In National Socialism, people were persecuted and murdered based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. Discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI+) has not been overcome today. Since 2015, the EVZ Foundation has launched its human rights enforcement activities for LGBTI+ in the "Sogidarity. Against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity". The program was initiated as a cooperation project with Dreilinden gGmbH, which co-financed it for the first three years. Since 2018, exclusively the EVZ Foundation has funded the program.
With the program, the EVZ Foundation has succeeded in strengthening the cooperation of civil society organizations in Germany and Eastern Europe, which are committed to equal treatment of LGBTI+ in their countries. In three calls for tenders, 23 projects in Germany, Lithuania, Ukraine and Russia were funded with a total of EUR 1.2 million. The aim of the projects was to form alliances of LGBTI+ organizations with actors from civil society, municipalities and economy against discrimination against LGBTI+. Another goal was to create new access for more visibility and networking. The supported partnerships have been networked across countries in workshops of the Foundation and many of them have been supported over a longer period.
The program has been evaluated in 2019. The respondents rated the funding approach of combining Capacity Building with Coalition Building as innovative and very successful. For example, in the field of cooperation with groups of professions that are relevant to the target group. The program thus made a decisive contribution to making LGBTI+ organizations visible. The first Ukraine-wide forum of alliances in support of the LGBTI+ community took place in 2019. The funding approach has also been taken up in other programs of the Foundation. Alliance projects against Antisemitism and for the visibility of Jewish life in Germany as well as against Antisemitism and anti-Roma discrimination in Lithuania, Poland and the Czech Republic are supported.
Since 2019, the n-ost network's Unit project aims at facilitating a productive public discussion on the rights of LGBTI+ in post-Soviet states. The project connects journalists, activists, partner organizations and NGOs from Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova and Russia through joint activities to raise awareness of the issue among local actors. In 2020, selected young journalists from the LGBTI+ community of Unit completed supported internships with media partners in another project country. A two-month online phase due to the Covid-19 pandemic was followed by an offline phase on site in autumn 2020.
The program duration of Sogidarity ended in February 2021. Some of the projects supported will continue to work until 2022. The EVZ Foundation is currently developing its strategy. The results of the evaluation of the Sogidarity program will feed into the development of the future agenda. Strengthening self-organizations of discrimination-affected minorities such as LGBTI+ will continue to be a pillar of the Foundation's work.