Berlin, Paris, Warschau, Belfast, Bern, 30.10.2020
For outstanding commitment
TOLERANTIA AWARDS 2020
The European TOLERANTIA AWARDS 2020 are presented as joint prizes by SOS homophobie (France),
Lambda-Warszawa (Poland), MANEO (Germany), The Rainbow Project (Northern Ireland) and Pink Cross
Laureates of the TOLERANTIA AWARDS 2020 are:
Jacques TOUBON and Giovanna RICON (France), Andrzej Selerowicz (Poland), Dunja Hayali (Germany), Love Equality campaign (Northern Ireland), and Delphine Roux (Switzerland).
The Tolerantia Awards will be presented this year for the 15th time and under the special conditions of the on-going Corona pandemic. For this reason, the presentation of this year‘s awards cannot take place as part of an awards ceremony, which was due to take place in Warsaw in October. This year, the prizes will be presented locally in small groups consisting of partner organisations and the award winners.
The Tolerantia Awards, which have been presented annually since 2006, honours the outstanding engagement of people, institutions and groups. Their commitment highlights democratic values such as equal rights, solidarity, social diversity and tolerance as well as action against homophobia, racism and all forms of group-focused enmity in their own countries, in Europe and beyond. Each organisation uses its own jury to select an award
winner from their respective country.
The awarding organisations are members of the European Alliance Against Homophobia (Berlin Alliance), which was founded by organisations from Germany, France and Poland in Berlin in 2005. The Rainbow Project from Northern Ireland joined the alliance in 2014 and Pink Cross from Switzerland became a member in 2016. The organisations work together to combat discrimination and prejudice-motivated violence, advise and support victims of homophobic and trans*phobic violence, and promote social enlightenment and basic democratic values in their own countries and in Europe. The basis of the alliance is the ‘Tolerancja Declaration’, which has been signed by all members.
Here, we introduce all laureates:
Jacques Toubon and Giovanna Ricon
Jacques Toubon was born in 1941: after occupying several political positions (mayor, member of Parliament, Minister of Culture and Minister of Justice), he was appointed “Défenseur des Droits” (Human Rights
Defender) in 2014 and remained in office until July 2020.
The Defender of Rights is the French Ombudsman: it is a quasi-non-governmental organization whose missions
are to assist citizens to obtain their administrative rights, to promote children’s rights, to fight against
discrimination and bring to light ethical violations in law enforcement.
Throughout his term of office, Jacques Toubon and the Defender of Rights organization have been very involved
in defending and promoting LGBTI+ rights. SOS homophobie has chosen Jacques Toubon as its
first nominee because he has been a relentless defender of the LGBTI+ rights. Yet, his appointment raised
tremendous concerns within the LGBTI+ community, because of his past involvement in right-wing politics: between 1980 and 2000, Jacques Toubon voted against the law abolishing the death penalty, against the decriminalization of homosexual relationships against same-sex civil partnership, and filed a motion to pardon
However, he surprisingly has become one of the most relentless allies of the LGBTI+
community: he and his office have ferociously criticized the deficiencies of the government on this matter, issued many in-depth studies, and published a great number of manuals on a large array of topics related to LGBT+ rights. In giving up his past convictions and fully committing himself to his new goals, he is a very inspiring example of the way people can change when they free themselves from political games.
SOS homophobie hopes that the French political scene will follow his example: all political parties should promote and defend LGBTI+ rights as well as human rights in general, and not be taken hostage by economical discords.
The work of Jacques Toubon and his office is too large to be wholly quoted here, and so SOS homophobie will only cite the two most appreciated by its members: the manual “Acting against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in the workplace”, and the other which is aimed at helping LGBTI+ asylum seekers and the associations supporting them so that they will obtain the refugee status. His office also made several important recommendations to the government, the administration and to Parliament, e.g to simplify and de-judicialize name-change and gender-change requests on civil registry, to put an end to the discrimination against same-sex couples who want to adopt, to enforce the recognition of parentage for children born before or after one of the parents got his/her gender changed in the civil registry, to enforce the use of a person’s self-identified name rather than the one mentioned on official documents, and to put forward a bill acknowledging and prohibiting sexual mutilations on intersex children.
SOS homophobie expresses its deepest gratitude to Jacques Toubon: if our society complied to only half of what he and his office have put forward, France would become a more inclusive, a safer and a more respectful place for everyone, and especially for LGBTI+ people.
We would also like to point out that Jacques Toubon displayed unprecedented respect toward non-profit organizations and their volunteers, he always made sure to listen to them and to promote their field work.
For all these reasons, SOS homophobie recognizes Jacques Toubon as one of the most prominent allies of the French LGBTI+ community in the last decade.
