The “O Campaign” in Azerbaijan Is a Symbol of Progress on LGBTQ Rights, Though More Still Needs to Be Done
The campaign draws heavily from Azeri’s unique nuances. In the Azeri language, the letter “O” stands in for the gendered pronouns that exist in many other languages, including English. This subtle nod to the fluidity of gender and sexuality is one Azad hopes to capitalize on. By emphasizing the LGBTQ-friendly components of Azeri culture, the organization hopes to remind the country of its tolerant foundations.
A large component of Azad’s work involves building bridges with all parts of Azeri society. This much is reflected in the organization’s mission statement, which expresses a commitment to developing ties with local artists and NGOs, as well as working with educators and media to improve LGBTQ representation in all walks of life. This community-based approach is probably one reason Azad’s outreach efforts have been so successful.
But this success also highlights the nation’s growing pains when it comes to protecting the rights of its non-heterosexual and transgender population.