Eurovision Song Contest: Sing it loud. Sing it proud!

Amnesty International Austria

Partnerships and same-sex couples from certain countries face discrimination by the state, which portrays same-sex couples as outsiders or simply ignores these individuals.


18 May 2015

Amnesty International launches #RespectDiversity campaign

Ahead of the Eurovision Song Contest in Vienna, Amnesty International Austria has launched a week-long campaign to raise awareness of the barriers that LGBTI communities in Europe still face.

The #RespectDiversity campaign highlights the fact that many parts of Europe fail to offer adequate protection against discrimination. In Austria, for example, flaws in the country’s anti-discrimination legislation mean registered partnerships and marriages are not equally accessible to both same-sex and heterosexual couples, and that transgender individuals are not able to have their gender identity and chosen name legally recognised.

“The Eurovision Song Contest is a key date in the European calendar but sadly not everyone will be celebrating. Partnerships and same-sex couples from certain countries face discrimination by the state, which portrays same-sex couples as outsiders or simply ignores these individuals” said Mariam Vedadinejad, spokesperson for Queeramnesty.

“The LGBTI community have the same rights and responsibilities as everyone else including the right to acceptance in society and to have their private lives protected. That is why, if we want Austria’s capital to lead the way globally in terms of tolerance, a campaign such as #RespectDiversity is so essential.”

Programme of events for Amnesty’s #RespectDiversity week:

· Monday, 18 May:
Could Anti-Gay propaganda Law in the EU become a reality
On 20 June, one month after the Eurovision song contest takes place in Vienna, Europride (the European equivalent of Vienna’s Rainbow Parade) is due to take place in Riga, Latvia. Vladimir Simonko, a longstanding LGBTI activist who has been actively documenting homophobic trends in the ex-Soviet Baltic state, is one of the event organisers.

· Tuesday, 19 May:
Roundtable: Identity is not a crime

A roundtable discussion involving John Jeanette Solstad Remø (Norwegian Human Rights Alliance), Vladimir Simonko (Baltic Prides), Heinz Patzelt (Amnesty International), Mariam Vedadinejad (Queeramnesty), Eva Fels (TransX).

· Wednesday, 20 May:
“It gets better”: giving hope to LGBTI youth

Dan Savage rose to prominence in the USA on the back of his sexual advice column Savage Love, which appears in dozens of newspapers every week. In 2010 he started the It Gets Better project which uses video messages from the project’s high-profile supporters to offer hope to young lesbians and gays and show that a happy, fulfilling life is possible regardless of your sexual orientation.

· Thursday, 21 May:
LGBTI Discrimination in Austria

Anastasia and Eva from the “Kissing in Prückel” protest
Anastasia Lopez and Eva Prewein garnered national attention when they were kicked out of a Viennese cafe because of a kiss. They subsequently staged a protest which spontaneously grew to over 2,000 people in Vienna and even created a stir abroad. Their case highlights the deficiencies of current Austrian anti-discrimination legislation: at present, individuals are only protected against discrimination in the workplace.

· Friday, 22 May:
Transgender Realities in Europe – John Jeanette Solstad Remø

For decades John Jeanette Solstad Remø had a successful career as a marine serving her homeland, Norway. It wasn’t until her retirement that he could really be her true self: John Jeanette Solstad Remø has been transgender all her life and once she began drawing her pension she has been involved as an activist in several organisations that fight for transgender rights.

A more detailed programme can be found on Amnesty International Austria's website:

For more information please contact:

Amnesty International Österreich
Tel.: +43-1-78008-47 or +43-1-78008- 39
Email: [email protected] / [email protected]