Tag: Malta

Safe and Seen Education Toolkit

Why should youths learn about LGBTIQ+ at school or in youth groups?

In 2017, MGRM conducted a survey among youth aged 13 – 22 in State and Church schools, and published the 2017 Malta National School Climate Survey Report in 2019. The survey reflected the absence of LGBTIQ affirming education, revealing the majority of respondents did not feel safe in their school environment and this has a negative impact on the wellbeing of students, and their educational success. However, LGBTIQ students tend to have positive feelings about their school when they find support from school staff, which highlighted the crucial role of educators in creating safe and accepting environments at school.

In the European Wide LGBTIQ Survey by the EU Fundamental Rights Agency, 17% of Maltese LGBTI teenage students (15 to 17 years old) were still hiding being LGBTI at school, while 73% found support from their peers and teachers. At the same time, only 48% said their school education address LGBTI issues in a positive way.

In the Special Eurobarometer 493 on Discrimination in the European Union, published in 2019, over 71% of respondents agreed that school lessons and material should include diversity on sexual orientation, being transgender and being intersex.

These surveys highlight the importance of inclusive education for all youths, both those who identify as LGBTI and those who do not. It allows them to be better informed, support their peers, create a safe and welcome environment that fosters understanding on a personal and social level.

What does this toolkit consist of?

  • Structured workshop on history, with Powerpoint Presentations
  • A Queer Trivia Board Game covering History, Culture, General Knowledge, Open Questions, Maltese and International trivia
  • x2 Animated Explainer Videos
  • Information Leaflets for support, youth and parents

Who is it for?

The toolkit is to be used by educators working with youths 12 years and older. That includes:

  • PSCD, Social Studies, or History Teachers
  • Youth workers
  • Individuals who works with youths in groups
  • Youth organisations
Explainer Videos

LGBTIQ+ bil-Malti

LGBTIQ+ (with Sign Language)


Genderbread Person

HISTORY WORKSHOP

The history workshop is split into 5 parts so you may continue on more than one day, and at the same time, not overload your audience with a lot of information in one go. Powerpoint Presentations, and the guide for each, can be downloaded below.

Youtube videos are playable in slides. Should you encounter issues, the video links are provided in the same slide to open in a browser.

The presentations below are in English, and currently being translated to Maltese.

Part 1: Native Americans

Download Presentation | EN / MT Download Guide

Part 2: The Holocaust

Download Presentation | EN / MT Download Guide

Part 3: Stonewall and Pride

Download Presentation | EN / MT Download Guide

Malta: Past to Present

Download Presentation | EN / MT Download Guide

Present Times Around the Globe

Download Presentation | EN / MT Download Guide

QUEER TRIVIA BOARD GAME

It is important to have watched the videos, and done the workshop before playing the Queer Trivia game. There are 6 themes, covering History, Culture, General Knowledge, Open Questions, Maltese and International trivia. Each theme is identified by a different colour of the Pride Rainbow. The board game consists of:

  • Game mat
  • 12 character pawns
  • Dice
  • 6 packs of themed cards
  • Instructions
  • Answers booklet

The board game comes in two forms. The only difference between the two is the size of the game mat and the character pawns. Which to choose depends on the number of game participants.

LARGE

150cm square game mat when open, suitable for a class or large group. The mat is provided folded, and in an archive box with the rest of the toolkit items.

SMALL

50cm square game mat when open, is suitable for small groups. The mat is provided folded, and in an archive box with the rest of the toolkit items.


About the Project

Malta ranks first again, for LGBTIQ rights in Europe according to ILGA-Europe’s Rainbow Map and Index 2020, scoring 89%, with much of that progress having been registered through the adoption of policies and legislation.

The European Wide LGBTIQ Survey by the EU Fundamental Rights Agency which was published recently presented some surprising statistics for Malta. While on a positive note, the majority of LGBTIQ individuals saw a decrease in intolerance and violence, and viewed the Government leading the charge in fighting this; the report also showed that almost 50% still fear holding a same-sex partner’s hand in public and just over 20% avoided certain places.

