Category: Articles

Acting on the Margins – Arts as Social Sculpture

MGRM and HIV Malta in collaboration with a research team from the University of Malta is conducting a study that aims to explore the stigma of people living with HIV in Malta and in this way, demystify issues related to HIV. The main objective of this study is to increase awareness of this significant social issue through collaboration with MGRM, people affected with HIV and artists.

You are invited to complete an anonymous online survey, which is expected to take approximately 10 minutes. Your participation in this study is voluntary, and does not involve any known or anticipated risks. You are free to stop participating at any time without any consequences. You may also choose to partially complete any question before moving on to the next one. Before you submit the survey, you may review and modify your answers.

You will find information on further participation in this study at the end of the survey.

Please complete the survey by 25th August 2020

Please click on this link to take the survey LINK:

https://www.surveylab.com/pageTag/SurveyCampaign/cId/f0281f9e2326d8c571e5dd43843fb64b9e6a9102bd/

We sincerely value your participation and we will provide access to a report of findings from this study through the MGRM website.

Mapping the Rainbow

Mapping the Rainbow is a collection of research conducted in undergraduate, masters and doctoral degrees which focus on LGBTIQ related issues. The publication is a collaboration between MGRM, The Human Rights Directorate and the Department of Gender Studies and Sexualities and the Europe Direct Information Centre of the University of Malta

Amongst others, the studies deal with Non-Conformity and Institutions, Social Issues and Education.

The publication is edited by Dr Marceline Naudi and Dr Claire Azzopardi Lane.

We have got a small number of printing publications which we are distributing for free, but we are asking you to cover the shipping costs. We encourage you to donate to MGRM in order to cover our costs for this and other projects on which we are constantly working. Alternatively, you may wish to download your free eBook by clicking the button below.

No one should be left without a home

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted our day-to-day lives unlike anything else in living memory. As we heed to the authorities’ message to self-isolate and stay at home, more and more people are losing their income and becoming increasingly unable to pay rent. Although many landlords have been able to lower the price of rent, this is not a reality for everyone.

MGRM, Allied Rainbow Communities, Checkpoint Malta, and LGBTI+ Gozo have received messages from people in distress who are either losing their homes, or else have become homebound in unsafe places which they are unable to leave.  Unfortunately all the rooms and apartments which we had been offered to us before the pandemic started are already full. This highlights how acute the situation is, whilst leaving us without option but to turn away people.

For this reason, the four NGOs have joined forces to seek to find accommodation for people at risk, or who have already become homeless. If you are able to accommodate someone temporarily whilst the pandemic crisis is ongoing, we would like to invite you to fill this form through which we hope to build a database of vacant places that can be used for altruistic purposes – https://forms.gle/7jVjVUwa8o6evGi4A

If you do not have a room or a place to offer, but would still like to help, you may donate using the below bank details or by using PayPal.  The fund is administered by the Malta LGBTIQ Rights Movement, however all funds will be jointly managed by all four NGOs. Any funds remaining after the crisis will be donated to an external charity chosen jointly between the four NGOs.

If you are not living in a safe home, reach out to any one of us and we will do our utmost to help you.

We are jointly appealing to the nation to support those who need our help.

Bank Details

  • Account Name – MGRM
  • Bank name – HSBC Bank Malta PLC
  • BIC – MMEBMTMT
  • IBAN – MT21MMEB44613000000061249785050

Paypal

LGBTIQ Experiences in Paceville

At the end of October 2019, the Malta LGBTIQ Rights Movement (MGRM) launched an online questionnaire to obtain more knowledge about the experiences of people from the LGBTIQ community in Paceville, Malta’s entertainment and club Mecca.

The initiative to conduct this study was primarily instigated by media reports claiming that members of the LGBTIQ community were being treated unfairly, harassed or refused to be served because of their gender identity, sexual orientation or gender non-conforming appearance and/or behaviour. Furthermore, through its interaction within the LGBTIQ community, it is not uncommon for the members of the community to speak to members of MGRM of their negative experiences in Paceville.

MGRM has received 210 responses from the entire spectrum of the LGBTIQ Community. Based on those responses, we are making a series of five recommendations which are intended to improve the security not just of the members of the LGBTIQ community but also that of every patron who frequents Paceville.

Download the full report by clicking the link below.

