Eesti Elu
TÄNAVALT (From the street). We are all so different…
Arvamus 08 Dec 2011  Eesti Elu
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The name teatri/väljak (Theatre Square) is even more justified with this interesting trio of characters on banners getting the attention of people in front of the Estonia Theatre opposite and at the neighbouring trolli- ja bussi/peatused – trolleybus and bus stops, (hence the trolli traadid, trolleybus wires across the banners.) Solarise keskus shopping centre is just to the right of the photo and the windows of the välisministeerium / Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs can be seen in behind.

The kloun is just in it for the money (nurub pappi, as per Estonian slang) and wants you you buy tickets to the Cirque du Soleil "Saltimbanco" running from Dec. 28th to 30th at Saku Suurhall. It's the first time the Canadian entertainment company's show has come to Eesti and although it's hard to see in the photo, an addition has been added to the bottom of the banner: Lisaetendused 1. jaanuaril – Additional shows on Jan. 1.

The next 2 banners, brought to you by Erinevus rikastab (Diversity Enriches) want to sell you on an idea. They make the point that of all the (omadus/sõnad) descriptive words you can use to paint a picture of an individual, their sexual orientation is but one facet of the big picture.

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The attributes read: Erki Pehk: Poeg (son), autohull (car nut), dirigent (conductor), kassi/inimene (cat person), võrokas (from Võrumaa county), festivali juht (festival director), gei (gay).

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Liina Vahter: tütar (daughter), sõbranna (friend), näitleja (actor), juuksur (hairdresser), üliõpilane (student), hetero (hetero(sexual)).

Now the only one we don't know about is the kloun. Perhaps bi / bi-sexual or lesbi / lesbian? Vahet pole. It makes no difference – in his or her ability to entertain and bring Estonians a spectacular show. Possibly the first circus of its kind for many, (including my 4 year-old daughter). One thing's for sure, in Estonian kloun is pronouned like the English word clone, not "klaun", mimicking the English word clown.

Project manager Kari Käsper: "Kampaania tuletab meelde, et lesbid, geid ja biseksuaalid, just nagu heterodki, on pereliikmed ja sõbrad, naabrid ja töökaaslased." (This ad campaign serves to remind us that lesbians, gays and bisexuals, just like hetero(sexual) individuals, are family members and friends, neighbours and co-workers. "Sallimatus ja homofoobia lõhub seetõttu ühiskonna sidusust ja takistab Eesti stabiilset arengut." Intolerance and homophobia work to undermine society's coherence and hinder Estonia's continued development.

Last year's campaign got a lot of attention and response by asking: "Aga kui sinu õde armuks oma sõbrannasse?" (But if your sister fell in love with her (female) friend?...) "Aga kui sinu majanaabriks on geipaar?" (But if your neighbours are a gay couple?...) Stepping out in the name of võrdsed õigused / equal rights this year are: conductor Erki Pehk, human rights activist Lisette Kampus, poet Liisi Ojamaa and actor Liina Vahter.
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Diversity Enriches ( has already started their next project asking who do you see portrayed before you: a soccer fan or child with Down Syndrome? Märka inimest, mitte puuet (Notice the person, not the disability). Unfortunately the Estonian word does not emphasise the challenge being met (physically challenged), but rather the impairment. Someone with a puue has something puudu (is missing or lacking something). The word vaegus (deficiency) is also used to describe hearing impairment (vaeg/kuulmine) and someone who is visually impaired (vaeg/nägija). Special needs children are known as erivajadustega lapsed. What the terms may lack in positive reinforcement is made up for by the propagation of positive messages and changes in attitude (suhtumine) in society.

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