Empowerment of the LGBT community
Our center, CEL, aims to address discrimination faced by individual members of the LGBT community by providing a safe space and relevant information about LGBT rights and issues. With the various activities and lectures held at the center, and support provided to the members, we aim to develop the strength and fortitude required to stand up to, and eventually address and eradicate internalized homophobia within the LGBT community.
- Group discussions
CEL organises group discussion with an aim to increase the debate within the LGBT community in Kosovo, give an opportunity to the LGBT members discuss about social issues and other relevenat topics as well as increase the awareness among the LGBT community on LGBT issues . Group discussions enables the inclusion of each participant, as well as develops the critical thinking, efectiv cooperation and creates a supportive clime within the members of the LGBT community.
- Movie Evenings
An integral part of our community empowerment centered activities, and at the same one of the most appreciated ones, are the movie afternoons. Movies with LGBT relevant and related themes, subtitled in Albanian by CEL, are shown at our premises sometimes as often as twice a week. Screenings are always followed by a lively debate about the issues that particular movie dealt with, with special attention paid to introduction of best practices that members of our community could utilize in order to benefit from or avoid when faced with similar situations or issues.Movie nights also offer a great opportunity to expand our endeavors in the field of advocacy, as quite often community members attend the movie afternoons accompanied by straight friends or family members. Many have become volunteers and supporters of CEL activities.
- Reading sessions
CEL organizes reading sessions where members of the community are open to read and discuss their favourite LGBT-themed literature or their self-penned poetry or prose as means of catharsis or a celebration of life to inspire and enlighten.
The first ever regional lesbian conference in our region was organized by CEL in Prishtina in June 2014, with participation of representatives of many countries of the western Balkans region. CEL has also been co-organizer of many other conferences, attended by both members of LGBT community, general public and representatives of various governmental organizations, mandated to improve the position of LGBT community in Kosovo. CEL will continue to participate and organize/ host conferences on issues / subjects affecting the wellbeing of our community and their position in the society.
- Workshops/ Training
CEL organizes various workshops and training for the LGBT community in an effort to educate the members and increase their knowledge on problems and issues being encountered by the LGBT community and the best strategies to manage them. The trainings are conducted by regional experts in the field of human rights and LGBT issues and the information imparted in these activities help to empower the members of the community and identify potential activists.
- Lesbian/ Bisexual women events
In Kosovo society, there are not many lesbian / bisexual women who are publicly out as such. This is also partly due to the fact that our society is by large a hetero-normative country, and they would be discriminated for both being a lesbian/ bisexual, and also for being a woman. With this in mind, and with ambition to include as many women in our activities which aim to empower this category of our community, CEL organises a Lesbian/ Bisexual women evenings at our drop in centre. Main discussion subjects centre on the issues and problems faced in their everyday lives, and the modalities of easing of problems and provision of available guidance needed by lesbian/bisexual women of Kosovo.
- Drop-in Center
The center offers a safe haven and welcome space where members of the community can gather and freely discuss issues, or just hang out and get to know each other. Resource materials are on offer; the members have access to LGBT themed books, magazines, and pamphlets as well as internet access for both entertainment and information.
- Study Visits
CEL regularly arranges visits to other organizations in the region with the aim to exchange experiences, to compare and discuss problems facing the community in other cities, learn from best practices, and to foster and strengthen regional cooperation and networking.
- Psychological support
- Legal aid
- Events focusing on transgender issues
Awareness raisining among general poplation
Our work in the field of awareness raising is concentrated in working both with the LGBT community as well as society in general. Our aim is to increase the awareness of the community about their rights, ascertain the readiness of the community to enjoy those rights and to raise the level of awareness of the society with the necessity for the respect of the rights of the LGBT community
- Awareness raising campaigns
- Radio Shows
CEL occasionally features on a show for a local radio station where CEL staff and important guests from the LGBT community discuss themes to better inform the listeners about the organization and the LGBT community. Listeners are free to phone in questions they may have, to encourage interaction between the community and the rest of society
CEL members organizeand attend regional and international conferences to enhance interpersonal development, exchange ideas and cultivate relationships, and develop leadership skills. LGBT leaders and speakers aim to strengthen identity and nurture LGBT pride indispensable for social activism.
- Art and Culture Events
CEL holds several creative events featuring innovative and thought-provoking artists and performers in the LGBT community. Members and friends can immerse themselves in amazing music, dance, and visual art that delight, inspire, and educate.
- Street Actions
In the struggle for change, activism often has to be taken to the streets. CEL organizes marches, demonstrations, and other non-violent mass street actions to show the society that the LGBT community exists, that we are united, and that we cannot be unjustly treated.
- Trainings / Workshops
- Public Debates / Round tables
Advocacy / Lobbying
Our aim as a Centre for Equality and Liberty is to, through our activities influence public policy, strengthen the rule of law and break the stereotypical apprehension of LGBT community. Our advocacy related activities have included public speaking, media campaigns, participation as active members in governmental bodies mandated to further the rights of the LGBT individuals and community, lobbying of the relevant institutions and bodies in issues of interest to the community.
- Workshops / Training
CEL will also be engaging and expanding its engagement in this important field of activism, through organization of various workshops and trainings with specific target groups, such as journalists, lawyers, and judiciary as well as healthcare providers. We aim to continuously advocate with all involved participants to ensure betterment of the position of the LGBT community in Kosovo.
- Monitoring and Evaluation
CEL will actively monitor, collect and evaluate data which indicate the actual position of the LGBT community in Kosovar society, advancement and respecting of their rights, and also alert the society and responsible institutions on any cases of abuse of rights and disrespect of individual rights and liberties guaranteed by the international human rights treaties and the constitution and the laws of the country. Our organization will closely cooperate with local and international bodies to provide timely and accurate data on the position and the situation the LGBT community in Kosovo is in prescribed time periods.
Research in fields of importance to the LGBT community is another filed in which we will actively engage on, with particular emphasis on research topics related to improvement of existing laws, implementation of therein, as well as partner with other organizations to commission larger scale regional research which we would not be able to undertake on our own.We encourage the members of the LGBT community in Kosovo to contact us and provide information on any issues they consider that warrants a wider research.
During the course of our service, CEL staff have attended and participated at meetings with various governmental and non-governmental l institutions and bodies ( e.g Office for Good Governance – Prime Minister’s Office, EU Office in Kosovo, Ministry of European Integrations and civil society organization), which is a continuous activity of our agenda.CEL also participates and initiates meetings on almost daily basis with all relevant stakeholders on issues affecting the LGBT community in Kosovo.