ACCEPT is the first Romanian non-governmental organization that defends and promotes the rights of LGBTs (lesbians, gays, bisexuals,transgenders) at the national level.
The protection and promotion of the rights of the LGBT persons in Romania as human rights.
A society in which sexual orientation and gender identity are mere characteristics of a human being.
To change negative social attitudes toward LGBT people in Romania.
1. Respect for human rights.
We respect the right to personal and group dignity.
2 Respect for diversity.
We consider the respect for convictions, values, feelings and identity as fundamental.
2. Respect for oneself and for the communities to which we belong.
We support and encourage the expression of one’s identity and respect for oneself.
We act professionally.
We promote the principles of institutional transparency.
4. Combating intolerance and discrimination towards persons and groups on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity.
- defending, by all legal means, the persons whose fundamental rights and liberties, as guaranteed by the Romanian Constitution and the international treaties ratified by Romania, were infringed upon;
- educating the public and the media on LGBTs;
- organizing activities to promote the observance of the rights and liberties of LGBT people; increasing group solidarity among the LGBT community members;
- collaborating with organizations that promote the rights of minorities;
- developing services that address the specific needs of LGBTs in Romania.
ACCEPT is a member of the International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA) and of the International Lesbian and Gay Youth Organization (IGLYO).
In 1994 Bucharest Acceptance Group was founded, aiming to promote an open, reasonable dialogue on the complex topic of same-sex relationships.
In May 1995 Bucharest Acceptance Group organised in Bucharest a symposium titled “Homosexuality – a Human Right?”. The symposium was attended by Government and Parliament officials, and representatives of the Romanian Orthodox Church and of other LGBT and human rights organisations. One of the positive results of the symposium was that the small group of volunteers and sympathisers decided to found a stable, independent organisation.
On October 25, 1996 ACCEPT (Bucharest Acceptance Group) was officially registered as a human rights non-governmental organisation.
In 1997 ACCEPT launched a national and international campaign for the repeal of Article 200 of the Romanian Penal Code, which incriminated same-sex relationships. As a result of this campaign, the legislative process leading to the repeal of article 200 was completed on January 30, 2002.
In May 1999, ACCEPT was awarded the “EGALITE” (”Equality for Gays and Lesbians in the European Institutions”) Prize at the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, for its overall activity in defence of the rights and liberties of the LGBT people in Romania. Also, in 1999 ACCEPT was nominated for the Sacharov Prize of the European Parliament.
Between October 4 and 8, ACCEPT organised in Bucharest the 22nd European Conference of ILGA (The International Lesbian and Gay Association), titled “ACCEPTing Diversity”.
In 2004 ACCEPT organized the first Romanian gay festival, the Festival of Diversity, an event consisting of a gay film festival, a photo and posters exhibition, book launches, public debates and a gay party.
On 28 May, 2005 ACCEPT organized the first Romanian GayPride in Bucharest, an very important moment for the Romanian LGBT Movement. The city initially refused to authorize the parade, telling organizers that it could not guarantee the security of participants because of soccer games taking place at the same time.The change of heart by the Bucharest administration comes after Romania’s President Traian Basescu, criticized the city’s initial denial. This event produced various reactions in the Romanian mass-media.
In 2011, GayFest reached its 8th edition and the local LGBT community celebrates ten years without homosexuality being incriminated by the local legal frame.
LOBBY, ADVOCACY, ACTIVISM
Influencing legislation and public policies relevant to LGBT people
Lobby activities with respect to the anti-discrimination legislation; relation with the National Council for Combating Discrimination; training courses targeted at law enforcement officers and medical staff.
Lobby activities with the education field
Recent activities: a letter addressed to the Ministry of Education with respect to the list of psychological disorders deems as incompatible with teaching activities; publishing “Sexual Orientation within sex education” manual targeted at health education teachers and school counselors.
