Last weekend marked the 14th LIFT Festival, (Leszbikus Identitások Fesztiválja – Festival of Lesbian Identities), organised by the Labris Lesbian Association. By tradition, the LIFT Award, which is always given to a person who has done a lot for the lesbian* community, is presented at the opening ceremony. This year, for once, the award went not to a person but to a community: the qLit community.
Again, many thanks to Labris for the honour, thanks to all the qLit team members who have worked with us over the past 6 and a half years, and thanks to everyone who attended/attends our events or reads the magazine – success is shared!
The award was made by glasswork artist Barbara Szőke and presented by Dorottya Rédai, President of the Labris Lesbian Association, accompanied by the following speech:
The 2023 LIFT Award is not given to an individual, but to a community. The group, which has been an officially registered association for four years, is made up of lesbians who, in the mid-2010s, missed the women-only leisure activities that they themselves would have liked to attend. They decided to take action to find and create a community to help others connect with each other. They have started an online magazine, organise sports and cultural activities, and have well-organised monthly events that we also enjoy attending. The rush to register for their monthly programmes before they fill up shows the level of demand and need for them.
We were delighted when they were founded, relieved that we are finally not the only lesbian organisation in Hungary that works very hard, yet cannot – and does not want to – serve all the needs and wants of the community. We have many values in common, but they organise different types of programmes to reach out to members of the lesbian community who are not necessarily receptive to our activities. It is to their credit that alongside the more active, public-political projects of Labris with their heavier gravitas, there are also more relaxed, light-hearted, youthful programmes for people to relax at.
We have gradually developed a good cooperation, and we can always count on them to share our programmes and events, including the promotion of LIFT. This cooperation reached a new level last year: they played a key role in the organisation of the European Lesbian* Conference in Budapest; the cooperation between Labris and qLit and the local support of the main organiser EL*C was essential to make the conference a success. I would like to take this opportunity to thank personally and on behalf of Labris, Dorka Szekeres, without whose dedicated and professional organizing work this conference and the (first Hungarian) Dyke March would not have been so successful. This was the third EL*C conference, the first one was held in Vienna in 2017, where they were also present, and so were we. It is gratifying to know that all three organisations are still alive and well.
I could go on and on about our experiences – Ágota Szunyog as the sparkling pub quiz hostess, Dorka Szekeres’ awesome ping pong moves, how they waited for us on the hike when we got lost, how we once went to a perfectly organised girls’ football game where they really looked out for us and then thoroughly beat us. To sum it up: with their programmes and their writings, they have become an important driving force and an indispensable cohesive element of the Hungarian lesbian community. They contribute to making lesbians* more visible, and their work allows us to experience how colourful and diverse we are.
I would like to ask the representatives of the qLit Lesbian Magazine and Programme Association to come to the stage to accept the 2023 LIFT Award, which is the work of glasswork artist Barbara Szőke. Congratulations and thanks to them, and we wish them strength, energy and enthusiasm for their future work!
You can watch the opening at this link: https://www.facebook.com/liftfesztival/videos/342712484838394
Translated by Zsófia Ziaja