All posts by General Mgrm

3 Coming Out Stories for Coming Out Day 2021

To celebrate Coming Out Day, we will be sharing coming out stories by three members of our community. 

Arin
“I came out as nonbinary about 3 months ago and it felt like a rebirth where I could become the person I was always meant to be. From my work to my parents, I’ve felt loved and accepted most of the way through and I’m immensely grateful for the people in my life. My mum even bought me pronoun pins to wear when I go out! Since coming out, I’ve had a new lease on life. I started going to queer meetups and talking to people, I went back to uni for psychology to eventually become a therapist for other trans people, and I’ve felt much happier. I was afraid that coming out as a nonbinary trans person would cause problems and confusion, but surprisingly it’s been so lovely to just receive “oh, okay” responses. If anyone’s thinking of coming out and it’s safe enough to do so (especially if you’re trans), it will unlock so many other things for you and allow you to truly start the rest of your life.”

Rebecca*
“I knew I was trans for a while, but hadn’t really done much aside from tell a few people. Living with my sister meant that I had to tell her, if I wanted to start being honest with myself at our flat, so after a lot of thinking it over, I went into her room. I mumbled something about being a girl, and she suddenly got serious and asked me for how long I’d felt like this. She was taken aback, and needed some time to process it, but she was glad I could trust her, and excited to finally have a sister. It took her a few months to properly understand but she’s become one of my biggest supporters and I’m lucky to have her as my sister.”

James*
I started gradually coming out to friends back in 2003 and living more openly in 2004, and while Malta was very different back then, I was lucky to have supportive friends back then, and I managed to find LGBT friends very easily. 
In 2005, a member of the Malta Police Force told my father, even though I’m sure he had his suspicions beforehand. These days, I am so glad to live in a country where the laws prohibit this from happening again. I remember when my father asked me to confirm this, he asked me why I haven’t told them (him and my mother), and I expressed fear of being kicked out of home or not being accepted. My reply drove him to tears, and he said he was hurt that such a thought would even cross my mind. It was the first time I’ve seen him cry, and I was 15 back then. Since then, our relationship has been gradually getting better, and the older I got, the closer we’ve become.” 

 

*Names have been changed

Call for designer – VOPS 2021

About the project

This year will represent the 20th anniversary of MGRM. We would like to mark this significant event with a commemorative, informative and cultural initiative which pays tribute to the work of our volunteers, to the power of voluntary organisations, to their ability to change societies and make them more inclusive as well as provide a cultural event, accompanied with a pictorial history of MGRM and the Maltese LGBTIQ community, which will contribute to the cultural events of 2021 in Malta. The project will center on the publication of this pictorial guide as well as an exhibition incorporating that history and within that exhibition, a special exhibition displaying the clothes of a pioneer of Trans rights in Malta, Katya.

Timeline

Call Application Deadline

2nd August 

Contracting of selected service provider

3rd August

First Draft of Exhibition Artworks

10th August

Final Draft of Exhibition Artworks

17th August

First Draft of Pictorial Book

30th September

Final Draft of Pictorial Book

14th October

Terms of Reference

A logo for the exhibition is ready, hence brand direction must build on that. The artwork requested are below with design specifications required. Printing is not to be included in quote.

Exhibition

The exhibition itself will be split into six sections, each colour coded according to the Pride Flag. Each section will have a board with some information about that section and captions for all the images. The section focusing Katya, will also have 4 designed quotes about her. The images within the exhibition will be captioned by a number. Below are the design requirements:

  • 6 x A2 informational board
  • 1 x 60x20cm informational board
  • 1 x A1 descriptive poster (logos will be provided)
  • 4 x text quotes A3
  • 6 x colour coded sets of numbers (for captioning photos)
  • 6 x colour strips (stickers to be placed on walls alongside exhibition content)

The exhibition will also require the following designs:

  • 1 x A3 event poster design
  • 1 x A3 size map (folded to an information booklet)
  • x4 Facebook posts

Pictorial Book

  • Design of cover and 160 page book
  • Facebook post & event cover photo

Following selection, before proceeding with designing all artworks, contractor is expected to show a concept (one poster for the exhibition, and a few pages of the book for example)

Eligibility Criteria

Bidders must submit a CV and portfolio with relevant experience within the design industry.

Selection Criteria

Quality of portfolio presented;

Knowledge of LGBTIQ issues and LGBTIQ affirmative approach;

Technical and Financial Bid;

Subcontracting

Individuals may propose working jointly with one or more persons given the tight deadlines envisaged. This must be clearly stated in their submission. Bidders are to attach CV’s of each expert.

