LGBTI equality and human rights in Europe and Central Asia

Mazen Masoud's #FightRacism in Italy


Mazen Masoud is a human rights activist from Libya who now lives in Bologna, Italy as a refugee. He is an intersex, trans and black person fighting racism.

I am Mazen, a Libyan refugee living in Italy since three years. I was born intersex, my family has chosen a female name for me. So this was the first episode of discrimination against me.

I have tried so much with other activists to change our culture in Libya, so all LGBTI people could live safely without discrimination or the risk of losing their lives.

I had never thought of leaving my country, because I always believed that things do not change without sacrifice, and for that I did what I could do in my country, even though I believed it was never enough. Let’s say that in a country like Libya, you can't do much, especially after 2011.

I can say that in Italy I have been lucky to meet many wonderful people, who not only helped me but also made me feel like I am not alone!

It is a fact that Italy is now going through a truly historic moment with this new government openly targeting women, migrants, refugees and LGBTI people. I'm sorry to say that it is increasing hatred and racism, but I am happy to live in Italy, because I still have the pleasure of volunteering in an association like Il Grande Colibrì where I can continue to contribute to the movement as a human rights activist.

And of course I should not forget mentioning that I held the great opportunity to work as a social worker at MIT (Movimento Identità Transgender), an organisation working for trans refugees and asylum seekers in Bologna.

In the end I want to say that it is not easy to for a trans black refugee person to live in Italy. I have faced so much discrimination and also verbal violence, but these things don't make me feel afraid because I believe there are always people who fight for human rights until their last breath and together we will never leave our world in the hands of racists and fascists.

Il Grande Colibrì - an activism project from Italy in favour of LGBTQI people, with the purpose to bring out and tell how other differences such as ethnic, nationality, culture, religion, social, relationship, sexual, etc are important and connected with sexual orientation and gender identity.

Movimento Identita’ Trans (MIT) – an NGO based in Bologna which provides various services to trans people since 1994, covering health and wellbeing, human rights issues, and promoting trans visibility and cultural change.