Eastern Europe and Central Asia present a diverse picture in terms of cultures of acceptance and inclusion. In some, finding a queer person to talk to seems impossible, there are some where gay sex is a crime, and those where the fight for LGBTQ rights is surprisingly strong. To understand this complexity, we need reliable and professional journalism. Supporting this journalism is exactly why Unit was created.
We are a network of reporters and human rights defenders covering LGBTQ-related topics in the post-Soviet space. We connect people and facilitate cooperation through our Facebook communications hub, Telegram network, and special programs like our internship opportunities.
Unit is currently focused on eleven countries in Eastern Europe and Central Asia: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan. Only two of these countries recognize same-sex marriage and just one has a transparent and efficient process for legal gender recognition. In Uzbekistan, sex between men is illegal. Spaces for LGBTQ-people are scarce, both physically and in the media, where LGBTQ stories are often overlooked or misreported.
Despite this, there is a myriad of stories to be told. However, independent, high-quality journalism is very hard to finance, especially on this topic and in this part of the world.
We are asking for your help to enable local journalists on the ground to produce more quality content!
How does it work?
Journalists writing on LGBTQ topics pitch their ideas to us. We review their pitches, give feedback and provide them with:
📹production support: if the idea seems exceptionally promising, we support it financially (research, travel or translation costs) or provide payment for the authors’ work
✍️editorial support: our in-house editor revises and improves the piece
📰publication support: we use our media contacts to have the material published to a wider audience in Russian, English, and German
Who are we?
Unit is coordinated by a small team of project managers at n-ost, a German-based network of journalists, and MAKEOUT, an interdisciplinary, anti-discriminatory project in Belarus. We work with a network of journalists, activists, editors, and media partners in all of our project countries. We decide which pitches to support with the help of our network and our trusted advisors. Learn more about the project and our team.
What have we done so far?
In 2019, we published several articles in Russian, German, and English. So far in 2020, we have given support to two stories: - A report on how so-called “gay propaganda” laws impact the lives of school children. - A story from Russia’s far-northern Barents region on marginalized groups living with HIV.
Why should you help?
Even a small contribution helps us to support promising stories. The math is simple: the more funding we have, the more stories we can support. With your contribution, you will be supporting quality journalism where it’s most needed and providing the help that local journalists need to cast light on important issues. We are always open to hearing our supporters’ suggestions for interesting topics, potential stories and contributors. We will keep you updated with our regular newsletter, highlighting important developments and publications in our field.
How do we use your money?
Your contributions directly support our editors and journalists in the field by covering payment for their work, travel costs, and materials. Past contributions also supported the development of our communications hub on Facebook. All other running costs for the project are currently covered by the EVZ Foundation, meaning that 100% of your contribution goes to ensuring journalists can produce high-quality reporting on LGBTQ issues in the project countries.
We will update you regularly on exactly how your contributions are being spent and the difference your support makes on the ground.
If you have any questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us directly.
Thank you so much for your support.
All of the team at Unit