LGBTI Mediterranean Solidarity and Network conference in Athens, Greece
On 27 May 2011 the ILGA-Europe Solidarity and Network conference took place in Athens, Greece. Activists from Mediterranean LGBTI organisations participated - Malta, Turkey, Greece, Albania and Cyprus.
Olke, the Lesbian Gay Community of Greece, was the local organiser of the conference.
By Konstantina Kosmidou, OLKE
The first Mediterranean Network took place in Cyprus in December and the participants were from 6 organisations, and the second in Greece with the participation of 22 organisations.
From Malta the participations were: Aditus, Drachma, MGRM.
From Cyprus, Accept, Hoki and Family Planning Association.
From Turkey, Lamba Istanbul, Pink Life, Black Pink Triangle, Kaos, Lamba Family Group.
From Albania, Alliance Against Discrimination and Pink Embassy.
Finally from Greece were all the organizations together for the first time in a conference, like Partnership for Gender Issues, Lesbian Group of Athens, Olke, Teachers against Homophobia, Colouryouth, Transgender Association, and Athens Pride.
The participants worked together on five different themes in workshops, like:
1) The role of civil society in support of Lgbti rights in the Mediterranean,
2) The role of the EU institutions in advancing Lgbti equality,
3) The LGBTI rights are human rights,
4) Advocating for Trans Equality
5) Hate speech - hate crimes.
The idea behind this network was to share good practices and discuss common issues on those mediterranean countries where the Lgbti rights are not equal, especially compares to West and North EU countries. For that reason has been decided to team up with similar groups and work together during the next year.
They can also share with partner organisations until next meeting a work plan, annual reports, advocacy material, contacts, practical experience, research tools, resources related to family and LGBTI issues.
The workshops helped the participants to share their personal experiences and LGBTI work about the themes of the workshops. They have also decided that they would like to work more on issues like homophobia in schools, recognition of same-sex couples, coming out, establishing parents support groups and cultural events.
The groups expected to provide some form of feedback every 3 months to the steering committee; witch has decided to exist, because the idea initially is that the network should be self-run away from ILGA-Europe. The steering committee consisting to every representative from each country.
Next year, the workshops will be more skills-oriented and will less focus on the development of the network. The participants have decided that the next conference should provide with some trainings on the following skills:
- Advocacy skills (including analysis of opposition)
- Training within the organisation
- Project development
The next solidarity network conference will take place in Istanbul next year with all the organisations that they were in Greece, if this will be possible.
They all had a nice time in Athens, with full of emotions and experiences witch they will take back home to share them with their friends and other members of their organisations!