SOS homophobie expresses its deepest admiration for Giovanna Ricon: her expertise and her dedication to her cause makes her a true role model for all activists. For her devotion to help the most prejudiced and vulnerable people within the LGBT+ community, Giovanna Ricon is undoubtedly one of the great militants in the fight against LGBTI+phobia. The previous laureates from France were:
Dr. Louis-George Tin (2006), LGBT*- and Anti-Racism-activist, founder of the IDAHOT; the play Place des mythos/ Delusion Square, a musical comedy (2007); Bruno Solo, journalist, and actor, producer of TV series “Caméra café” and “Kaamelott” (2008); Paris Foot Gay soccer club (2009); Caroline Mécary, lawyer (2010); Olivier Dussopt, PS (Parti Socialiste), members of the French National Assembly and Franck Riester, UMP (L’Union pour un mouvement populaire), members of the French National Assembly (2011); Véronique Eledut, teacher at Lycée JB Corot in Paris (2012); Le Petit Journal, a daily TV news show hosted by Yann Barthès (2013); “www.projet17mai.com”, a collaborative website presenting cartoons against homo-phobia in France (2014), Irène Théry, sociologist, member of the ‘Haut Conseil de la Famille’ (2015), Amnesty International France (2016), Stéphane Corbin, French composer and singer, and Océane Rosemarie, French singer, humorist, actress and director (2017), Christiane Taubira, former
Minister of Justice (2018), Collective Intersex Persons and Allies – CIA (2019).
Contact: Jérémy Falédam, president SOS homophobie
Andrzej Selerowicz – born in 1948 in Bełchatów – is a Polish social activist for gays and lesbians in Central Europe, a journalist and translator of LGBT literature into Polish. From 1976, he has resided in Austria, an activist of HOSI Wien and ILGA Europe.
From 1982, he managed the Eastern Europe Information Pool, which focused its activities primarily
on Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary and the GDR. In 1984, he co-created the first study on this subject –
the book “Rosa Liebe unter dem Roten Stern: zur Lage der Lesben und Schwulen in Osteuropa” (Pink
Love Under the Red Star: the Situation of Lesbians and Gays in Eastern Europe).
He is a translator of the classics of homoerotic literature from English and German and the author of
– among others: „Leksykon kochających inaczej. Fakty, daty, nazwiska“ (1993) [LGBT Lexicon – The
Lexicon of Those Who Love Differently], „Akcja ‚Hiacynt‘”(2015) [The Codename Hyacinth),„Ariel
znaczy lew” (2018) [Ariel Means a Lion] und „Innej tajemnicy wiary“ (2019) [Another Mystery of Faith].
He is also a dancer. He and his husband, John Clark, won numerous medals at the
international dance tournaments in 1998–2006, including the Gay Games and the
Eurogames. He lives in Vienna.
Andrzej Selerowicz worked for the Polish LGBT+ community since the early 1980s. In Vienna, he became involved in the work of the Eastern European Information Pool operating at ILGA-Europe, coordinating not only the collection of information on the community of non-heteronormative people from behind the “Iron Curtain”, but also participating in – or rather creating – the very first Polish gay and lesbian organizations. In 1983, he published the first issue of the “Bulletin” initiating Polish queer press. The “Bulletin” – a magazine in the form of a leaflet – was sent to Poland by post and then distributed among activists. All this happened at a time when the country was still under the martial law, and people involved in independent initiatives faced repressions from the authorities.
In the following years, the Laureate coordinated and supported the formation of the first local LGBT groups: Wrocław’s “Etapu”, Gdańsk’s “Filo” and “Warszawskiego Ruchu Homoseksualnego“ (Warsaw Homosexual Movement). Without his support, help and commitment, it would not have been possible to create in 1990 the first nationwide, legally operating gay and lesbian organization ‚Stowarzyszenia Grup Lambda‘ (Lambda Groups
Today – in 2020, 30 years after this event, we want to thank Andrzej Selerowicz for his contribution to creating our history! ‘Stowarzyszenie Lambda Warszawa’ (Lambda Warsaw Association) in recognition of the merits and huge contribution to the creation of the Polish gay-lesbian movement at its inception in the 1980s awards this year’s TOLERANTIA AWARD to Andrzej Selerowicz, a social activist, writer and translator.
