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‘It’s here! Romani sexual dissidence.’ – MRG launches new multi-media report on gender and sexual diversity in Spain’s Gypsy community

26 March 2019

Minority Rights Group International (MRG) has today launched a new multi-media report exploring gender and sexual dissidence and diversity in Spain’s Gypsy community.

Based on interviews during Madrid Pride week in June 2018, It’s here! Romani sexual dissidence provides insight into the realities of living with a multilayered identity in Spain that includes being a Gypsy and a member of the LGBT+ community.

‘This report not only highlights the realities faced by Spain’s LGBT+ Gypsy community, but also shows us how many activists and organisations are mobilising the community to make their voices heard,’ says Carl Söderbergh, Director of Policy and Communications and MRG. ‘We encourage all to read these stories and hear those voices.’

Many LGBT+ Gypsies in Spain shun the mainstream Pride celebration because of what they perceive as its commercialisation and exclusion of marginalised groups, such as ethnic minorities. Through first-hand interviews, the report highlights how the realities of LGBT+ Gypsies intersect with other axes of oppression, such as class, ethnicity and poverty or physical traits and characteristics.

‘We use the phrase “sexual dissidence” because mainstream gay culture doesn’t represent us,’ says Iñaki Vázquez Arencón from Plataforma Khetane and Ververipen, who featured in the report. ‘It directly confronts the regulation of LGBT space by the heteropatriarchal system. For example, there are so many rainbow flags on the balconies of Madrid at the moment, but I’m not sure those same people speak out when there are attacks on immigrant trans people, which are really frequent at the moment.’

It’s here! Romani sexual dissidence is an online collection of articles, interviews and photo-stories. It includes an introduction explaining the history of Gypsy identity, a photo-story focusing on musician and community role model La Negri, and a first-hand account on what it is like to be a Gypsy sexual dissident in Spain.

The report is part of a series developed by MRG called Minority Stories, which uses text, photographs and video clips to explore the realities confronting minorities and indigenous peoples today, most especially those groups within these communities which face intersectional discrimination.

Notes to editors:

  • Access the report ‘It’s here! Romani sexual dissidence’ here.
  • Text and photos by Emma Eastwood and Bex Wade.
  • Minority Rights Group International is the leading international human rights organisation working to secure the rights of ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities and indigenous peoples. We work with more than 150 partners in over 50 countries
  • Ververipen is a Spanish Gypsy collective promoting the concept of diversity and sexual dissidence in their community.
  • Fakali is the Federation of Gypsy Women Associations, based in Andalucía, southern Spain.
  • Plataforma Khetane is a platform of Gypsy organisations at a national level in Spain.

For more information or to arrange interviews, contact MRG’s Press Office

Samrawit Gougsa, Communications Officer (London, UK)
E: [email protected] / Twitter: @MinorityRights

Photo: Romani and LGBT+ solidarity wristbands. Photograpy by Bex Wade