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Cristi Lupșa | People of Justice 2022 Bucharest

We've known Patrick for about 10 years. We have even shared this stage at DoR Live. He has taught me a lot about what it means to be a better man and he still does. Today, he's 37 years old. He's an activist at ACCEPT for the rights of transgender people, director, and a person who constantly rewrites his story, in order to go through life in harmony with himself.

 Stories represent the way I understand the world, he told me recently. How else? What you've seen is the trailer of a documentary in progress, through which Patrick wanted to show the process of changing his papers, so that they represent him. It's a story that we are telling together in DoR number 50, too, an anniversary edition, but also the final edition, because our activity is going to stop in a few weeks' time. But Patrick reminded us that, even though a stage in our life is over, our journeys to discover ourselves continue.

He also thought that it would be easier once he started his transition, that the hormone therapy would bring him closer to the man he always knew he was. It didn't get easier: many obstacles came. Some of them were even painful. But he went on. He searched. He learnt. He fought. He keeps doing it to this day, by trying to change a system that keeps deciding who you are. Today, what Patrick wishes for is the freedom to choose who you are, the freedom to declare who you are and for others to believe you and accept you.

This is a form of justice that a story can bring. Tatiana Țîbuleac puts it so beautifully: In the world, there are such people: people who can't live without telling stories. For them, for these people, always beautiful and often insane, life has to be a story. Because, only there, between her soft and magic ribs, do they reconcile with evil and suffering, with disease and treason, because they know... They know that a story never leaves things unsolved. A story, even the shortest story, even the saddest story, is always careful to put things right.

 Our show is coming to an end. That's why I want you to help me say thank you to all those who have supported us in organising this event. I want to say thanks to the teams from DoR and Leaders for Justice. We couldn't have done everything you've seen without them. A special mention for the legal experts you've seen on the stage and there are many others in the room. You make me believe that Romania can become more just. If an entire room will now ask for advice and support, I think you should see it as a good omen. And gives us a preferential fee. Robin has taught me that perfection is a type of hysteria, but I still want us to thank the crew that forgives our obsessions and wishes and makes sure everything is executed carefully. We'd like to thank UniCredit Bank, Kaufland, KPMG and all the other partners. Without their support, Leaders for Justice could have never gotten to three cities in just a few days. We'd like to say a big thank you to all those who got on stage today. And we'd like to thank all of you who are here, in this room. You made things a lot easier for us.

One last thought. These days, together with DoR, one of the longest chapters in my life comes to an end and it is by far the most beautiful. This ending has kept me awake for many nights. I've been circling the house, feeling fear, relief, shame, and sadness. However, the most striking feeling was one of immense gratitude. To do what you like, just the way you like it, for 13 years, is a fantastic privilege and my colleagues and I are grateful. I like to tell stories that are true.

At the age of 41, I know I often tell them for the frightened teenager I used to be who was hiding under the bed to avoid going to school in eleventh grade, so that he wouldn't stammer in front of others and make his teachers call him stupid and his classmates laugh at him. Back then, I thought I was the only one who wasn't good enough. The only one who, sometimes, literally doesn't have a voice. That it would stay that way all my life. And I tried to do justice for him during all these years. In order to do this, we used real stories, such as those you've heard on the stage, too.

The stories are there to help us survive in the fight against your enemies. We tell them in order to find our place in the world. We tell them to find out who we are. That's what we've done for 13 years at DoR: we told stories about who we are. Who we are when we don't use diacritical signs, when we are wronged, because we have the wrong ethnicity, when we leave the country, in order to be able to love someone of the same sex, when our friends die in a club, when our child dies, when a parent dies, when we can't access education, when we can't access medical services, when we can't access justice, when we aren't free, when no one believes us, when our family is a violent space, when our city threatens to fall on our heads, when we choose to remain naive, when we ignore the children, when we are the best tennis player in the world, when we are the fastest swimmer, when we listen, when we create, when we want a planet that is more just, when we have courage, when we build, when we ask for dignity for others, when we give up, when we start again. When we leave something behind.

 I hope for two things: the courage for new initiatives, made with care, with caution, and the faith that there is someone, somewhere, that needs your story, and who will feel less lonely when he hears it. Thank you.



The People of Justice 2022 shows were produced alongside Decât o Revistă, a team of journalists who believe in the transformational power of stories.

Together with over 1,000 viewers, we imagined what a more just Romania could look like through vulnerability, empathy and the power of example. In each city we brought on stage lawyers, journalists, civic activists and artists whose true stories about justice: how we achieve it, what it means for justice, education, the healthcare system or our cities.

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