The training was organized by an LGBT organization from the Netherlands that has been working for the past five years to assist newer and smaller organizations in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
The training was simultaneously interpreted between Russian and English. Steve talked about the people who attended the training. “The participants live and work in countries which are significantly less safe for LGBT people than the US, Canada and the nations of Western Europe. I was repeatedly struck by their courage.”
Immediately before flying to Almaty, Steve traveled west to conduct a two-day retreat in Warsaw for the staff of the Tolerance and Non-Discrimination Department of ODIHR (Organization for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights). ODIHR is the human rights arm of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. This Department works on hate crime issues across Europe and Central Asia. Steve commented, “These men and women from 10 different countries provide critical advice and advocacy on hate crimes across Europe. They do remarkably effective work.”