Through the queer program we strive to foster a culture of queer togetherness. At a time when the queer community has experienced isolation that has been exacerbated by the covid pandemic and its aftermath, when our social and activist circles have begun to narrow, and when our connections have become thinner – it is more necessary than ever to rebuild and strengthen those connections.
Exploring queer love is exciting and at the same time carries a great responsibility. Talking about our queer relationships and partnerships is something we are not often asked about in society. On the contrary, our relationships are condemned to secrecy and our “4 walls”. Queer love can be said to be revolutionary in itself. Every time we have held hands with our partners or when we have kissed them in a disco – we feel pride, courage, fear, we calculate, we forget the space we are in, we defy, we love each other. Existence of queer relationships in this society means investing in love on a daily basis. Our love and our relationships are political. Although we are tired of every moment of our existence being political, our realities and current contexts are. When we go to the hospital and don’t know if our partners will be allowed to visit us, when we don’t know if we will inherit our partners’ property, when we are the awkward moment in a conversation that relatives can’t explain to their children – our lives, and relationships within it, have become political. At the same time, our relationships are everyday, ordinary, at times apolitical. Our love seems at some point in the past to be the most beautiful risk we have ever taken and has brought happiness to all of us.
Through this exhibition we want to create a space in which we will show the love of LGBTI+ couples from our community. By giving visibility to the relationships of LGBTI+ couples we want to offer a perspective that queer love and relationships are valid and should be seen/read. LGBTI+ couples will be interviewed by young volunteers who will be part of this queer program.
In addition to the stories and photographs of the interviewed LGBTI+ couples, the exhibition will display various objects that symbolize queer love. The items will relate to events related to and mentioned in the interview. For example, a ticket from your first concert together, your first shared keys to your home, the first gift from your partners (these are just some ideas for such items). The items will then be returned to the couples who donate them because we understand the emotional value. They will also be properly stored until the day of the exhibition.
Through the exhibition, we want to show the most important people, events and places that are important for the LGBTI+ movement in Macedonia. With collaborative research work, talking with activists, visiting locations, searching through media archives – the exhibition will offer a look back at how the LGBTI+ movement and resistance developed in our country.
This retrospective will be presented again through a personal, intimate and fulfilling process for the community itself and the members who will work on this segment of the exhibition.
Ekvalis will provide several talks with activists from the LGBTI+ movement during the preparation (and after it) as a way to bring the LGBTI+ struggle closer, its transmission and empowerment.
The program is based on a volunteer basis. The first meeting for more detailed instructions with the program will take place at the Ekvalis office in Skopje. Unfortunately, we are currently unable to include the rest of the cities due to limited funding. Through our Youth Equality Network, which has representatives across the country, we will ensure as much geographic diversity as possible in the stories and contexts featured in this program.
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