The Mongolian LGBT Centre is this year’s awardee of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission’s Felipa de Souza award, which honors human rights defenders working on LGBT rights each year at it’s a Celebration of Courage gala. The organization’s Otgonbaatar Tsedendemberel (LGBT Advocacy Programme Manager) and Munkhzaya Nergui (Youth Programme Manager) share their story below.
The establishment in 2009 of an NGO solely dedicated to upholding the human rights of Mongolia’s LGBT community was a milestone in the Mongolian LGBT rights movement, and marked the end of a difficult and frustrating three-year journey for we LGBT Centre founders. We encountered a lot of prejudice along the way, and a lot of unnecessary obstacles were placed in our path as a result of that prejudice. But this was indicative of the level of societal misunderstanding and lack of acceptance of LGBT people that exists across the board in Mongolia. We expected it because it was a fight that hadn’t been waged before, and hence we knew it was inevitable that it would not be an easy journey. But we were prepared to go to the highest court in the land if necessary. We had no intention of giving up, and we didn’t. But certainly people’s attitudes were – and remain – the greatest challenge.
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