maandag 28 september 2009
Gays and lesbians in the Netherlands find themselves in a rather comfortable position compared to LGBTs abroad. Elsewhere in the world, LGBTs could use support on several terrains. Moral and practical support, friendship and aid in establishment of knowledge and expertise to found organisations, or to lobby for a humane existence, for respect, equal rights, emancipation, participation, and integration.
- The Working Group International Relations wants to get into contact with individuals and organisations abroad, which are active in LGBT emancipation issues in their own environments. With the experience of Dutch and Leiden gay history at hand, as well as with tools like education, organising capacities, and public relations, the Leiden working group can, on a small scale, assist people abroad.
- The Working Group also wants to learn from situations abroad, for instance by gaining better insight into the obstruction encountered by gays and lesbians elsewhere in relation to societal and cultural tradition, or religious and secular legislation.
- The Working Group wants to promote the mutual acquaintance of each other’s lives and beliefs, and to enhance a respectful dialogue. The group will include other COC members, volunteers, and visitors in its activities and learning processes and inform them on the situation of gays and lesbians abroad and the ways to support them. Individual contacts between gays and lesbians in Leiden and brothers and sisters abroad will be stimulated where possible. This will not only lead to better cross-border understanding and an improved LGBT situation abroad, but is also of much help in manoeuvring within the multicultural society in the Netherlands.
COC Leiden International Relations aims at reaching its goals by the following means:
- To seek and maintain amicable relationships and to exchange know-how and expertise with a limited number of individual and organised gays in three twin cities of Leiden; i.e. Toruń (Poland), Juigalpa (Nicaragua), and Buffalo City (South Africa).
- To maintain contact and to collaborate with other regional COC working groups on international relations, COC Netherlands (LWIB), ILGA, and Amnesty International to increase our own inspiration, knowhow and expertise, and efficiency.
- To intervene in cases of specific crisis situations abroad, through writing actions and contacting international and national groups and authorities for public pressure;
- To inform members, volunteers and visitors of COC Leiden about all ongoing activities and developments in international contacts using the news letter, De Kroon magazine, COC website, discussion meetings, reception of foreign delegations, et cetera.
- To include all others in COC Leiden in activities and contacts with foreign gays and to continuously ask for anyone’s support. With respect to this, one can think of a new type of volunteer: email volunteer, chat volunteer, travel volunteer, and hosts for visitors from abroad. In addition, information and developments within the domain of the working group will be integrated as much as possible with the other working groups’ activities; events, bar nights, Sunday Times women’s bar, films, et cetera.
- To raise funds within COC Leiden, the Netherlands, or abroad.
Want to know more? Please contact Maarten Bergwerff, the international co-ordinator of COC Leiden.