A special issue with ten stories that offer unique queer perspectives on the topic from Central Asia, Eastern Europe and South Caucasus.
Since its conception in 2018, Unit aimed at creating a community of people who are willing to change the world’s view on LGBTIQ+ issues. We connected journalists and activists in Central Asia, Eastern Europe and South Caucasus and supported them with expertise, network and funds. While based in Germany and affiliated with the journalistic network n-ost, Unit primarily focuses on connecting individuals within the aforementioned regions. However, this year we are shifting our focus to reach a wider audience by translating all our articles into English. The goal is to bring a reader — who would normally not have an opportunity and access to the stories produced in local languages — closer to the realities, struggles and joys of the queer communities in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Uzbekistan and Ukraine.
We collaborated with authors and media from the three regions during challenging times marked by significant political shifts. Multiple political processes are unfolding, often overlapping and influencing one another. While Ukraine is defending itself in a full-scale russian military invasion, Azerbaijan is pursuing its military interests in Armenia. Several countries have introduced or keep going back to discussing laws against “foreign agents” or “LGBT propaganda”. Moreover, state pressure on media and limitations on freedom of speech are intensifying (particularly in Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan). LGBTIQ+ people in Сentral Asia, Eastern Europe and South Caucasus are actively engaged in these complex social and political processes.
Journalists are actively combating disinformation, propaganda, and oppression, with a significant focus on challenging Russian colonial narratives. This commitment led us to dedicate our first issue to the theme of Decolonisation. But what does it mean to decolonise something (or someone) from a queer perspective? It means revisiting the past and uncovering traces of queer history within one’s culture that was changed through colonization. It means sitting down and reflecting on one’s own positionality as a colonial subject. It means finding ways of resistance towards neo-colonial and neoliberal politics of today. And for many this way of resistance means to be queer.
Our first issue consists of ten diverse stories that offer unique perspectives and approaches to the topic of decolonisation. We are grateful for collaboration with our exceptional authors, editors, illustrators, photographers and translators who stand for independent and cross-border journalism. We hope you will enjoy our first issue, and see you in the next one!
Vika, Pavel and Saltanat
Opinions expressed in the articles are solely the authors’ and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Unit team. That said, any and all feedback is very welcome, reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org or through the contact form.