Following the adjudication, any subcontracting to third parties other than the selected service provider/s needs to be approved in writing by MGRM.

Bids are to be sent to MGRM on mgrm@maltagayrights.org. For any queries please contact Robert Attard on +356 99255559. Deadline for quotes is 5pm of 2nd August 2021.

Trans People in Sport

Trans weightlifter Laurel Hubbard has met the strict eligibility standards set by the International Olympic Committee and the New Zealand Olympic Committee, and was selected to compete at the upcoming Olympics. This created an international debate on whether trans people, particularly women, hold an unfair advantage. Science shows that this advantage does not exist. We will try to explain why.

A familiar topic

What we are seeing around us mirrors what happened decades ago. Rooted in racism, everyone was fed the belief that white people were intellectually superior, and black people (with all the different ethnicities that fall under it) had an athletic advantage. A self fulfilling prophecy that was created not because black people in general had a genetic advantage, but brought about due to the limited opportunities that such communities had. Throughout the years, even up to this day, people have justified the success of black people in certain sports disciplines by saying that they have a biological advantage. The socioeconomic situation that led to that success is ignored. And as happened in the past, nowadays we see that any success enjoyed by a trans woman athlete is attributed solely to their supposed genetic advantage.

In the meantime, the International Olympic Committee set its first guidelines for trans athletes back in 2003. Between 2003 and now, there were minor changes, the last being in 2015. It took eighteen years for a trans athlete to both meet the criteria and qualify. This is an indication that the argument might be much smaller than it seems.

DNA and XX/XY chromosomes

All these things determine the sex that you’re born as, but they don’t really do much else. They have no effect on our everyday life, because biological processes are mostly determined by the endocrine (and nervous) system. And these hormones released by the endocrine glands can generally be ‘controlled’.

Sex hormones

Referring to a trans woman’s body as a male body is incorrect. Uninformed people vastly underestimate how significant these hormones are. Biologically, a trans woman’s body (who undergoes medical transition) functions as a female body. In trans women, if testosterone is properly suppressed, attributes that are generally associated with male strength are very quickly lost, and other things like fat percentage increase in line with female values. Within a few months, bodybuilders can look like they barely ever stepped inside a gym, even if they maintain a certain level of training. And that muscle mass isn’t getting rebuilt as long as hormone levels are maintained. However, in some people it can take longer for muscle mass to significantly diminish, and this is where it might be fair to examine whether the current IOC guidelines should be amended. At the moment, with our limited level of research in this field, it seems like the current framework is correct, as the athletic ability of trans women is far closer to that of cis women than cis men.

Bone structure and other things that do not change with the suppression of testosterone

Firstly, women (and people in general) come in all shapes and sizes. There are cis women with narrow hips, wide shoulders, tall women, short women, and the list goes on. Do we exclude certain cis women from sports because of their shape? Bone density is higher in trans women who have had the effects of testosterone, but those bones need muscle to move, muscle which is diminished through a lack of testosterone. Not only is this not an advantage for trans woman, but it could potentially be a disadvantage when compared to cis women. Hating on a trans woman because they have a deep voice, body hair, and look more masculine (permanent effects of exposure to testosterone) only shows that people are afraid of anyone who doesn’t fit their gender stereotypes.

But VO2 max and lactate threshold and…

Back to our historical context. All of these little arguments was made about black people so you are likely falling in the same trap. We all know that was not right now. or so we hope.

Being trans is unnatural

Instead of producing sex hormones themselves, trans people have to get theirs from an external source. The food we eat, medicines we take, and pretty much everything we do in life is unnatural. Trans people are just as natural and biological as everyone else, and claiming otherwise is dehumanising.

Place trans people in a different category

Sports have never been fair. This is a ridiculous suggestion as human physiological and morphological variance has always been an accepted part of sport. No two people are the same, so should we have categories for age, height, weight, limb length, and whatever else people want to categorise? That’s how you can eliminate unfairness in sport, and it’s also how you end up with no competition as every single person will fall under a different category. Or do we only want to exclude an already marginalised and misunderstood population because we dislike anyone who’s different?

Enough with the hypotheticals

Stop reading (and sharing) disingenous articles about trans athletes who’s main purpose is to create an unfounded fear of trans people. Stop cherry-picking research that you didn’t even read (or understand). Stop claiming that trans women are or will be dominating women’s sports. Where do you see this happening? Trans people have been around and allowed to compete (following certain rules) for many years now. Every few years, whenever a trans athlete makes the headlines (because we only care about trans people when they win something), everyone starts heralding the apocalypse, and yet, we’ve never seen a trans woman be the best in any sport, let alone dominating enough that no other woman has a chance at competing. Men do have a significant advantage over women in pretty much every sport. Trans women, however, do not.