The previous laureates from Poland were: Kazimierz Kutz, Senator in the Polish Senate (2006), Piotr Pacewicz, journalist and civil-rights activist (2007), Marzanna Pogorzelska, teacher (2008), Prof. Zbigniew Hołda, Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (2009), Izabela Jaruga-Nowacka, posthum, former vice primier of Poland; she died at the age of 59 on 10.04.2010 as a passenger in an air-crash in Smolensk (2010), Adam Bodnar, LL.M., Ph.D., Head of the Department of Legal Affairs at the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (2011), Dr. Katarzyna Bojarska, Professor at the Institue of Psychology of the University of Gdansk, and „No Taboo”, the Psychosexual Health Centre in Gdansk (2012), Ewa Siedlecka, journalist (2013) and Professor Monika Płatek, Institute of Criminal Law of the University of Warsaw (2014), Ewa Wanat, radio journalist and television personality (2015). Ilona Łepkowska, screenwriter, member of the Polish Film Academy, president of Television Association ‘Serial’ (2016), Elżbieta Szczęsna, founder of the Association “Akceptacja” (Acceptance) Association of Families and Friends of LGBTs in Poland (2017), The Polish LGBT+ community (2018), Bartosz Staszewski (2019).
In Germany, 2020, Dunja Hayali is someone whose mere existence can drive some fellow citizens into a veritable
frenzy: she was born in Germany and is the daughter of Iraqi Christians. She was an altar girl and remained Catholic despite withdrawing from the church. Tension areas and diversity seem to suit her, something she also demonstrates on one of her various platforms – be it Facebook, Twitter or Instagram or one of her TV programmes, for example das aktuelle sportstudio (a weekly sports show), ZDF-Morgenmagazin (a news and information programme) or her own eponymous talk show.
Truths have become diverse in this country, too: alternative facts are doing the rounds, particularly among those who have problems with the de facto diversity of social life, who incite hatred of refugees, migrants, “foreigners”, and those who behave differently, and who make anti-Semitic, trans-und homophobic comments on social media and on the street. But then there’s Dunja Hayali, who does not allow herself to be intimidated by crude conspiracy practitioners or senseless hue and cries, who approaches people and asks questions, who seeks dialogue. “Wanting to understand, without making allowances” is one of her guiding principles – to the point where the security officers accompanying her insist that she withdraw, as otherwise her safety can no longer be ensured.
For her “proactive approach to social-conflict issues” and her “commitment to freedom, respect and tolerance”, Dunja Hayali is now being awarded the first Walter Lübcke Democracy Prize, created in memory of the Hessian local politician who was murdered by a right-wing extremist. The MANEO jury was unaware of this decision when they chose to award this year’s Tolerantia Award to Dunja Hayali, but it is a decision they welcome and
affirm: especially now, we need people like Dunja Hayali who take responsibility for their stance and for others, but also for themselves; who take an open and clear position against racism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, homophobia and enmity; and who draw boundaries clearly and audibly on the one hand, and are fearless in their discussion of issues on the other.
Dunja Hayali does not avoid problems: she sits on a market square in Eisennach with the former President of the Bundestag Norbert Lammert in order to talk about democracy; she also throws herself into a tumult of Corona deniers and sceptics, vaccination opponents, neo-Nazis, esoterics, and the like, to discover what it is in this this mix that brings people to demonstrate together. She comes to the conclusion: the ends don’t – ever – justify the
Many of us have become speechless in the face of the conflicts and the occasionally extreme way they’re conducted. All the more important, then, that someone like Dunja Hayali, instead of holding her tongue, speaks up, as the person she is: a woman whose roots are not in Germany, who was born here and who stands up for the values of the constitution; a woman who is not 100% religious but who fights for religious freedoms and tolerance; a woman who insists on the observance of human rights; a woman who, simply due to her existence, gives encouragement.
The previous laureates from Germany were: Volker Beck, member of the German Parliament for the
Green Party, and Günter Dworek, activist in the gay and lesbian movement (2006); The “Human
Rights and Sexual Identity (MERSI)” group of Amnesty International (2007); Tanja Walther, sports
scientist, Philipp Lahm, captain of the German national football team, and Dr. Theo Zwanziger,
president of the German football federation DFB (2008); Hans-Wolfram Stein, teacher in Bremen
(2009); Wieland Speck and Mabel Aschenneller, producers of the international LGBT-Film Award
TEDDY (2010); Lala Süsskind, Chairperson of the Jewish Community of Berlin (2011); Elfi Scho-
Antwerpes, Mayoress of Cologne (2012); Maria Sabine Augstein, lawyer and trans*-activist (2013),
Cornelius “Corny” Littmann, entrepreneur, entertainer, theater owner (Schmidt Theater) and former
President (2002 to 2010) of Hamburg’s football club FC St. Pauli (2014), Klaus Wowereit, Governing
Mayor of Berlin 2001-2014 (2015), The Protestant Church in Berlin, Brandenburg and Silesian Upper
Lusatia (EKBO), the Protestant Church in Hesse and Nassau (EKHN) and the Protestant Church in
the Rhineland (2016), Heiko Maas, German Federal Minister of Justice and Consumer Protection
(2017), Johannes Kram, author, lyricist, blogger and marketing strategist (2018), Open for Business
Contact: Bastian Finke, Director of MANEO;
Mail: bastian. Finke [at] maneo. de / home: www.maneo.de
Love Equality campaign
The Northern Ireland Laureate for 2020 is the Love Equality campaign. Love Equality is the campaign led by a
consortium of organisations within Northern Ireland who campaigned for the introduction of legislation for
equal civil marriage for same sex couples. Love Equality is a consortium of Amnesty International Northern Ireland,
The Rainbow Project, Irish Congress of Trade Unions Northern Ireland, Here NI, Cara-Friend and NUS-USI.
