"Courage and Joy"
On 15 January, the consultative status of ILGA with the Council of Europe (CoE), granted in October 1997, becomes effective. It is agreed with ILGA that ILGA-Europe would be in charge of all activities related to this status. Nigel Warner and Nico Beger are appointed ILGA-Europe’s representatives to the CoE. In September, they participate, for the first time, in the autumn session of the Parliamentary Assembly.
In March, ILGA-Europe becomes a member of the Platform of European Social NGOs (Social Platform). This is the start of fruitful and successful networking and co-operation with NGOs at the European level. It also marks the start of the LGBT equality agenda being integrated into a horizontal approach to non-discrimination, multiple discrimination and human rights.
First EU funded project – “Equality for Lesbians and Gay Men – A relevant issue in the civil and social dialogue” – is carried out: As part of it, two one-day meetings are held in Brussels (on 25 May and 30 November): ILGA-Europe invites representatives of other European social and human rights NGOs to discuss future co-operation in combating discrimination and fighting for social inclusion and human rights. Mark Bell is hired as an expert.
The report emanating from this project is published first in English and presented at the 2nd European Social Policy Forum in Brussels, 24-26 June.
13 July: For the first time, ILGA-Europe meets with representatives of the EU Presidency.Austria holding the Presidency, the meeting takes place in Vienna. Meetings with the EU Presidencies become a routine in the future.
On 17 September the European Parliament adopts a resolution “on equal rights for gays and lesbians in the EU” drafted by ILGA-Europe. The EP states “that it will not give its consent to the accession of any country that (…)
violates the human rights of lesbians and gay men”. This resolution is instrumental in the repeal of all anti-homosexual criminal law provisions in the six countries concerned before their accession to the EU.
The series of meetings with representatives of the European Commission to discuss ILGA-Europe’s Action Plan “24 ideas for European Commission-led initiatives” continues. Alberto Volpato is again representing ILGA-Europe in many of these meetings.
ILGA’s secretaries-general Jennifer Wilson and Jordi Petit and ILGA-Europe co-chair Kurt Krickler meet with Mary Robinson, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, in Geneva on 8 October.
ILGA-Europe joins the Pink Triangle Coalition – An International Coalition for Coordinating Affairs Related to the Nazi Persecution of Gay Men and Lesbians, established in Berlin in February. The main purpose of the PTC is to represent the gay and lesbian interest and concerns vis-à-vis recently established funds for victims of the Holocaust/Shoah.
Annual Conference in Linz, Austria
The conference (theme “Courage and Joy”, 21-25 October) is organised by Homosexuelle Initiative (HOSI) Linz, and attracts around 100 delegates from 27 countries, including many from Eastern Europe supported by HOSI Linz’s considerable scholarship programme. The conference receives strong political support: The Federal President of Austria sends greetings, the honorary patronage is assumed by the country’s second highest personality, the President of the Parliament, and three government members, including the Federal Chancellor. It is the first time in ILGA history that a head of government is honorary patron of a conference. Representing the chancellor, Barbara Prammer, Federal Minister for Women’s Affairs, is the main speaker at a reception of the governor of Upper Austria and the mayor of Linz. Various other members of the Austrian Parliament take part in the conference, including Irmtraut Karlsson who, in 1997, had tabled a motion for a resolution “on the situation of lesbian/gay couples with regard to asylum and migration” at the Council of Europe.
The conference also decides to launch ILGA-Europe’s “Sink Schwimmer Campaign” (see under 1999).
A new board is elected: Nico Beger (Germany), Adrian Relu Coman (Romania), Tatjana Greif (Slovenia), Steffen Jensen (Denmark), Kurt Krickler (Austria), Jackie Lewis (United Kingdom), Alberto Volpato (Belgium/Italy) and Maren Wuch (Germany).
Reserves: Christine Kirchberger (Austria), Luis Morais, Teresa Tavares and António Serzedelo (all Portugal).