We began our job shadowing by meeting with our host organisation – Mosaiq, where Asier and Emma treated us to breakfast and walked us through the activities of the organisation. Mosaiq is a young organisation that has only existed for a few months, but led by Asier, who has years of experience in the field of youth work, coaching and work on the topic of LGBTIQ+, and with the help of colleagues, interns and volunteers, it successfully implements both local and international projects.
We talked about the experiences of working in the field of LGBTIQ+ rights and youth work, as well as non-formal education and international projects, comparing perspectives of Slovenia and Spain, and we looked for related areas of work through which we can connect and cooperate in the future. They presented their way of working and by shadowing their work we found quite a few common topics and approaches that we can also use in our association. In addition to the fact that we are already in the joint project Rainbow Peer Forces, which explores storytelling as a method, through our work we address the topics of peer violence, active citizenship, activism through street art, and we also both dedicate our work to the education of youth workers and people who work with youth.
We certainly found the biggest connection within the framework of our cultural program and exhibitions that take place as part of the Ljubljana Pride Festival, and we even came up with the idea of a joint exhibition at the 2024 Festival, as Mosaiq also organises exhibitions and engages interest in active participation and activism among young people.
We also met with Vincent, a representative of the non-governmental organisation Iguality, which focuses on the topic of mental health services and making those accessible to marginalized groups. We talked about the possibilities of connecting through the SQVOT program and Erasmus+ internships. It is a young organisation, but the connections its members have due to the many years of previous work enables them to progress rapidly and maintain a high level of professionalism that brings concrete results. Vincent also introduced us to their principles of communication work, more specifically through innovative ways of advertising and accessing their users.
We also visited the Center LGBTI de Barcelona, where we met with the Ahora Dónde team, an association for young people who are targeted with LGBTIQ+ phobia in their family environment, and a member of the European network Le Refuge LGTBI+. The association offers psychosocial counseling and support to young people who are targeted with LGBTIQ+ phobia. They also deal with family mediation, as their goal is to guide the young person, with their consent, through preparations for a reunion and confrontation with their family in a safe and guided environment. Similar to our SQVOT program, they also offer young LGBTIQ+ people accommodation options.
Part of the team we met with; Mélanie, Alberto and Marco also presented us with the work of the Center LGBTI de Barcelona – a local space that offers the LGBTIQ+ community and all other citizens a wide range of information, counseling and direct assistance services, all in cooperation with relevant organizations and competent organs. In addition to representing a space for the LGBTIQ+ community along with their allies, a space for culture and awareness raising, and complementing the activities organised by various associations that use the center’s premises permanently or occasionally, it also strives to protect and advance LGBTIQ+ rights at the legal level.
We explored the rich LGBTIQ+ scene in the city and headed to an area where more than 15 LGBTIQ+ bars and shops are concentrated on a few streets. During our job shadowing, the biggest international gay festival, Circuit, was also taking place, so the already rainbow colored Barcelona was even more full of LGBTIQ+ people, rainbow flags and evening events.
*Trigger warning: Transfemicide*
We also visited the Glorieta de la Transsexual Sònia monument, erected in memory of Sonia Rescalva Zafra, who was violently murdered on October 6, 1991 by a group of neo-Nazis because of her gender identity. Standing in Ciutadella City Park since 1993, the monument was renamed to its existing name in 2013, becoming the first public space in Europe to be named after a transgender person, along with a historical marker explaining its history.
We will remember Barcelona as a colorful, inclusive and progressive city for LGBTIQ+ people. We also felt the developed LGBTIQ+ scene firsthand, because as a lesbian couple and as queer women, we did not experience any negative reactions, inappropriate comments, use of incorrect pronouns, … Of course, taking into account that we stayed in the more touristy parts of the city and our short experience does not necessarily reflect reality.
Ljubljana Pride Association participates in several international projects that enable us to cooperate with LGBTIQ+ and youth organizations across Europe and beyond. From 2017 onwards, we also provide job shadowings. In the past, we have hosted many people from partner organizations in Slovenia to learn about our ways of working, our approaches and examples of good practices, and especially the individual processes of planning and implementing the Pride Parade Festival. In the last year, however, we decided that it was time for our team to go to the field with partner organizations. Thus, we visited partner organizations in Portugal, Ireland, Germany, Iceland, Macedonia, Cyprus and Spain. We are grateful for learning experiences, for insight into other realities and especially for new partnerships and collaborations in the field of LGBTIQ+ youth work. The project is financed by the Erasmus+ program and the best thing about the whole story is that almost anyone can get involved in such projects. We hope that more of you will join us in the next projects.
Katja and Hana
PS – Barcelona is also very dog inclusive! 🙂