Questions to the PL Leadership Candidates

Il-Malta LGBTIQ Rights Movement (MGRM) ilha għal dawn l-aħħar għoxrin sena taħdem għall-kisbiet ta’ diversi drittijiet ċivili, li ħafna minnhom inkisbu f’dawn l-aħħar snin. Fid-dawl tal-bidla fit-tmexxija tal-Partit Laburista u allura fil-pożizzjoni ta’ Prim Ministru, drittijiet bħall-ugwaljanza fiż-żwieġ, id-dritt li familja b’koppja tal-istess sess tkun tista’ taddotta, id-dritt li persuna tibdel il-ġeneru legali skont l-affermazzjoni tal-individwu, id-dritt għal trattament mediku għal persuni trans, u b’mod ġenerali l-ugwaljanza sħiħa quddiem il-liġi jafu jkunu mhedda.

Għaldaqstant, l-MGRM tat l-opportunità lill-Onorevoli Chris Fearne u Robert Abela bħala ż-żewġ kandidati għal din il-pożizzjoni sabiex jagħtu r-risposti tagħhom għal sett ta’ domandi komuni bejn it-tnejn.

Il-kandidati ġew mgħarrfa li r-risposti ser ikunu qed jiġu ppublikati fuq is-sit tagħna, kif ukoll fuq il-paġni tagħna fuq il-mezzi tal-media soċjali li nużaw.

Niżżel ir-rapport finali mill-link ta’ hawn taħt:

[MT] – MGRM – Mistoqsijiet lill-Kandidati


For the past twenty years, the Malta LGBTIQ Rights Movement (MGRM) has worked hard for the achivement of several civil rights, most of which were achieved in the past few years. As a result of the change in leadership of the Partit Laburist, and therefore the position of Prime Minister, rights such as marriage equality, equality in adoption laws, the right to change name and legal gender, the right to treatement for trans people, and in a general sense, equality in the eyes of the law, could be threatened.

For this reason, MGRM invited the Hon. Chris Fearne and the Hon. Robert Abela, as the two candidates for this position to set the record straight, and answer an identical set of questions related to the above.

The two candidates were made aware that their responses were going to be published on our website as well as on our social media pages.

We would like to note that both the questions and the answers were made in Maltese. Although the responses were professionally translated into English, please refer to the original language in case of any ambiguity.

Download the final report from the link below.

[EN] – MGRM – Questions to the Candidates

MGRM Launches HIV Malta

MGRM Launches HIV Malta Campaign with a Three-Year Action Plan

The Malta LGBTIQ Rights Movement (MGRM) has today launched its new HIV Malta campaign and website www.HIVMalta.com.  HIV Malta’s objectives are to destigmatise HIV, start a conversation on the subject by making information easily accessible, promote the importance of mental wellbeing, and ensure that there is an ongoing commitment to make newly developed HIV medication including that which is preventive, available without any further delay.

Given the significant global improvement in the understanding of the virus and new antiretrovirals (ARVs) with less side effects,  individuals living with HIV can now expect to live a normal healthy life. Research endorsed by WHO and the CDC shows that effective treatment suppresses the viral load making the virus undetectable and therefore untransmittable (Undetectable = Untransmittable, or U=U). This can only be achieved through rapid and unobstructed access to modern medicine and treatment, with the best results seen in those countries where treatment has been reduced from 5-6 a day to a single tablet a day.

The single-tablet treatment regimen is still not available in Malta.  Some of the drugs currently being administered have even, for long, been struck off from international medical guidelines (EACS and WHO).  Like other stakeholders, MGRM remains in the dark with respect to a Request for Proposals (RFP) for improved treatment launched in February 2019, and although imminent news is expected about new treatment, to date, there has been no consultation with us stakeholders. It also remains unclear whether additional services listed in the RFP would eventually lead to partial or total privatisation of HIV-related care which is very much a public matter.  Questions on whether this would require sharing of data also remained unanswered.

Similarly, Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), a pill  which reduces the risk of acquiring HIV by over 99%, remains not affordable for the most members of society and might therefore not be accessible by those who would mostly benefit from it.  Although this is a marked improvement over the previous situation where PrEP was not available locally, we cannot help but comment on the fact that the same generic treatment sold in Malta at a price of EUR 57, is available for purchase online, and in several other European countries, at around half the price.  

Even more shockingly, Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP), an emergency treatment administered after possible exposure to HIV, provided solely at Mater Dei comes at  EUR 600, notwithstanding the continuous and repeated appeals to make it free. Individuals who are unable to afford paying this unreasonable price are turned away.  This irresponsible approach to preventative treatment comes at the expense of avoidable HIV diagnosis, and the financial cost of a lifetime of care and treatment.

Against this background, MGRM will be announcing several projects, including a new messaging campaign on dating apps, and other specific projects within different sectors of the community.  HIV Malta aims to work in tandem with other NGOs and stakeholders including PrEPingMalta, the Allied Rainbow Communities and the newly set-up Checkpoint Malta to bring this plan to fruition.

