Portraying the Estonian LGBTplus Community

Update november 2021:

This summer, LGBT+ activist and dragqueen Heinrich Sepp/Helgi Saldo, photographer Silver Mikiver and me set out to interview and portray the first three people in a - hopefully - longer project portraying the Estonian LGBT+ community in all their humanity. See some behind the screens shots in the cover image (visiting Tapio in Hiiumaa and Grete-Maria in Tartu)
We are putting together a template of the first interviews and portraits to set up a bigger fundraiser. But maybe you wish to already contribute an amount so we can continue with searching for funds, graphic design and putting together fund applications. I have renamed this fundraiser in that purpose.

The aim of the project is to document and portray a wide array of LGBT+ people in Estonia. Answering to homophobia, which is partly caused by unknowingness and the lack of representation of LGBT+ people in Estonian art, media, and other public materials, outlets and in general. Specifically we want to give voice to LGBT+ people themselves, for them to be able to tell their own stories, as they want them told. Important in these stories is not only or per se their sexual identity, but their personhood as a whole; their loves, fears, hopes, memories and experiences. By focussing on the human story, we want to create a sense of recognition, instead of separation and otherness.

Update 2020:

It's almost my birthday again.
Last year I decided to organize a fundraiser for the Estonian Eesti LGBT Ühing / Estonian LGBT Association, since they were pressured and teased by some political parties that are in power. I was very happy to have been able to donate over 800,- to them with my fundraiser and your help, money which was well spent on an educational project, aimed to bring down bullying, misunderstanding and increase awareness, equality and tolerance among school kids.
But I am a bit sad, that now, one year later, things are still looking bleak on some fronts. A populist party, which is part of the coalition government, wants to define marriage as a union of a man and a woman in the Estonian constitution (to be decided upon in a referendum next year) and is openly homophobic. Luckily already over 25 000 Estonians have signed a petition to counter this!
So; I will share the link to my fundraiser once again for this birthday Let's support equal rights, and the hope that in the future Estonia will be a pleasant and safe place for people of all kinds to build their life.

UPDATE/UUDISED (English Update & Original Description Below):
Vau! 750,- euro sihtmärk on saavutatud juba 3 päeva jooksul. Usun et see on hea näide sellest, kuidas positiivne liikumine inspireerib teisi mõtlema ja tegema ka head. Kellegi - kes seda jagas - sõber kirjutas et kas nii õige algatuse puhul Eesti keel ei sobi? Ma seletasin et mina ise juba elan peaaegu terve elu Hollandis (kuigi olen Eestis tihti mitu kuud aastas) ja kirjutan inglise keeles, kuna nii saavad ka minu hollandi sõbrad aru ja annetada. Samas, sain aru ka sama inimese järgmisest argumendist: "Eestis ei juleta (nende arvates rahva totaalse vastuseisu tõttu) Eesti LGBT Ühing / Estonian LGBT Association-le raha küsida või ei loodeta seda saada" ja et see kartmine toitab teatud seltskonna kära.

Olen nõus sellega, et jah, on tähtis et just (Eesti) inimesed ise ütlevad oma positiivse sõna ja toetuse välja ja näitavad et hoolivad ühingu tööst ja samastuvad nende sihtmärkidega. Saan ka aru et seda ei ole kõikidele sama turvaline teha aga loodan et liigume selle poole et aina rohkem inimesi julgeks ja saaks ka oma positiivseid arvamusi ja enda ideniteeti avaldada ja jagada.

14. novembril mina sõidan taas Eestisse, ja on plaanis siis ka kogutud summa ühingusse kohale viia. Kuigi 750,- eurot oli algne sihtmärk ja see on kogutud siis ma jätan selle lehe veel 14. novembrini üles ja kõik kes veel soovivad annetada, saavad seda teha  :)  <3

Suur äitah koigile kes juba toetasid!! Rahaliselt, voi muud viisi!!

The 750,- goal has been reached within 3 days, wow! I believe this is a good example of how positive movement creates more positive thought and action. Someone shares this and their friend commented: why is such a good action not written in Estonian? I replied that Ive been living in Holland a long time and would like for my Dutch friends to also be able to understand. But I also really understood his next comment: that in Estonia people are afraid to ask for money for the Eesti LGBT Ühing / Estonian LGBT Association, because they believe the large community is totally against it. And this fear then feeds the noise of the opponant.

I agree that, yes, it is important that (Estonian) people themselves publicly and positively speak out their support and show that they care about the work of the association and identify with their goals. But I also understand that for some there is no safe environment to do so. I hope we will move towards a society where this enviroment becomes safer and more people can express their positive experiences and identity as well.

On the 14th of November, I will go to Estonia again and am planning to also deliver the raised funds personally. Although the 750,- has been reached, I will keep up the fundraiser until the 14th. So anybody who still feels like they want to chip in, can do so!  :)  <3

And a very big thank you for everyone who already showed their support! FInancially or otherwise!!



Facebook asked me if I wanted to raise money for any good cause, since it's my birthday. Well, I do! I tried to find the Estonian LGBT Association in the list of their good causes, but couldn't find it there. So I moved my action to GoFundMe.

I've been seeing how in the last month the Estonian LGBT association is under fire and some other organizations and political parties want them to be cut off from even being able to apply for government funds. I'm not going to get too far into the arguments they have for this. Because it's not productive to attack other organizations, let's focus on the positive action.

Estonia is still the third most homophobic country of the countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, putting LGBTI people at risk of being discriminated against in dimensions critical for their well-being: family life, education, economic outcomes and health. And if you are not yet convinced on personal levels, maybe it helps in the awareness to realise that because of the aforementioned, the discrimination of people has a huge effect on the country as a whole as well. Afterall; we are an ecosystem all working together and contributing to eachother's wellbeing.

These statistics represent untold personal tragedies for the individuals concerned; but they also reflect a senseless waste of human potential on a grand scale. Every trans youth thrown out of home or forced to miss out on an education is a loss for society. Every gay or lesbian worker driven to leave their job or even their country is a lost opportunity to build a more productive economy.

Quoting an article on World Economic Forum: ''These statistics represent untold personal tragedies for the individuals concerned; but they also reflect a senseless waste of human potential on a grand scale. Every trans youth thrown out of home or forced to miss out on an education is a loss for society. Every gay or lesbian worker driven to leave their job or even their country is a lost opportunity to build a more productive economy.

At a macro level, the cost to a country’s economy can be counted in the billions. According to a pilot study conducted for the World Bank last year, discrimination against LGBT people in India could be costing that country’s economy up to $32 billion a year in lost economic output.''

But luckily there are also many people that see the real truth; that love is the most important thing there is (no matter its form) and that we need to take care of each other and create a safe and welcoming environment for all people to express their selves, their love and identity. So let's support these people on their mission!

Because it's inhuman and absurd that I love my girlfriend but still there is the society oppressed need to consider other people's feelings about this, instead of just loving someone and being happy. We should just be enormously glad that people love each other and are colourful and unique.


Anna Lillioja

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