Lobby activities within LGBT health issues and SDT prevention (training classes for doctors, the relation with the Ministry of Health and active NGOs in the field of education)
COLLECTING AND DISSEMINATING INFORMATION on homosexuality, the gay community in Romania, health and AIDS/HIV prevention
- Completing a research on 200 subjects concerning access to health services for the LGBT community in Romania (September – December 2004, financed by OSI and ILGA );
- Organizing ACCEPT’s Summer Campaign (July 10 – September 4, 2005, financed by The Global Fund) part of which our volunteers and employees freely distributed over 52,574 condoms, 19,419 informational fliers, T-shirts with our campaign slogan, and organized interactive workshops on STD transmission and prevention;
- Publishing the book: “Sexual Orientation: Guide for Teachers” targeted at pedagogues who teach Health classes in public schools;
- Publishing the “Don’t Give up Sex! Give up Risks!” brochure (July 2004, financed by the Global Fund)
- Publishing the informational bulletin “About Us. Sexual Minorities in Romania” (December 2003)
- Completing various researches: “Attitudes of Dermato-Venerology Doctors in Bucharest towards MSM Patients” (ACCEPT, 2002), “Sexual Behavior of MSM in Bucharest” (ACCEPT, 2002), “Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation in Romania – a Survey” (co-produced by ACCEPT and ILGA – Europe, 2001), “General Guideline on Objectives and Needs of the LGBT Community within ACCEPT” (ACCEPT, 2000), “Attitudes, Believes, Experiences and Behaviors concerning HIV from MSM in Bucharest” (ACCEPT, 2000).
ACCEPT constantly monitors the written press in Romania with regards to the way it reflects the matter of homosexuality and sends the monitored publications personalized feedback, whether positive or negative. It also provides useful information to journalists for a more professional and non-discriminatory approach. Looking ahead, ACCEPT intends to become a source of topics for articles and cover stories about LGBT people for publications which are interested in such coverage.
ACCEPT issues press releases and organizes press conferences for special events (official statements during government actions, promoting the gay festival, etc). ACCEPT representatives make themselves available to journalists and reporters in order to make comments and take stands with regard to various events.
ACCEPT representatives often participate in radio and TV shows tackling homosexuality and occasionally mediate contact of journalists with LGBT persons whose presence or points of view are requested.
Campaigns to fight homophobia and to educate the population about LGBT people and campaigns to raise political awareness among LGBT people: GayFest 200
STRENGTHENING THE GAY MOVEMENT AND THE GAY COMMUNITY
Supporting gay and gay-friendly organizations in Romania. ACCEPT offers consultancy on legal registration formalities, necessary documents, assisting with writing the constitution, to LGBT groups that wish to register for legal recognition. If the groups request it, they can also receive support for organizational strengthening (writing grants, strategic planning, volunteer management).
Through the implementation of the Balkan Triangle project (March 2001 – Feb 2004), 19 local LGBT groups and more than 30 people all over the country who initiated activities to develop the local gay communities were assisted. The assistance consisted of direct support for legal registration, writing grants, organizational development, training courses and ensuring access to training offered by third party organizations (over 20 such training courses), editing and distributing informational materials (anti-discrimination, HIV prevention, other LGBT matters; over 450 different materials have been distributed.)
Supporting private initiatives serving the gay community and working with already existing institutions.
Recent examples: collaboration with the Queen’s Club in Bucharest, the Saljoa Bed and Breakfast in Navodari, sponsoring the books “100 Most Influential Gay Personalities” published by Paralela 45, George Balan’s “Homophobia” and Liliana Popescu’s “Gender Politics” (Maiko Publishing House).
Staying in contact with individuals and informal networks which are able to support the gay movement (artists, prominent intellectuals, politicians, business people, professionals, actively involved youth, etc).
DIRECT ACTION AND GRASS-ROOT ACTIVISM
In the future, ACCEPT will support activist programs and street actions and with private individuals at grass-root level with the goal to boost the political awareness and to increase the cohesiveness of the gay community. Such activities could be direct protests (picketing institutions, street rallies) or artistic events and public performances). The goals are the increase LGBT visibility and for ACCEPT to be connected with the rest of the gay community, to assist its development and to integrate political activism with the other aspects of gay life.
SOCIAL AND CULTURAL ACTIVITIES
The Gay Cultural Festival and Gay Pride
The Diversity Festival 2004, consisting of a gay film festival, a poster and photo exhibit, book inaugurations and public debates.
The 2005 GayFest. Aside from the usual schedule – debates, shows, film projection – a special event escalated Romanian society’s interest: the first Romanian Gay Pride, taking place in the center of the Capital city of Bucharest.