Furthermore, the Rainbow Support Services which is now in its sixth year, remains committed to enhancing the quality of life of LGBTIQ individuals including those living with HIV, through the provision of information, consultation and psycho-social welfare services.

MGRM – HIV Malta
Malta LGBTIQ Rights Movement
HIVMalta.com

The 2017 Malta National School Climate Survey Report

Addressing the inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) issues in schools has long been a priority for MGRM although national data on the school experiences of LGBTIQ youth was hard to come by.

In the initial years following MGRM’s inception in 2001, access to schools by LGBTIQ organisations was often restricted and direct contact, when granted was often limited to that with educators. Few opportunities to engage directly with students existed. Schools were wary to explore LGBTIQ issues for fear of opposition from parents and many educators felt ill-equipped to handle explorations of LGBTIQ topics in the classroom.

Nevertheless, MGRM tried to make the most of any opportunity to intervene that presented itself. This included the publication and dissemination of information booklets for LGBT youth through EU Youth Programme funding in 2005, an anti-bullying campaign produced with funding from the VOICES Foundation back in 2009 and the donation of a number of books to the Ministry for Education in 2015 purchased through an EEA/Norway Grant.

When providing feedback on the proposed National Curriculum Framework in 2011, MGRM remarked that ‘safety is a precondition for learning’ and advocated for a number of measures that would help ensure that the school climate was one that was inclusive of LGBT students such as inclusive curricula, teacher training and anti-bullying policies that made specific reference to homophobic and transphobic bullying.

The EU LGBT survey conducted by the EU’s Fundamental Rights Agency in 2012 found that homophobia, biphobia and transphobia were experienced by 80% of students in education across all EU member states and Malta was no exception. It highlighted the need to provide equal opportunities to LGBTIQ students.

Malta has come a long way over the past 6 years in legislating for LGBTIQ equality and now boasts one of the best legal and policy frameworks in the world, including in the educational sector. Access to schools by LGBTIQ community organisations has become much more commonplace and the work with educators to ensure that schools are safe spaces for all children and young people under their care is ongoing. This is no easy task and requires skilled and committed educators and administrators who are able to implement appropriate strategies that help to create inclusive environments where diversity is not only tolerated but celebrated. This process of mainstreaming is a long term project and will take time to reach all those involved in education whether they be school administrators, teacher trainers, educators, support service professionals, students and parents.

In 2014 the Ministry for Education launched the ‘Addressing Bullying Behaviour in Schools Policy’ which for the first time made specific reference to homophobic and transphobic bullying. This bound schools to develop strategies that were cognizant of various forms of identity based bullying when drawing up their school based anti-bullying policies.

This was shortly followed by the launch of the ‘Trans, Gender Variant and Intersex Student in School Policy’ in 2015. The policy aims to foster a school environment that is inclusive, safe and free from harassment and discrimination for all members of the school community, regardless of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics.

Furthermore, the policy promotes the learning of human diversity that is inclusive of trans, gender variant and intersex students, and aims to ensure a school climate that is physically, emotionally and intellectually safe for all students to further their learning and well- being. In practice, it translates to a shift away from the often strict binary definitions and stereotypes of what makes a boy a boy and a girl a girl, recognising that traditional notions of gender and gender expression do not necessarily apply to all students.

To implement the policy, over the past three years, experts from the LGBTIQ movement and the Ministry of Education collaborated in delivering training to psychologists, counsellors, social workers, guidance teachers and other student support staff in a systematic manner.

Over the past two years, MGRM’s Rainbow Support Service has increasingly been involved in delivering training and assisting schools in dealing with a number of trans children and youth who are transitioning in state-run but also in Catholic and Independent Schools. Other LGBTIQ groups such as Drachma and Drachma Parents have also been involved in similar initiatives, providing training and support to teachers and parents. The drivers behind this shift in educational policy, as for much of the legislative and policy changes that Malta has undergone, have been the lived experiences of LGBTIQ individuals, in this case, children and youth. This school climate survey is aimed at garnering a better understanding of what it is like to be an LGBTIQ student in Malta and what still needs to be addressed given the lack of data at hand.

In the absence of quantitative data around the experience of LGBTIQ students, MGRM partnered with GLSEN and Columbia University to conduct this School Climate Survey. Malta was one of a number of European countries to conduct the survey. We hope that this will provide baseline date against which future progress can be measured.

“For 12 years I attended a Catholic school, it was horrible for any LGBTIQ+ students. In fact, the only few that were out were constantly either bullied or ignored. Even the staff was not supportive.”

Download report

A partnership between:

MGRM, GLSEN & Teachers College Columbia University
Author: Oren Pizmony-Levy