Coming Out Week 2016

Redefinition of goal of Coming Out Week

Redefinition of goal of Coming Out Week This year the goal and objective for the Coming Out week were (re)defined as follows and presented to all the event managers, press coordinators’ and also to the press:Coming Out Week; Coming out of the closet; True and honestly being able to say who and what you are. Coming Out Week is certainly not intended to force people out of the closet, nor is it intended to make people gay. Coming out is a personal process starting with self-acceptance, by overcoming one’s own fears and anxieties. For some, it is a fairly easy process, while for others it’s a longer and more difficult one. Every LGBT person is struggling with coming out. He or she must decide when ready to begin the process.  The Coming Out Week aims to raise awareness, provide information and show society who we are. Participants who have been out of the closet already are again “Coming Out of the closet” to show “this is us”, no shame, no fear and no need to be afraid of us. Fear, hence the word homophobia (phobia, fear; especially for the unknown). We want to change homophobia in “homokay”.

Fear and anxiety?

The first questions, remarks and insinuations that one will encounter from relatives, friends or family when coming out are:

  • What will the neighbors think?
  • What will your siblings think?
  • How will your aunts and uncles judge us?
  • What will the people of the church say?
  • What will the people at work think of us?
  • And so on.

All these issues in fact are dealing with what others might think, do or say. So the fear of what society might think or do and what society’s reprisal might be.Fear is often just as great for those who are in the closet as it is for their peers, friends and family. It has always embodied that what others might think or do. This, the actual presence of fear and anxiety which should not have to be present, is what we strive to remove.

By organizing Coming Out Week in Suriname, the objective is:• To show that there is nothing to fear nor should there be.• To get rid of fear of the unknown by giving LGBT a human face.• To pave the way for those who are still in the closet and struggle with their feelings. Those that agonize and despise themselves, and go through all sorts of demonizing experiences.• To save lives by preventing suicide attempts because of homophobia, trying to prevent harassment and bullying that occur amongst adolescents as well as adults • To prevent parents from kicking their children out of the home because of their sexual orientation. Resulting in children becoming homeless, disappearing from the educational system and ending up in the streets and prostitution, just so to make ends meet.• To prevent children from being declared insane and taken to the psychiatrist or in several cases children are being brought to various pseudo quacks for healing. Cases are known that girls are raped by these so called healers just so to make them straight. • To prevent LGBT being scolded, spat on and even worse, being physically attacked on street, at school, etc. Each and every life matters, therefore LGBT rights are included in the manifesto of the United Nations as its basic Human Rights. The same basic rights, equal rights. No more, no less and certainly no special or separate rights nor privileges (such as not paying taxes for example.). Just the same rights, just like any other. It is therefore important to organize the Coming Out Week, to “come out again” to expose ourselves. To have companies, employers, friends and family also kind of “come out” as “homokay” and show solidarity. For non-LGBT this is also an accomplishment and a hurdle to take, because questions certainly will be asked at meetings or at the dining table. “What are will our customers be saying?”, “What will our business partners think?” “What are our employees going to think”, “What will my friends think?”Coming Out Week is the LGBT and non-LGBT showcasing that there is no need for fear, no matter what other people might say, think or do. It is a long process, but we will have to endure. If just one life is saved by the “Coming Out Week” we have already come a long way.6.6.2 COW program6.6.2.1 Opening ceremonyThe festive evening started with Speeches by the Interim Chair of the LGBT Platform Suriname Chrystabelle Beaton, the Chair of the COW Committee Winston Lieveld, Representative of the Dutch Embassy Marcia Baak, Motivational Speech by Ivan Tai Pin and a Speech by Director Art1/IQMF Chris Beloni. After a Music and Dance Performance the film presentation Uganda started off the IQMF.  The COW Opening Party after the movie premier was held at Club Touché. The International Queer and Migrant Film Festival Educational Information sessions for schoolsThe COW2016 continued with Educational Information Sessions for schools in the Amphitheatre at the Paramaribo Zoo and at several schools.