Trans men

Trans male athletes exist, but we hear less about them for various reasons. Firstly, society and media is obsessed with women and their bodies. Trans women have always received much more attention because we still live in a misogynistic society where being male is superior. Secondly, environmental effects, wherein trans men who grew up as girls are less likely to take sport seriously because of gender stereotypes. Thirdly, nowadays most people transition in their 20s, and then they have to wait for the effects of testosterone, train, and bulk up, always playing catchup with cis men, so they don’t win (also because men’s sports are much more saturated). Comparatively, trans women are ‘going backwards’ in athletic ability, which is easier.

Fear and prejudice

For the vast majority of people, when they think of a trans athlete, they think of a hulking testosterone filled man who one day just decides to compete against women because it’s easy. Whenever anyone does that, all they’re doing is showing how uninformed and hateful they are, because to them, a trans person will never be anything but their assigned gender. This is an issue that goes beyond sport, and the topic of trans athletes is used to disguise general transphobia.

Different opinions

Having different opinions about this topic and discussing the research related to it is good. However, most people I’ve seen commenting about it are unable to do so without resorting to insults and misgendering of trans people.

Remember that typically, trans women use the female pronouns She/Her, whilst trans men use the pronouns He/Him.

Whether you like it or not, trans people are here to stay, in sport and every other aspect of society.

Kitba Queer Anthology

Kitba Queer is a community-based project that was launched in 2018, aiming to fill the void created by the lack of visibility and good representation in fiction that queer communities face in the Maltese Islands.

Through workshops, mingle & create sessions and fundraising activities, the project fostered a diverse community of creators to learn, practice and encourage collaboration to improve their writing and artistic skills. In 2018, the project was run by We Are – the Youth & Student LGBTQQI Organisation.

In October 2018, Malta’s first ever anthology of LGBTQI+ literature, comprising short poems, prose and a children’s story in Maltese and English, as well as illustrations, was published. The anthology was compiled by various young queer local artists and artists, dealing with topics such as love and relationships, identity and self-discovery, and the process of acceptance.

Kitba Queer continued in 2020, in collaboration with MGRM- the Malta LGBTIQ Rights Movement.

If you would like to order the book select from the options below

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

Call for designer

Project: Youth Packs on LGBTIQ themes activities

These activity packs are to be designed for use by youth workers and educators working with youths. The aim is to educate about the LGBTIQ acronym, the differences between gender identity, sexual orientation and other LGBTIQ+ terms, LGBTIQ+ history. This project is funded by Aġenzija Żgħażagħ. 

Timeline

Call Application Deadline 11th December 
Contracting of selected service provider 16th December
First Draft 27th December
Final Draft4th January

Terms of Reference

X5 activities are listed below with design specifications required. Number of pages is an approximate guide of amount of content at this stage. Printing is not to be included in quote.

Target Audience: Session Plans are to be used by educators (marked with *), while activities will be used by youths.

  1. FANTASY TRIP – Gender
    1. Session Plan – A4 x1 page *
  2. FANTASY TRIP – LGBTIQ
    1. Session Plan – A4 x2 page *
  3. LGBTIQ+ TERMS ACTIVITY
    1. Session Plan – A4 x 1 page *
    2. Full Terms – A4 x 6 pages
    3. Activity – A4 x1/2 pages
  4. GENDERBREAD PERSON
    1. Session Plan – A4 x1 page *
      + additional page of (b) filled out.
    2. Design of A4 Genderbread person – A4 x1 page
  5. LGBT TIMELINE
    1. Session Plan: A4 x1 page *
    2. Design of LGBT Timeline cards – 40 text or image cards (2 per A4) – A4 x20 pages
    3. Design of Rainbow Pride sheet – x1 A3 

 Eligibility Criteria

Bidders must submit a CV and portfolio with relevant experience within the design industry.

Selection Criteria

  • Quality of portfolio presented;
  • Knowledge of LGBTIQ issues and LGBTIQ affirmative approach;
  • Technical and Financial Bid;

Subcontracting

Individuals may propose working jointly with one or more persons given the tight deadlines envisaged. This must be clearly stated in their submission. Bidders are to attach CV’s of each expert.

Following the adjudication, any subcontracting to third parties other than the selected service provider/s needs to be approved in writing by MGRM.

Bids are to be sent to MGRM on mgrm@maltagayrights.org. For any queries please contact Alex Caruana on +356 99255559. Deadline for quotes is 11th December 2020.

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.

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 LGBTIQ 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.

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.

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