Sunday, May 13, 2012

Randomer on LGBT rights in Mongolia

Incredible how fast our societal mentality is evolving given the absolute lack of understanding or even inkling on lesbians and gays only a few years ago. The proof is the fact that the televisions and journalists are seeking out  the LGBT Centre of their own accord, initiating whole talk shows around LGBT issues, going out on the streets, and by posing simple questions to pedestrians are themselves becoming the agents of social change - civic journalism in its historic momentum witnessed on the LGBT issues. The fact that Nuudel Shiidel, a brand new talk show of Mongolia's first HD television, Mongol television, did its 5th show on us is the proof. Proud of my comrades, passionate human rights defenders, who are continuing the work I had been an integral part for many years. And the younger generation of human rights defenders is proving to be much more sophisticated and diplomatic than us, the first generation post-transition, who often were, and still are, quite militant. How could I not be proud and amazed!

A thought also pops in. Despite the fact that there is an increasing number of ordinary Mongols who are getting better informed, there are those counted among specialists who refused consistently, and still do refuse, to understand LGBT rights as a holistic concept, who had, time and again, claimed superiority of other human rights issues to LGBT rights issues, who had never understood that domestic violence is domestic violence whether in a straight relationship or gay relationship, that in order to ensure the LGBT rights in today's society, the very mechanism of a civil society - collaboration, not downright negation through wilful use of wrong terms while claiming a need for consensus - is essential. Someone accused me of "angry accusations" when I simply pointed out a few facts, the facts that have a potential of spilling over into grave for the LGBT people, and for the very idea of a civil society in Mongolia, results. Instead of understanding why I may have been frustrated, my reaction was simply written off as "angry, disrespectful accusation". Talk about silencing, erasure. Angry - no. Frustrated - oh yes ma'am, you bet. PS: Saw that the person wrote something that could be construed as a threat, to quote: "your angry, disrespectful accusation could damage" one organisation's relations with other organisations. Since when are personal expressions forbidden? And who says that? Really, just another instance of unethical bullying, with the final aim of silencing, erasing, negating. And it's one of the so-called specialists...

On a different note altogether. Where would we be in a few years? Did I dream about the level of acceptance for the LGBT people we're witnessing now compared to five years ago when we were first founding the LGBT Centre? Or even 13 years ago when I first landed back in Mongolia and had to look for Tavilan for more than half a year? That by 2012 the Government of Mongolia would be strongly committed to ensuring equality to LGBT people through proposed enactment of a non-discrimination legislation, amendments to the Criminal Code and even the Constitution?! No. It was all to be at least a decade-long, sweaty and bloody labour that suddenly took off in 2010 in ways we never imagined, thanks to the Universal Periodic Review mechanism of the UN Human Rights Council. So how shall I dream now about what and where we will be as a society in five years? I'll dream big, and so do you, people! Dare on, my sisters and brothers, walk the talk, dreamers!

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