Goals defined for the Educational Information sessions:To define the term LGBT;                     –                                                                      To conduct LGBT-discussions;                                                                    Understanding and explaining equal rights for all, including LGBT;                                         Substantiate certain prejudices that exist regarding LGBT. Second year (in row) the M.A.T.I.E. award was presentedThe MATIE recipient 2017 was the Gay Rights Activist Anita Kartosemito.The criteria by which nominees are judged: • Proactive: take action to promote equality for LGBT people where existing frameworks (laws, regulations, norms and values) fall short. • Anticipate:  national developments that could harm the equality process of LGBT • Impactful: clearly contributes to shaping the LGBT agenda in Suriname towards equality. • Sustainable: changes are such that they are guaranteed in the long term. Sports ActivityFor the second year in a row Sports Activities were held at the SOSIS Sport Facility Centre, where a LGBT Team competed against other (non-LGBT) teams, bringing visibility, awareness, and understanding for each other a bit closer to reality. Support from the  Business Community The visibility and the support of the Business Community in and around Paramaribo were very comforting, enjoyable and a good feeling. About a hundred companies and organizations flew the rainbow banner as sign of support. Express yourself @ ReviveAwareness and Visibility by being and showing yourself at a weekly prime event ‘Revive’ was held at the poolside by Hotel Torarica. Social Give-Back: Dinner for the homelessIn the spirit of giving back and caring, the COW program featured a dinner for the homeless at their shelter. There is no better way than giving back to another group of human beings that is casted out by society. Every year during and also in the aftermath of the COW, the LGBT Platform complies with general social responsibility by giving back to the ones who are less fortunate and also deserve understanding, help and acceptance. By doing so, the LGBT community also contributes to its own positive image and visibility as part of the bigger picture. One cannot ask for compassion and acceptance if one is not willing to offer the same in return.

 Info Uit de Kast“Information Out of The Closet” (Info Uit de Kast), after an absence of two years, this activity was back in the COW2016 program. As usual this activity helped make the COW2016 a success and achieved this by providing information and creating awareness and visibility on several moments and at different central A-1 locations; City Centre Down Town Paramaribo and at TBL Cinema’s Hermitage Mall Paramaribo South. Coming Out Day event: Coming Out Stories / SpeeddatingComing out stories and Speed dating. Location: Suit Entertainment and Terrace. The Coming Out Stories/Speed Dating is an event where people get to know each other’s coming out stories.Participants where members of LGBT community and their peers.  Afterwards we continued celebrating the Coming Out Day 11th of Oct 2016 with karaoke and drinks on the terrace. Debate & DiscussionFor the Debate and Discussion event the topic selected was:  Mirror, mirror on the wall ‘Are we ourselves inclusive at all? This event was held at Jacana Resort and Hotel and sparked some interesting point of views like ‘How tolerant and accepting is the LGBT community towards each other?’ Parea RUTU BorrelThere was also an informal networking drinks event at Tori Oso during this Coming Out Week organized by the COW committee with the LGBT Platform Suriname and its members, the business community, sponsors, allies, supporters, friends and family. Parade The Pride Parade of the COW2016 had an increasing number of participants. There were also visitors from outside Suriname, who came especially to participate.This year, for the first time, local and international government officials were invited to view the parade from a VIP stand. This also provided them with a networking opportunity. Dignitaries reviewing the parade included the Minister of Justice and Police, representation from the Ministry of Trade and Industry, members of the Committee Diversity and Inclusivity, and members of the diplomatic corps. Closing Party The Closing party was a success and had visitors from the LGBT and non-LGBT community.  Both celebrating the end/closing of COW2016; “nothing can stop us now“ could not have been a better way to describe the feelings and sentiments.


6.6.3 Volunteers appreciation dayA couple of weeks after the COW2016 a Thank You and Appreciation Day was organized by the Coming Out Week committee for the all event- managers, and volunteers.6.6.4 Sponsors of the Coming Out Week 2016COW2016 received essential support from the private sector, this being in the form of financial, material- and nonmaterial support. Significance of this support is the social message send to the wider public in general that “gay is okay”.




6.6.5 Media coverage during COW 2016 Media coverage was exceptional, ranging from most printed press to TV, radio, as well as social media. A few impressions of printed press:
6.6.6 Audio visual material (links) COW 2016Day 1 Opening ceremony / Opening IQMF Film Festival / Opening party: 2. Express yourself @ Revive; IQMF: 3.  Sports; Info uit de kast ; IQMF  (Day 3 and 4): 4.  Education and information Amphi Theatre Paramaribo Zoo / Speed dating / Coming Out Stories: 5. Diner @ homeless shelter; Education on location: 6. Debate: 8. Parea Rutu Borrel @ Toru Oso; 9. Parade & Closing Party: Magic Studio :  parade and closing party COW2016  Voorlichtingsdienst TV COW2016 8ter t nieuws 11 okt ABC TV : Closing coming out week 2016: Out Week 2016 in the TV-program Jeugdjournaal,Apintie TV :  and