While much of what has been achieved is truly impressive, there is still work to be done in the area of education and awareness so that people in the community can be visible, and safe. This mainstreaming is an open-ended process.

Through this project, we hope to take this advocacy one step further by providing a service to the country’s educators, to ensure that they are better informed about how to incorporate LGBTIQ issues in the curriculum. By supporting all those working in education, we can tackle misinformation, try and combat ignorance, support greater understanding of the community as a whole, promote a safe and inclusive school environment as well as provide direct support for those struggling to deal with LGBTIQ issues or LGBTIQ individuals in the class room.

This project has been funded through the Voluntary Organisations Project Scheme managed by the Malta Council for the Voluntary Sector on behalf of Parliamentary Secretary for Youth, Sports and Voluntary Organisations within the Ministry for Education and Employment. This project/ publication reflects the views only of the author, and the MEDE and the MCVS cannot be held responsible for the content or any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

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

With World AIDs Day 2019 Now Behind Us, How Far Has Malta Come In The Fight Against Stigma And Access To PrEP?

2019 was a strong year for HIV activists in Malta, and for World AIDs Day on Sunday, the Malta LGBTIQ Rights Movement took to Tigne Point to reiterate their stance in the fight against stigma.

They were joined by the Malta Medical Students Association, a strong traditional ally in HIV Activism.

The newly-elected committee decided to revive their commitment of ensuring that human rights apply equally to everyone, with its statute making specific mention of safeguarding the rights of people living with HIV (PLHIV).

Mark Josef Rapa, founder of the group PrEPingMalta has been advocating for access to PrEP, a preventative treatment which when taken daily stops the transmission of HIV by more than 99%, also covered the issues that arise from the virus itself and the stigma surrounding it in his column in the Independent.

PrEP has also led to a significant drop in HIV rates across a number of European cities, while Malta saw a rise of over 50% in 2018 and a reported 400 people being treated for the virus in hospitals around the island.

Following calls for easier access, PrEP finally became available for purchase in local pharmacies earlier this year. Until that point, people wanting to protect themselves had to buy the medication online. Name one other medication you’d be willing to buy off the internet, we’ll wait.

MGRM entered the forefront of Malta’s gay advocacy in September 2019, the same month that saw Checkpoint Malta set up – an NGO with hopes of extinguishing the taboo behind HIV and AIDs.

The launch was accompanied by a new website. The first of its kind in Malta, the site has since accumulated over 3,000 page views. Two of the most popular pages explain how to buy and use PrEP and a breakdown of how to cope with daily life post-diagnosis.

An interesting point to note is that while many groups have been campaigning for the public to increase their efforts in testing their sexual health regularly, the page on the site that details how to get tested is still only the third most popular.

This is further indicative of an assumption made regarding the national health policy.

While activism has been strengthening on the side of breaking stigma, 2019 still remains a poor year in regards to the collective health awareness of the country.

Statistics do indicate that people want to know their status, they want to protect themselves. As for those who are HIV+ still wishing for equal treatment, there is still a ways to go. The fight continues to align Malta’s HIV medical care with that of the rest of the continent.

Joe Grima, a representative within MGRM, said of the work the group has done so far:

“We can no longer accept that treatment which is no longer recommended by the European AIDS Clinical Society and World Health Organization is given out. February 2019 saw a missed opportunity with the launch of a flawed Request for Proposal (RFP) which indicated privatising HIV-related care.”

It is still unknown as to whether or not the RFP is still being considered, though expectations for a relaunch late this year still stand. MGRM and HIV Malta stress the urgency of this consideration, stating that unless the RFP includes PrEP trials, it is likely to fall behind as another missed opportunity.

Until then, the people march on. Through the Rainbow Support Services, MGRM and HIV Malta continue to provide free support to those affected by HIV and other members of queer communities.

