Resistance and resilience: Romani women and LGBTIQ persons

February 11, 2020

On 6th February, the Romani Studies Program and the Department of Gender Studies held a roundtable that discussed the way Romani women and Romani LGBTIQ persons exercise resistance and resilience and the way their experience shape and in some cases challenge the Romani movement. The invited speakers are all formers fellows of the Romani Studies Program.

            The first speaker, Tanja Jovanovic, talked about how Roma students succeed in accessing higher education in Serbia, what are the obstacles they are facing. She argued that patriarchal oppression within the Roma community intersects with institutional racism which leads to the socioeconomic marginalization of women. She emphasized the importance of the plurality of experience and showed that women are not a homogenous group and Roma women in particular face double oppression.

Lucie Fremlova highlighted that it is crucial to resist binary norms and acknowledge intersectional experiences that help us to understand about more people than just the Roma. Fremlova said that one of the challenges of building alliances is the narrow heteronormative reading of ethnic identity and the exclusion that comes with it: anyone who trespasses it are considered un-Romani. In the presentation, Fremlova argued that identity is not just a product, but also an on-going discursive process and the lived experiences of LGBTQ persons and visual self-representation pose a challenge to stereotypical one-dimensional homogenizing representation of the Roma.

            Dezső Máté addressed the multiple and intersectional oppression and the discrimination for various identities that Romani LGBTQI face. Máté discussed negative labelling by outsiders and epistemic violence in referencing. The way Roma people themselves reproduce stereotypes was critically reflected upon. Máté argued that by identifying yourself in contrast to your group (“I am not that Roma”), Romani people are self-colonizing Roma identity.

            Ráhel Katalin Turai, PhD graduate of the Department of Gender Studies at CEU, was invited as the discussant of the event. She posed questions about the helpfulness of visibility and the way one can exercise self-reflexivity in their research.

            The event was chaired by Maria Dumitru, MA student at the Gender Studies Department, alumna of the Roma Graduate Preparation Program.

            The last roundtable will be held later this month, we are looking forward to welcome you on that event as well!


  • Alienation through representation (27 February 16.30-18.00)