Resource LGBTQIA Moscow has been hosting its LGBTQIAPP+ Family Conference for four years in a row, and the conference has become one of the biggest annual events in Moscow for the LGBTQIAPP community and helping specialists.
The Fourth LGBTQIAPP+ Family Conference titled “Openness and solidarity. Risks and opportunities” is an open platform for dialogue between the LGBTQIAPP+ community and specialists of the helping professions.
Over 400 people registered for the Conference this year; that’s 100 more than last year. Three action-packed days of presentations, round-table discussions, seminars, workshops, fellowship for Rainbow families and a “Living library” event were offered to participants. We were joined by guests from Switzerland, Italy, Ukraine and many Russian cities, including St. Petersburg, Ekaterinburg, Tyumen, Tomsk, Perm and others.
After two fruitful conference days a group of homophobic extremists attacked our volunteers who were making their way home after the second day of the Conference. Further threats were posted on [Russian social networking site] VK and the third day of the Conference at that venue had to be cancelled. It is painful and distressing to realise that in present-day Russia someone would attack the particiants of an ordinary research and practical conference. This incident was the first one in the history of our Conference, and that saddens us and makes us think about what is going on in our society where such threats and consequent attacks are becoming a reality.
The biggest psychological damage as a result of this incident was done to our Rainbow families, particularly ones with children, because the extremists’ threats were directed mainly at them and Rainbow families make up the least protected group from a legal standpoint. The invisibility of our families and their utter powerlessness before the law allow such attacks of homophobic extremists to go unpunished and spread fear and panic among LGBTQIAPPs, giving them the urge to isolate themselves and their families.
By the same token, we have felt overwhelming support for the LGBTQIAPP+ community and the professional psychological community. Many respected researchers, lawyers, teachers (for instance, the Family Systems Therapists’ community, whose representatives spoke on the 2nd day of the Conference) as well as many LGBT organisations who have faced similar disheartening events in their work, have expressed their support and indignation at what had happened.
Despite the fact that the 3rd day of the Conference (November 12) was disrupted and many of the speakers had to return to their hometowns, we held the 3rd day of the conference at a later date, on November 25, at a different venue whose courage and congeniality we are truly grateful for.
We would also like to express our appreciation to “Stimul”, the Moscow LGBT initiative group that supported us by sending an experienced lawyer to be with us at the venue. We took additional security measures with regards to the registration process and conducting the events of day 3, and we are thankful to our team that ensured that everything was calm and orderly.
However, day 3 wouldn’t have been possible without the presenters, and we applaud their courage and participation. Many of the events that had been planned did take place and part of the workshops and discussion groups were offered afresh.
The third day of the Conference was as eventful, practical and engaging as the first two, with about 150 participants. We are sorry, however, that many LGBTQIAPP+ parents did not take the risk of coming out of concern for their families.
Below are the results of the Conference. In 3 days there were:
The Fourth LGBTQIAPP+ Family Conference is the visible result of a huge amount of work with the LGBTQIAPP+ community and the professional community of helping professionals done by Resource LGBTQIA Moscow. We will preserve our policy of openness and solidarity in the discussion of LGBTIQAPP+ issues. We believe that covering these topics is important and useful for the development of society as a whole.
We look forward to welcoming you at our Fifth LGBTQIAPP+ Family Conference in November 2018!