On July 25, 2020, Dastan and the PinkSummits team received the “Soul of Stonewall 2020 Award” from the CSD Berlin – Berlin Pride. In the selection of the Soul of Stonewall Awards nominees, the jury and the CSD Berlin justified as follows:
Living openly and freely as a non-heterosexual person still means for many people today to live with social ostracism or in some countries even to fear for their own lives. The Berlin CSD e.V. (Berlin Pride) honors people or organizations with the SoSA (Soul of Stonewall Award) in order to recognize their commitment to protection of the human rights of LGBTIQ+.
The award ceremony was surprising for us, emotional and we are very grateful for the recognition of our efforts. The laudation for the award was given by the German-Belgian Olympic athlete Kim Meylemans (Instagram, Wikipedia, Advocate.com). You can watch it here (Sorry, in German):
Dastan and Steffen gave a moving thank-you speech and called for more love, pride and courage and invited everyone to join the adventures of our Pink Summits campaign.
(Link to the video, if it is not shown. Dastan’s and Steffen’s speech in German is from 05:37:30)
Here is the transcript from the thank you speech:
Dastan (approximate translation from German)
Thank you for the award! I would like to take you briefly onto my journey.
Self-hate and denial when I realized I was gay. Hopelessness when I was first beaten because of my homosexuality and I could not go to the police. Shame when I came out to my parents. Depression when my parents tried to cure my homosexuality with religion and therapy. Anger when I heard the same insulting jokes over and over again. Fear when I received death threats. Burnout when I saw that we as activists have so much more to do. Pain when I saw my friends being kicked out and beaten by their our parents and were attacked by homophobic and transphobic bastards. And all of this without any end: hate, violence, bullying.
Nevertheless, we, activists from Central Asia, found always strength and limitless energy in order to keep fighting. For our future, for our freedom, for our happiness, for the right to love and to be loved. We are sometimes desperate, sometimes we lose hope, sometimes we are exhausted. But when another homophobe attacks our families, our friends, our loved ones, we are full of anger and strength to continue fighting and to protect ourselves. We have no choice but to turn hate into love. We have to be visible, we have to protect ourselves, help each other, inspire each other to fight together against homophobia and transphobia.
I had to move to Europe to study and to escape violence, threats and hatred in Kyrgyzstan. Here in Europe I asked myself what I can do from Europe for the LGBT+ movement in Central Asia and beyond. How can I fight for our visibility outside of my home country? I came up with the idea of combining two of my passions: sport and LGBT+ activism. I wanted to do something that no one in Kyrgyzstan’s history or even all of Central Asia has done. First I cycled from Kyrgyzstan to Germany for LGBT+ visibility. It was a hard, sweaty and challenging journey exactly like my activism: with despair, pain, loneliness, but also with inspiration, people, excitement and passion.
Now I have started a new journey, much more inspiring and grandiose. Now I’m not alone, but with a fantastic team of five other people, including Steffen who is standing next to me. If we manage to conquer all seven peaks, we will be the first queer team in the world to do this. We have already experienced a lot: snowstorms, altitude sickness, hatred, threats, and even 5-hour interrogation by the FSB, Russia’s secret service, but also we had often a crazy mixture of feelings when we raised our rainbow flags on top of the mountains: pride, happiness, and fulfillment.
We have already inspired many people and we still inspire a lot more, especially young people. Pink Summits campaign will triple this inspiration and bring hopefully more hope, joy and pride to the hearts of people in Central Asia and make our communities stronger and empowered.
Now my close friend and mountaineering partner will also add a few words.
Steffen (approximate translation from German)
Pink Summits is everywhere – true to the spirit of this year’s CSD motto “don’t hide your pride; here and worldwide ”. And I’m proud to be part of Pink Summits, which is not about how many people there are who like us but how we make people like and accept others as they are. Help us inspire more people to see LGBT+ as positive heroes rather than as victims. And this will be possible thanks to your support. This campaign is not owned by the five of us. It belongs to all of us and I invite everyone to join our adventures. Thank you for supporting us and recognizing our efforts.