Building supporters for equality

IREX Europe believes that human rights’ movements will only gain momentum when both activists and the wider community work together to empower change. That’s why we support initiatives which aim to gather non-LGBTI individuals to become supporters for change working to fight discrimination against the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex community (LGBTI) issues . In Russia, we work with the Bok-o-Bok (Side-by-Side) LGBT Film Festival held every year in St. Petersburg and Moscow attracting a strong turnout among both the LGBTI and non-LGBTI community in Russia. The festivals are attended by international LGBTI supporters such as Gus Van Sant.

In 2015, the festival’s theme was the “power of cinema” and the films chosen introduced new ideas and concepts to the wider community. At the event, the parents of Matthew Shepard joined a discussion on combating hate crime. Other discussions were held on issues such as the challenges faced by the transsexual community in Russia and the challenges faced by senior LGBT persons.

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