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EAA Executive Board response to concerns about the LGBTQIA+ policy of the host country*

* Updated on 15 November 2021

On a dialogue on social media in October 2021, some EAA Members expressed concerns about attending the EAA Meeting in a country that shows firm signals of an unfriendly attitude to LGBTQIA+ people and communities. The Executive Board has taken these concerns very seriously and discussed them both internally as well as with the local organizing team members. The choice of the venues for Annual Meetings has a wide range of aspects, involving the feasibility, the scientific content and engagement, the infrastructure etc. The politically, socially ‘problematic’ nature of the host country is none of these. Moreover, it is EAA’s mandate and policy to focus on contacting and supporting archaeological communities precisely at venues where support is needed.

In response to our request for feedback on concerns about the safety of LGBTQIA+ community members, the EAA appreciates the ten responses we have received from more than 26 signatories (including an EAA Corporate Member). These insights have helped our efforts to become more effective. We can summarise our response as follows.

1. EAA released its Gender Statement in 2020 after Members voted their approval for its content: now translated into several European languages, this still offers the firm basis for EAA’s policy on any kinds of harassment, coming from any side, with a specific stress on Annual Meetings and their venues. The EAA stands for and by every word of this statement.

2. We are aware of rules that have been introduced by the Hungarian government in the past few years. One is against “gender ideology” that led to the closing down of some departments in higher education; also, this was part of the reasons for banning the Central European University from Hungary. Yet, this applies only on an institutional level. Discussions, presentations, demonstrations (including Budapest Pride 2021, with tens of thousands of participants) are still possible. The other rule is one that includes some new paragraphs that can be called homophobic and came in force in 2021. This prohibits to “propagate” LGBTQIA+ content among minors under 18. Since the EAA Annual Meeting is a closed event bound to registration, with every participant over 18, this does not affect the Meeting directly.

3. We attach a link to the Mission Statement of our host institution, the ELTE University in Budapest: https://www.elte.hu/en/mission_statement_elte.

4. The EAA Board, together with the local organisers and the Scientific Committee, takes responsibility for the Annual Meeting duration and venue. It is our highest concern that each theme, session organised and presentation proposed that meets the required quality will face no obstacles during the planning and progress of the Meeting. Please see our revised Safe Space Policy, tailored for Budapest, below.

5. It is clear that EAA Members who attend the conference will also book hotel rooms, use public transport, sit in pubs and restaurants and want to enjoy the beauties of the city offered. Since we feel that these questions are beyond our power of control, our revised Safe Space Policy, below, offers useful links for further information, kindly compiled by our Archaeology and Gender Community (AGE).

6. To ensure that no questions remain unanswered, and we have provided as much information as we can, the EAA Board has organised a Zoom webinar with an officer of the most significant LGBTQIA+ civil organisation in Hungary, the Háttér Society (https://en.hatter.hu/). This format, where only presenters are on camera, and audience communicate via chat messages sent directly to organisers, ensures the anonymity of audience and only organisers know who is present. We encourage EAA Members to register to attend this meeting (please register here before 24 November noon CET: https://www.questionpro.com/t/ASfKHZprlV). The meeting will take place on Friday 26 November at 2 pm CET. Registered attendees will receive a link to access the event and are kindly asked to submit their main questions in advance. Depending on the time left available, further questions can be posed during the meeting. This meeting will be moderated by Bisserka Gaydarska, one of the co-chairs of the AGE Community.

7. In response to concerns on possible restrictions for Hungarian archaeologists attending the 2022 Annual Meeting, we draw your attention to the statement of the Association of Hungarian Archaeologists: http://regeszet.org.hu/2021/11/02/eaa-budapest-2022-felhivas/. The English version states:

The annual conferences of the European Association of Archaeologists, organized in various European cities, are among the most visited and prestigious events in European archaeology. With its 2020 meeting held online due to the pandemic, Hungarian archaeologists are in 2022 once again hosting and co-organising the [Re]integration conference, but this time we will be able to meet in person, in Budapest. This will be a momentous event for Hungarian archaeology since an archaeological assembly of this scale has not taken place in Hungary since the World Congress of Prehistory in 1876. As a non-profit organisation of archaeologists, the Association of Hungarian Archaeologists not only aims to make the results of Hungarian archaeology widely known, but also intends to provide opportunities to gain state-of-the-art knowledge via the new connections made between the participants of the conference. Since the event will serve to benefit Hungarian archaeology as a whole, the Association encourages its members to participate, organize sessions and present papers at the Budapest conference. The hosts and co-organizers of the EAA Budapest 2022 annual meeting, the Eötvös Loránd University and the Hungarian National Museum cordially invite foreign and Hungarian archaeologists to attend the conference.

EAA firmly believes that any anti-LGBTQIA+ behaviour is condemned by archaeologists in Hungary and elsewhere. We welcome Members of all gender and sexual identities, as well as their allies. As covered in our Safe Place Policy (below), any Member who feels discriminated or intimidated during the Annual Meeting is encouraged to immediately report it to our Appeal and Anti-harassment Committee.

This text was prepared by the EAA Executive Board.

