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Happy Holidays!

22.12.2016

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Dear partners, colleagues, friends!

Coming Out LGBT group would like to wish you happy upcoming holidays - Christmas and New Year!

We are ready to say our goodbyes to 2016, have our 2017 planned out, and would like to share with you some of what were proud of from the past year.

This year, like many others, was about support of the LGBTI communities our lawyers and psychologists provided over 500 consultations, helping to solve legal and psychological issues of victims of discrimination and homophobia - free of charge, professionally, and confidentially.

We also took perpetrators of hate crimes, discrimination, and freedom of assembly violations to court with eight ongoing cases and three new cases at the national level. We achieved some victories! One member of a group that lured gay men to fake dates for extortion got 1 year prison sentence, one other two years probation. We won 6 cases for trans* people around legal document change, working together with the Transgender Legal Defense Project, and filed three complaints with ECHR and two with UN HRC.

We are still fighting for our stolen right to rally for IDAHOT. After 11 cycles of bans by the administration, activists of Coming Out came out with plackards this July, and were detained by the police on Marsovo Pole, St. Petersburgs Hyde Park. Now we have the courts decision and an answer from the police - both institutions recognize that the detention was unlawful, and that means the story will continue in 2017!

"QueerFest" this year turned out quite special: in its mood, theme, events, reviews, and security. The festivals theme "Seeing the Invisible" brought together different groups in society and the LGBTI community. Each event was very much in demand, provoked debate, stimulated ideas, resulted in new discoveries, cooperation, coming-outs. The festival took several confident steps towards greater inclusiveness - all of its events were accessible to people with disabilities, we have built ramps and invited sign language interpreters.

Several wonderful brochures were born this year. A collection of personal stories "Seeing the Invisible reflects on issues of gender and sexuality, nationalism and sexism, social pressure and hierarchies. Photo exhibition catalogue from QueerFests of 2009-2016, a set of designer greeting cards "Open Letters", dedicated to important dates of LGBTI communities, and, of course, the report on LGBTI rights abuses for 2015 all are available in English. This time, groups in 11 regions of our complicated country received these materials in addition to the LGBTI communities of St. Petersburg. Citius, Altius, Fortius!

And here we go into the new year with love and hope in our hearts: love for those who support us, sharing the values ​​of non-violence and non-discrimination, and hope that with each new year our work brings about some changes in ourselves, and in the world that surrounds us.

Happy Holidays!

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