After the success of the Marriage Equality Referendum in the Republic of Ireland in 2015, the Love Equality
campaign was formed and organised a rally for Marriage Equality in Belfast city centre in which 20,000 people participated.
To ensure that marriage equality became a reality in Northern Ireland, the campaign created a range of interventions which focussed on progressing marriage equality legislation in the Northern Ireland Assembly, challenging the ban on same sex marriage in the courts and creating opportunities for the Northern Ireland public to demonstrate their support for marriage equality in the form of campaign events such the BIG Fat Gay Wedding as part of Culture Night Belfast.
When the Northern Ireland Assembly was suspended in 2017, the Love Equality campaigned shifted its focus to Westminster, lobbying elected representatives and developing strategies for passing marriage equality in Parliament.
In July 2019, the campaign was successful in attaching marriage equality to legislation the government was progressing through Parliament and in February 2020, marriage equality became lawful in Northern Ireland.
In October 2020 the final stage of marriage equality was achieved with the introduction of mechanisms to allow same sex couples currently in a civil partnership to convert their civil partnership to a marriage. The Love Equality campaign is an example of how partnership, collaboration and creativity are unstoppable forces for progressive change and improving the lives of LGBT+ people.
The previous laureates from Northern Ireland were: Máirtín Ó Muilleoir, member of the Northern
Ireland Assembly, SF, Lord Mayor of Belfast from 2013-2014 (2015), Marry Mc Aleese, President of
the Republic of Ireland 1997-2011, Chris Hudson, minister for All Soul’s Non-Subscribing
Presbyterian Church in South Belfast (2017), Bronagh Waugh is a Northern Irish Actress (2018), Lyra
McKee, journalist – postum (2019).
Contact: John O’Doherty, Director
Mail: director [at] rainbow-project. org / home: www.rainbow-project.org
Delphine Roux doesn’t need an introduction for the people working for LGBTI+ rights in the French part of Switzerland. It’s as though she has always been active in our community and present in every campaign for the last dozen years.
Delphine comes from a southern and conservative part of Switzerland. But while growing up
in the mountains has made her strong and tenacious, the conservative Canton she was born
in didn’t keep her from being the co-president of the student LGBTI+ association of Geneva, Think Out, during her studies at the University of Geneva. After this first engagement her tenacity didn’t decrease – quite the opposite.
For the last 11 years, she has been the coordinator of the federation and is largely involved in their many projects. Since the creation of the federation, she has been part of the development of the prevention plan against homophobia and transphobia in schools. Today, the federation intervenes close to 150 times a year with school classes all over Geneva and shares its expertise with teachers, and also with the Geneva Schools’ Department. Delphine and her colleagues are not only responsible for the interventions themselves, but they also
conceptualise the teaching materials. Furthermore, they teach school administrators and teachers about the prevention of discriminations and about equal opportunities for LGBTI+ students, giving assistance and counsel in sensitive LGBTI+ situations such as school children transitioning.
In addition to that, Delphine is responsible for Totem, Geneva’s LGBTI+ youth group. This group meets every other Tuesday and offers a safe space for young people up to the age ofThey are always accompanied by three volunteers animators. Totem not only organises low-level activities like pizza or games night, but also cultural outings or evenings about coming-out to your parents or how to face homophobia or transphobia.
Delphine was also a board member of the Swiss Rainbow Families Association for three years. Together with the association, she developed a national survey about rainbow families in Switzerland and their needs, and she helped develop educational resources about rainbow families for parents, schools, etc. She was also involved in advocating for the legal protection of children growing up in rainbow families and fought to change the Swiss laws.
To recall all of her efforts and engagements for LGBTI+ rights is probably impossible, but Delphine is a role model of tenacity and of tireless work. She is a strong woman to whom everyone can look up to in our community. For all those reasons, and for every reason we forgot, we would like to thank Delphine for her engagement and her work for our community!
And of course, for the work that is yet to come, because at only 35 years, Delphine is far from being done.
The previous laureates from Switzerland were: Florian Vock und Jazzmin Dian Moore, LGBT*-ASctivists (2016), Alan David Sangines, member of the city council of Zurich since 2010 and is since 2012 vice president and responsible for politics of the Zurich pride festival (2017), Kathrin Bertschi, member of the Green Liberal Party of Switzerland and member of the National Council (2018), Henry Hohmann (2019).