EAA Safe Space Policy for Budapest*

*Updated on 15 November 2021

The EAA supports the rights and freedoms of its Members. We are committed to ensuring that everyone, especially our LGBTQIA+ and Hungarian Members, feels supported in attending our forthcoming conference in Budapest in light of recent political events in Hungary. We took the decision to go to Budapest a decade ago and, in view of the current political situation, we aim to keep delegates informed about any political developments in the run up to the conference.

We expect all participants to respect the personal boundaries of others, whether they be physical, emotional or cultural. The EAA believes that people from different backgrounds bring ideas, creative thinking and wide-ranging approaches to those topics and subjects that we engage in; this dynamic makes our Annual Meetings both innovative and effective.

We support the right of all our Members to be able to express their viewpoints without undue interruption. Constructive criticism and dissent are welcome, but should be focused on the topic, not the person. Any participant must consider the effect their own words and actions may have on others.

The EAA will not tolerate inappropriate, intimidating or offensive behaviour, whether verbal, written or physical, including harassment or unwarranted and unwelcome attention in any form. Failure to abide by this policy will result in appropriate action being taken by the EAA or the Annual Meeting organisers. If necessary, local authorities will be informed.

Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment of any kind will not be tolerated within EAA. Examples of sexual harassment include: victim is leered at; lewd suggestive remarks aimed at the victim; sexist remarks and jokes aimed at the victim; pornographic material shown or sent by social media; stalking can occur; unwelcome physical, sexual and conversational advances (see https://www.elte.hu/dstore/document/3455/ELTE-Es%C3%A9lyegyenl%C5%91s%C3%A9gi-Terv.pdf).

Sexual harassment is a pernicious form of behaviour that oversteps the personal boundaries of others and seeks to debase a person on the basis of gender. It is always one sided and it is undesired by the person concerned. It is demeaning and offensive, it undermines the self-confidence and it generates fear and uncertainty in its victim. Sexual harassment has nothing to do with sexual attraction and it can develop in a subtle way, but it is motivated by a wish to dominate and control the victim. It can originate from an individual or a group. Sexual harassment can occur verbally, in gestures or in actions.

Recent concerns for LGBTQIA+ members

Current political events have caused concern in the EAA community. In 2020, Hungary ended legal recognition for trans and intersex citizens and banned same-sex couples from adopting children. In June 2021, amendments were passed around the promotion of sex reassignment, trans identity and homosexuality among minors (<18).

According to Rainbow Europe, Hungary currently ranks 28th out of 49 in Europe for LGBTQIA+ rights and in July 2021, in spite of the legislation passed in June, Budapest Pride went ahead as planned, with 30,000 participants, with Pride now in planning for next year (https://budapestpride.com/).

EAA Safe Space Policy within the conference venues

The list of the 2022 EAA AM venues can be found here. Within the conference venues, delegates are encouraged to report any incident that threatens their physical or psychological safety to the members of the EAA’s newly formed Appeal and Anti-Harassment Committee either in person or by email : antiharassment@e-a-a.org. The EAA desk, which will be at a single designated physical location in the conference venue during the Meeting, will also be available for help and support. In addition, for quick and effective communication, there will be a group chat to create a safe and open space in which all interested delegate can participate for fast and effective communication; both of these are essential in cases of harassment or aggression. Details and practicalities of the above measures will be announced closer to the Meeting.

EAA Safe Space Policy in the city

Outside the conference venues, it is more difficult for the EAA to directly support delegates. In addition to our group chat, we are discussing Member feedback regarding the setting up of a ‘buddy system’ - enabling an LGBTQIA+ delegate to partner with a Hungarian ally to provide local support and advice. We are also discussing the suggestion to provide a shuttle bus service for delegates. Information about LGBTQIA+ friendly accommodation and bars can be found here: Gay Budapest Guide and here: Ultimate Guide to Gay Budapest. Advice around trans rights is available here. The EAA also commits to keeping delegates informed about the current situation affecting the LGBTQIA+ community in Budapest and Hungary, and any political developments up until the event begins.

Emergency case scenarios

A hotline with information and counselling for LGBTQIA+ community members is also provided by the Háttér Society every day (including weekends and holidays) between 18:00-23:00 CET. They can be contacted via phone ((+361) 329 3380), email (hotline@hatter.hu) and Skype (segelyvonal).

The ‘Tourist Police’ are the Hungarian Police’s English service for non-Hungarian visitors. Incidents can be reported through the 24-hour hotline (06-1-438-8080) or in person at the police office based at V. Vigado utca 4. The general emergency number, 112, can also be used. For medical assistance in English (and even other languages), it is recommended to call Falck’s 24-hour hotline (06-1-2000-100).

For a comprehensive list of advice related to various emergency situations (including document loss, medical assistance, etc.), as well as important phone numbers, please see: https://www.budapest.com/travel/in_emergency.en.html.

This text was prepared by the EAA Executive Board and Laura Coltofean-Arizancu, Bisserka Gaydarska, Kayt Hawkins, Ana Cristina Martins, Maria Mina, Nona Palincaş, Rachel Pope and Andrea Mouriño Schick on behalf of AGE and in consultation with AGE members.

Who to Contact and How?

  • by email to antiharassment@e-a-a.org
  • onsite in person or by leaving a note with contact details at the EAA desk

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