The new year will see the launch of peer groups and buddy systems for people living with HIV. Support groups, together with constant dialogue with health professionals and policymakers, will continue to ensure that everyone is afforded the same dignity and standards worthy of a citizen of a modern European state in 2020.

Source: Lovin Malta

18 years of MGRM: Celebrating battles, achievements and pride

One of the first websites which pops up on one’s web searcher when looking up “Gay rights in Malta” is the Malta LGBTIQ Rights Movement, better known as MGRM. For the past 18 years MGRM has been behind the biggest LGBTQ+ achievements on the local scene, and although the NGO is still in its teen years, it has seen many battles, losses and achievements; from the launch of the first National Gay Helpline, the first Pride March in 2004 and in most recent years Marriage Equality. COLETTE FARRUGIA BENNETT is one of the first committee members of MGRM and till this day is working towards educating society on issues and challenges the LGBTQ+ community face, in hope to make life easier not just for the community but everyone else.

COLETTE FARRUGIA BENNETT

COLETTE FARRUGIA BENNETT

We were scared no one would show up: 2004 first Malta Pride

Today, Pride March is celebrated among thousands – people from the LGBTQ+ community, allies, politicians and activists all come together to march for the political reasons and party to celebrate the achievements of the community. Yet, it was not always this way. Colette reflects back to when the MGRM committee first started thinking about hosting a Pride March in Malta. “Back in 2001, Pride March was a big thing abroad, but we were not sure whether the Maltese society was ready for a public demonstration of homosexuality!” She explained that in 2002 and 2003, while there was no Pride March, MGRM organised Diversity Week, a number of events to bring people together and promote more awareness on the community. “We were a group of people with a lot of energy and very little experience but were good fun. We had also organised a ShOUT festival, which was an open air performance on stage with a variety of performances.”ADVERTISEMENT

2004

In 2004, Colette and other committee members decided to plan the first Pride March. “We put up posters around Malta in the middle of the night! I remember on the day there were quite a few police, as they did not know what to expect on the day; both from our side and the public.” She explained that they initially wanted to make a statement; apart from carrying a rainbow flag made out of balloons they also marched with a banner which read Gay Rights equals Human Rights. Collette remembered feeling anxious and nervous on the day, not knowing what to expect from society.

“There were important people there who put their face out and stood by us, Minister Evarist Bartolo, Louise Galea, Marie Louise Coleiro Preca, Alternattiva Demokratika and Moviment Graffiti. There were more allies than the LGBT community itself and at times that was the running joke for the first few Pride marches. It was a frustrating feeling, although you would invite other LGBTQ+ people they would come up with an excuse, it was frustrating to always put your face out there and very few would follow us. Today the situation is very different and Pride is a much bigger event, yet at times it has become more commercial, which can at times be problematic when highlighting the issues we are fighting for.” She explained that the political message of Pride needs to remain present, that although Malta has advanced in laws and has become more accepting in the past few years, there are a number of countries where it is still a criminal offence to be homosexual and transgender.

“Our message for Pride would be to continue educating society and raising awareness; making life easier for those people facing a challenge with homophobia and transphobia. Secondly, we want to raise awareness of HIV transmissions and the importance of medical and psychological care for those people living with HIV. The reality of living with HIV is very different to what it was in the 90s but it is still important to understand the transmission of HIV and STI’s.”

2008

MGRM has helped me become an activist who is always keen to learn more about people

Collette joined MGRM in 2001, when she was still a first year student at University reading a degree in social work. She remembers that before joining the NGO she recalls the birth of another organisation, Gay and Lesbian Civil Rights Movement. “I remember sitting in front of the TV watching the press conference and thinking finally people are coming together to speak about the LGBTQ+ movement!” Although the group was short-lived, some members came together to create MGRM.

