up to the age of 30 in the Aarschot region (Belgium). The emphasis is not on “being different”, but on being young and having fun. Their youth and school operations aim to make LGBT topics discussable in a fun and creative manner.
They are the English-speaking LGBT group for all non local people staying in Vlaams-Brabant for a short or a long period of time. The goal is to give people the opportunity to get to know others with a different background and different life experiences from all over the world.
Skapis is a youth group that is active in Riga, Latvia. They organise various events for the LGBT youth such as board game evenings, film events, discussions, a book club. They try to create a safe space for the young people to express themselves and learn new skills.