Human rights and advocacy
MGRM was set up in 2001 by a small group of volunteers who were determined to bring about change. They were committed to setting up a helpline and to start raising awareness and combating the stigma faced by the LGBTIQ community.
Today, MGRM has established itself as a registered organization with a statute, a clear Mission, core values, and goals. It is an active member of a number of European Networks including ILGA-Europe, Transgender Europe and IGLYO. Membership of these organisations, participation in trainings, conferences, study sessions and network meetings have developed the capacity of the organization to effectively address a range of LGBTIQ issues.
Despite its limited resources it has contributed to putting LGBTIQ equality high on the political agenda leading to significant legal advances. These include the correct transposition of the EU’s Employment Framework Directive ensuring that this important anti-discrimination legislation made specific reference to the ground of sexual orientation and since 2014 the ground of gender identity; the correct transposition of the Freedom of Movement Directive; the inclusion of the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity in hate crime legislation; the widening of the NCPE remit, the Civil Union Act, providing equal rights and recognition to marriage including parenting rights and anti-discrimination provisions in the Constitution granting protection on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity.
Awareness raising was a core function of the organization with MGRM enjoying high visibility in the media with numerous TV and radio appearances, countless articles and letters to the editor in newspapers and magazines, talks delivered to various target groups and the publication of booklets addressed to LGBT youth and their parents. MGRM has carried out surveys, published position papers and conducted campaigns. In 2004 MGRM organized the first Pride March, an event which has taken place annually ever since and which is now developing into a joint event involving LGBTIQ NGO’s, the government and private entities.
The National Gay Helpline responded to hundreds of calls over the past ten years and is now part of the much broader Rainbow Support Service, providing a weekly youth drop-in, counselling services, social work intervention, legal advice and training to those who need it. MGRM’s work has ensured that parents are more informed about LGBTIQ issues and more likely to seek support and accept their LGBTIQ children.
MGRM has witnessed the growth of the LGBTIQ movement and has supported the emergence of new LGBTIQ groups such as We Are and Drachma. It forms part of the LGBTIQ Consultative Council set up by the Government in 2013 and is also a founding member of the Platform for Human Rights Organisations in Malta.
Despite Malta’s socio-religious context, the stigma surrounding LGBTIQ issues has been effectively dismantled and it is no longer just LGBTIQ organisations but also individuals who now feel empowered to speak out and to challenge public discourse. Being homophobic, biphobic and transphobic is no longer acceptable.