2012

“I started volunteering and I became part of this organisation. Before MGRM, my life was very different. I was a passive teenager who wasn’t involved in activism. Joining MGRM and volunteering in the national Gay helpline, I became more active and keen on learning more about the situation both on a local scale and also on what is happening abroad. Nowadays this information is my bread and butter and the knowledge is ingrained in me now.” She explained that she feels privileged to have learnt so much about the community and to have had the chance to travel and learn more by attending numerous forums, trainings and conferences.

2013

She explained that her own studies and research also looked into the LGBTQ+ community. Her first dissertation was about the visibility of bisexuals and lesbians in terms of how social workers view such populations and she explained that the eight-year gap between her first dissertation and her masters shows that there was an improvement in the attitudes towards LGBTQ+ people in society. “Over the years, many people have come to the MGRM offices to seek out support. We have seen so many people sit in this counselling space, young people telling us that their parents have been abusive or unsupportive. Now, the situation has changed; not that we do not have these people seeking support, but now we have parents seeking advice on how to support their son or daughter who just came out. They come to us for support and a safe place to discuss what they are feeling.” She said that while society has changed drastically, there are still many other changes to be done. There is still homophobia and transphobia which is still being worked on. Yet there is hope for the future. “We have had information sessions with Education Minister Evarist Bartolo and trans young people, alongside numerous meetings with schools from different backgrounds to highlight more awareness on LGBTQ+ youths. We also had the opportunity to train the psycho-social teams of Catholic schools; we don’t expect people to become experts but to know that if someone out there needs more support outside of the schools, we are here.”

2016

2017

Pride is showing solidarity among one another regardless of our gender and sexual orientation

Colette explained that the meaning of Pride goes way back to 2004; although times have changed, they still march for the same reasons. “We wanted to be heard, counted and considered as equal citizens. As much as equality has improved, there are still inequalities and injustices taking place. Yes, we should celebrate, celebrate diversity, complement one another and come together regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation.”

Source: Malta Independent

Gay men will be allowed to donate blood as of next week

Gay men will be allowed to donate blood as of next week, with a blanket ban on blood donation for men who have sexual relationships with other men (MSM) being lifted.

The ban was lifted after the National Blood Transfusion Service acquired advanced testing equipment. 

Last year around 17,000 people visited the Blood Donation Unit and gave their blood, Health Minister Chris Fearne said on Wednesday.

That number is expected to rise now that the specialised equipment will allow for Nucleic Acid Testing.

This type of testing will allow testers to identify HIV and other viruses in the blood earlier, as it tests for genetic material rather than antigens or antibodies.

A spokesman for the National Blood Transfusion Service said that restrictions for MSM had been eased and that gay men would be able to donate blood after abstaining from sex for one year.

Dr Fearne said despite launching with an initial one-year deferral period, this may eventually be trimmed down to four months after epidemiological results from the new NAT testing are verified. 

Pride Week timing

In reaction, the Malta LGBTIQ Rights Movement (MGRM) welcomed the news that gay men would now be able to donate blood. They however noted that the announcement coincided conveniently close to ongoing Pride Week celebrations.

MGRM has insisted that, given the effectiveness of modern testing equipment, it is no longer reasonable to require long periods of abstinence from people, especially those in monogamous relationships, to be able to donate blood.

The NGO said that it has always been open to dialogue in order to better contribute to matters of sexual health as well in the noble gesture of donating blood. 

Source: Times of Malta

Transgender woman ‘punched in face’ at Msida bus stop

A transgender woman has claimed that she was punched in the face at an Msida bus stop in an apparent homophobic attack.

The woman, who was returning home from work, stopped on the Kulleġġ bus stop on the Msida waterfront at a pastizzeria on Sunday.

A man who frequents the shop often, the woman said, took issue with her presence and called her a homophobic slur.

She said that the man became violent when she answered back. He hit and punched her in the face and pulled out chunks of her hair.

“He raised his hand to me, he punched me in the face and ripped out my hair,” she said. 

“I tried to defend myself and that’s when people started to intervene.” 

The woman managed to snap a picture of her alleged attacker after the fact, which she posted onto social media.

