Helping to raise awareness of the LGBTQIA+ community in Azerbaijan

Flag of Azerbaijan waving
Photo by Hikmat Gafarzada on Unsplash

Global Youth Ambassadors, Theirworld's 20th Anniversary, Youth Voices

Sevil is a Theirworld Global Youth Ambassador from Azerbaijan enthusiastic about gender, education and innovation. To mark Pride Month, Sevil writes about her work raising awareness of the LGBTQIA+ community in her country.

My recent project was organised with the support of YPEER Youth Peer Network Azerbaijan and United Nations Association in Azerbaijan. The project was called “GenderVision: Shoot for equality” and included training sessions on gender, identity, and empowerment as well as involved learning skills about documentary making and video shooting for 13 young participants.

After the training, the participants were given 3 weeks to choose their topic, heroes, and shoot their own documentaries. We received two nice documentaries – one on the early marriages and its effect on our hero, and one on the LGBTQI+ in Azerbaijan through the eyes of our heroes.  

My project was important because it helped raise awareness for the LGBTQI+ community, allowed them to tell their stories, share their heroes and struggles.

My project was important because it helped raise awareness for the LGBTQI+ community, allowed them to tell their stories, and share their heroes and struggles. We were able to empower young people and have a real impact on their lives as we gave them a sense of belonging and community.  

I spoke to a queer activist, Ali, 17, who thinks that recently in Azerbaijan, LGBTQI+ has become more politically active and stronger. “The visibility is much better, and the bond is much stronger, so there is a positive change. However, our access to resources is seriously halted by the government and it creates a lot of obstacles for community building. Moreover, I would like international NGOs and media organizations to be more sensitive towards the issues of LGBT+ in Azerbaijan.” 

I think that education is the key to solving every issue from poverty to gender discrimination and prejudice, specifically for the challenges faced by LGBTQI+ people. By educating different groups about the situations facing young LGBTQ+ people, we are able to combat ignorance and foster acceptance.

Education is important because everything starts at school, and if you can educate from a young age, it means that society will be much stronger in the future. LGBTQI+ people will not face discrimination or hatred in society as we build accepting and kind future generations.   

I think that education can also reduce bullying with this kind of awareness and education – it would make people more aware of the challenges facing the LGBTQI+ community and could actually reduce a lot of obstacles for the community. For example, if they could feel more welcomed, and a wider acceptance by the community, they would not have problems with coming out with their identities. They would be more open to expressing themselves, and they would find work and their places in society much more easily.

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