The project responds to the problem of discriminating and excluding the LGBT+ community in small towns in Pomerania. In several small towns in the region, there have been attempts to adopt resolutions introducing LGBT+ free zones (e.g. Lębork, Sztum). Where the LGBT+ community has managed to co-operate with local authorities, homophobic ideas have been stopped. Unfortunately, there is still a shortage of LGBT+ people who are willing to cooperate with local authorities and to carry out monitoring and self-advocacy activities. At the same time, the equality activities of local authorities are met with coordinated homophobic attacks from conservative, right-wing organisations which, if left unanswered, have a chilling effect on authorities, schools or LGBT+ people and undermine the efforts of cities and organisations.
The project prepared a group of 14 LGBT+ leaders to work with local governments to carry out local monitoring and self-advocacy activities. They took part in training, online meetings and a study visit to Oslo on how equality organisations and local government can work together to develop city service standards. The project produced LGBT+ friendly city service standards in the areas of social welfare, mental health care and customer service. The standards include, among other things, guidance on how to create a safe space in the office, provisions on the use of equality language or the need for anti-discrimination training. People working in different departments of the Gdańsk City Hall took part in training sessions to prepare for the implementation of the standards. Finally, the promoter organised a national professional forum to disseminate the developed standards.
The project benefited 14 LGBT+ leaders from Malbork, Sztum, Lębork, Elbląg, Kościerzyna and Gołdap, as well as 44 people working in the Gdańsk City Hall. LGBT+ people have improved their leadership and advocacy skills and gained knowledge about the functioning of municipalities and social policies, and those working in offices have increased their knowledge about the needs of LGBT+ people and how to address them in municipal services. Although the standards have not been fully implemented in any of the institutions yet, there has been a change in awareness in all of them. The project has also had an impact on strengthening alliances that provide support and safety for LGBT+ people at the local level.