A picture of the alleged aggressor taken by victim

A picture of the alleged aggressor taken by victim

Speaking to Times of Malta, the woman said that while LGBTIQ people enjoyed many rights on paper, the reality on the ground was that attacks such as this one happen with some frequency to several people in the community.

“The thing that hurts me the most is that transgender people who came out in the 80s and 90’s cannot move forward. They keep getting attacked and labelled with their past, they are ignored by society and it doesn’t get better for them.”

The woman said she would not be pursuing the matter with the police as she has been in trouble with the law in the past and going back to the courts would only be “punishing” herself.

“I’m trying my best and I’m not hurting anyone, just let me live,” she said.

A spokesman for the Malta LGBTIQ Rights Movement (MGRM) said that it is “unacceptable that in this day and age we still come across shameless acts of abuse in broad daylight, right in front of everybody.”

The woman’s identity is being withheld at her own request.

Source: Times of Malta

A New Documentary About The Lives Of 5 Maltese Trans* People Is Premiering On Sette Giugno

Despite often being referred to as one of the world’s friendliest and safest countries, particularly in relation to the LGBT+ community, Malta still has a lot to learn about gender identity. There’s still a bit of a taboo and a level of stigma surrounding the trans community and the notion of gender fluidity.

One Maltese organisation is setting out to change this.

The Malta Gay Rights Movement (MGRM) is launching a new documentary about being a Trans individual in Malta

TRANSformazzjoni is a documentary that provides an insight into Trans peoples’ everyday lives in Malta. The documentary puts a spotlight on 5 Maltese Trans people from different walks of life giving full visibility to a wide range of people in the local Trans community, which all represent their own section of Maltese society that different people can relate to.

Directed by Olwyn Jo, known for her involvement in many local productions and music videos, TRANSformazzjoni will give viewers an insight into life as a member of the Trans community in Malta.

It follows the daily lives of Alex, Brenda, Lee, Reb and Roasrio; five local individuals of varying ages who identify as Trans*.

*The general definition of transgender is as follows; denoting or relating to a person whose sense of personal identity and gender does not correspond with their birth sex. However, an individual’s gender identity is best only explained by the individual themselves. This will be further explored in the documentary, too.

TRANSformazzjoni will also serve as an educational tool, featuring the recent laws and policies directed to enhancing the lives of Trans people in Malta

You can catch the premiere of TRANSformazzjoni on the 7th of June at 7pm at the University of Malta, Valletta Campus. To book a place at the premiere, email or message them on Facebook. And keep an eye out on their socials for more information on where to catch the documentary after the premiere.

Source: LovinMalta

Watch Video

LGBTIQ Youth Activism- The Past & The Present

In summer 2017, the idea of a short narrative of the experiences of a number of activists from the LGBTIQ community came about due to a common desire to explore the history of LGBTIQ activism and the importance of activism within the community itself and society at large.

Nine interviews were conducted with the people who were pioneers of LGBTIQ activism; those who started the fight for LGBTIQ rights. This was important to get to know their stories and perspectives in relation to activism.

Twelve interviews with the younger generation of activists, those who will determine the future of the LGBTIQ movement were carried out also. The book describes the rewards of activism as well as the challenges one might encounter along this journey. 

The purpose of this project was to inspire the young and not so young to engage in activism and to stand for what is right no matter what, as the activists recall their beginnings, with the hope that the publication serves as a point of reference in the setting up of other youth lead organisations and encourages young people to get involved. 

The publication was possible thanks to the funding and support of Aġenzija Żgħażagħ’s ‘Be Active scheme’ which enables the engagement and participation of young people as well as organisations. 

PLAN - PRICE

Description

Pickup

Pickup the book: 

€10

from our offices in Mosta,

Tuesday and Thursday 

from 3-6 pm

Postage Malta 

Book plus Malta postage:

€10 + €3

Postage Europe 

Book plus Europe postage:

€10 + €8