Bojan from Serbia: Knowledge Equity Calendar

Originally published at: https://space.wmflabs.org/2019/12/01/knowledge-equity-calendar-bojan-from-serbia/

Pride Parade in Belgrade, Serbia, 2019
Bojan Cvetanović, Pride Serbia 2019 – Start at Pioneers Park, Belgrade, CC BY-SA 4.0

December 1

My name is Bojan Cvetanović and I am a queer fetishist. I am aware that I have “traditional” male appearance and related privileges because of that. Nevertheless, I consider myself an agender person. In 2015, I started working as Office Manager at Wikimedia Serbia, but was not further involved. Over time, I learned to edit Wikipedia by myself. I wrote my first article in 2017 (“Demisexuality” on Serbian Wikipedia) and that was a game-changing moment for me

Bojan with Ostroga at the Pride
Bojan Cvetanović, Belgrade Pride 2019 – Bojan & Ostroga, CC BY-SA 4.0

As part of living in a strong patriarchal society, as a result, you have the fact that most articles are about heterosexual men and their topics of interest. Not to mention problems with history articles and nationalism in Balkan communities. With the strengthening of feminist movements in Serbia, Wikimedia Serbia started to organize more activities focusing on reducing the gender gap on Wikipedia. For me, “Knowledge Equity” is not about pumping the knowledge about heterosexual cis-men and women. The world is too diverse to be closed-minded. In order to achieve equality we need to get to know other cultures and gather information about them. 

In 2017, I started implementing “Wiki Loves Pride” in Serbia. “Wiki Loves Pride” consists of organizing edit-a-thons on LGBT+ topics and taking photos at pride parades and other queer events. We are doing that with the great help of Belgrade Pride Association, Civil Rights Defenders and other LGBT+ organizations who provide us with literature, space for edit-a-thons, volunteer help, and content donations. 2019 we broke records: We had more than 40 articles written in one day and 20 participants. Thanks to them, the Serbian-speaking Wikipedia has now every of the 50 basic articles around LGBT+ and queer topics that every language version of Wikipedia should have. 

The biggest challenges around Wiki Loves Pride are definitely cases of homophobia and transphobia among Wikipedians, and a lack of motivation, volunteers and free time. Serbian Wikipedia community is mostly made up of cis-heterosexual men. Just because I’m part of a minority, I have to be too careful about every step that I make, which can take a lot of time, energy and nerves. In that context, you need more people (volunteers) who will understand your point of view and defend the articles and edits you made. We live in such a diverse world. That is why everyone should do a step into different and unknown. Every culture, every language, every place, every community, every person has some knowledge and experience that can enrich your life. Imagine making all of this available to anyone on this planet. That is our goal after all!

In order to achieve Knowledge Equity in the Serbian context we should collaborate (more) with human rights organizations, especially those dealing with gender and national minorities. Also, there has to be a closer cooperation with communities in the Balkans and networking in a strong and stable region through joint projects.

You want to know more?
* Wiki Loves Pride 2019/Serbia
* Commons Category “Wiki Loves Pride in Serbia”

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This is bravely covering ground and setting up a valuable knowledge base for those struggling to find an identity and to learn about the history, reality and accomplishments of their communities. Well done Bojan, proud of you.

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