1. The Alliance
The Tolerantia Awards have been presented annually since 2006 by an alliance of gay and lesbian anti-violence projects in Europe. These projects actively fight homophobia and hate-based violence, both in their own countries and in Europe. The collective association is called the Berlin Alliance against Homophobia and Trans*phobia and the Tolerantia Awards is both a symbol and expression of the union of these organisations.
2. The Tolerancja Declaration
The Tolerantia Awards date back to the signing of the first joint Tolerancja Declaration“ in Berlin in 2005 by representatives (executives and directors) of MANEO (Germany), SOS Homophobie (France) and Kampania Przeciw Homofobii (Poland). Lambda Warsaw signed up to the declaration in 2006. The background to the declaration was the realisation that the fight against homophobia, trans*phobia and hate-based violence not only needed to take place in one’s own country but also represented a broader challenge for an increasingly interconnected Europe, a challenge requiring joint, mutually supportive measures. The banning of public gay pride parades by the local authorities in Warsaw in 2005 and 2006 was an opportunity to mobilise Europe-wide support for LGBT* communities in the Polish capital. In order to demonstrate solidarity with our Polish sisters and brothers, the Polish word for tolerance (tolerancja) was deliberately chosen for the declaration, which has since been called the Tolerancja Declaration. In the same way, the Latin word tolerantia was chosen for the name of the award. The term “tolerance” is closely associated with the age of European Enlightenment and forms the basis of humanity, democracy, self-determination and open-mindedness in our European cultures. The Tolerantia Awards are therefore a deliberately European symbol. The Tolerancja Declaration, which has been signed by all participating organisations, forms the basis of the award. The key points of the Declaration are as follows:
We see diversity as enrichment, which gives rise to ideas and potential for our societies, which in turn become freer and more peaceful, law-abiding and democratic. We advocate human rights and tolerance in our democratic society against a backdrop of European history and its associated responsibilities and causes. By taking responsibility, we are working towards a shared future both in Europe and the rest of the world.
We live tolerance and strive to combat social marginalisation, discrimination and violence. We want to use our strengths to create and develop a tolerant, diverse society in which all people can live and work – and we do this in the spirit of the European Convention of Human Rights and with mutual acceptance of, and respect for, other people’s gender, age, culture, ethnicity, origins, beliefs, religion, political stance, disability and self-defined sexual orientation. This vision will be promoted by figures in society who clearly and demonstrably advocate tolerance in their public lives.
We can use our strengths to develop a civil society in Europe in which we can live together, free from discrimination, and we agree to work together to achieve this goal. We show solidarity with others who work for human rights, equal opportunities, protection for minorities, and compliance with the European Convention on Human Rights across Europe.
The winners of the Tolerantia Awards are chosen with these criteria in mind.
3. Annual award-giving ceremony
It has been agreed that, because participating organisations – anti-violence projects that record acts of aggression against LGBT* people and/or counsel or support the victims of such attacks – operate at grassroots level, they have a good overview of who, in their respective countries, has shown outstanding dedication the fight against homophobia, trans*phobia and hate-based violence, and is therefore worthy of a Tolerantia Awards.
Executives and directors of
- MANEO (Germany),
- SOS Homophobie (France), and
- Kampania Przeciw Homofobii (Poland)
agreed at a conference in Berlin in 2006 that the Tolerantia Awards would be awarded once a year in one of their capital cities to a person or a group from each country. There had been no such European award of its kind until then.
All agree that the prize should be awarded in one of the capital cities on a rotational basis.
The nomination of the local award winner is managed by the respective national organisation: for Germany it is MANEO, for France SOS Homophobie and for Poland Lambda-Warsaw and KPH. Each organisation determines its own transparent procedures for the nomination and selection of the award winner.
Organisers agree to promote the International Day against Homophobia (May 17) and use it as an opportunity to announce the winners of the Tolerantia Awards. The award ceremony will take place on an appropriate date at the end of the year. The organiser of the ceremony will announce the date to the other parties in good time.
5. The Prize
The Tolerantia Awards consist of a certificate and a sculpture.
Until further notice, these will be produced by MANEO in Berlin and brought to the award ceremony.
Partner organisations will prepare the texts for the respective certificates and make them available in good time.
6. Joint meetings
The organisers of the Tolerantia Awards have agreed that at least one meeting of executives or directors should take place at least once a year in order to strengthen the partnership and the alliance. The annual award ceremony offers the opportunity for a small conference.
7. Co-ordination of the award ceremony and alliance
As none of the organisations has sufficient resources and finances, all partners agree that the Tolerantia Awards will be co-ordinated by MANEO in Berlin. However, the award ceremony will be staged and financed by organisations in the host country.
The participating organisations ensure that its representatives as well as the award winners can travel to the award ceremony. Each organisation covers its own flight/train and hotel/hostel costs. For example, if the ceremony takes place on MANEO’s invitation in Berlin, SOS Homophobie as well as Lambda-Warsaw and KPH finance the travel and accommodation costs of their representatives and award winners. The ceremony would be organised and financed by MANEO. In order to keep costs down, official occasions such as joint conferences or anniversaries can be used to stage the award ceremony.
Should a participating organisation be unable to finance the travel and accommodation costs of its representatives and award winners, the organisation chooses a worthy alternative event in its own country to take place after the official, joint ceremony.
The existence of the alliance that has been formed around the Tolerantia Awards is supported by each participating organisation. A key aspect of this is the quality of communication and information exchange among the executives and directors of the organisations involved, as well as the degree of attention devoted to this unique alliance, bearing in mind that resources and financial means are scarce and that the alliance is based mainly on voluntary a commitment.
8. Expanding the alliance
All partners have agreed that different organisations from other European countries are eligible to join the alliance and that the Tolerantia Awards can also be presented in these countries. However, the prerequisite for joining the alliance is that organisations conduct comparable anti-violence work, are directly involved in victim support initiatives and that the representatives of organisations already in the alliance agree to the accession of any new member and support the decision.
9. Organisations represented in the alliance
The following countries are currently represented in the alliance and are regularly and jointly involved in the Tolerantia Awards ceremony.
- Lambda Warszawa
- KPH – Kampania Przeciw Homofobii (Campaign against Homophobia)
- SOS Homophobie
The Spanish organisation COGAM was a member of the alliance from 2009-2010. The organisation was forced to leave the alliance on account of insufficient resources.
- The Rainbow-Project
- Pink Cross