“Coming Out to the EU” is the theme of ILGA’s European annual conference this October in Budapest
On 27-31 October 2004, more than 200 activists from all over Europe will gather in Budapest for the 26 th ILGA European Conference.
The conference is a unique opportunity to share experiences, knowledge, and skills, to plan and coordinate joint campaigns and projects, to learn about the latest developments in the struggle for equality and justice. The conference will be greeted by Ms Kinga Göncz, the Hungarian Minister of Equal Opportunities and a representative of the Dutch EU Presidency.
Europe has witnessed fundamental changes over the past few years. Undoubtedly one of the key developments has been the enlargement of the European Union and the strengthening of its relationships to neighbouring regions. To mark this transition and to ensure the continued visibility of LGBT people, ILGA-Europe has decided to host this conference in Hungary, in co-operation with Háttér Support Society for LGBT People.
This is an important moment to shape the EU’s future policy in the field of equality and non-discrimination. Although in the EU, existing legislation requires member states to ban sexual orientation discrimination in employment, there are still problems with the implementation of this directive. Delegates from the EU member states will debate how to ensure this legislation is transposed and, most importantly, implemented in practice. It is important that laws are passed, but it is equally important that employers are familiar with new requirements and LGBT employees are fully aware of their new rights. Earlier this year, the European Commission published a Green Paper on the Future of Non-Discrimination and Equality in the EU (2007-2013). The outcome of the debate of this paper will define the directions of the future of non-discrimination policies in the EU and in Europe at large.
The Budapest conference is also a great opportunity for activists from non-EU countries to gather and discuss situations in their countries and work on possible solutions to improve the situation for LGBT people. For the first time in the history of ILGA European conferences, there will be delegates from such countries as Monte Negro, Kosovo, Lebanon and Kyrgyzstan. Issues such as HIV/AIDS prevention, strengthening human rights organisations, and addressing homophobic violence are among the most immediate concerns to be discussed. Other themes include working with political parties, school tolerance projects, transgender issues, religious groups, fundraising, lobbying the United Nations, organising social life outside of big cities, lesbian and bisexual women’s movement in Eastern Europe to name a few. All these and many other issues will be debated during plenary sessions, workshops, and caucuses.
This year, the conference is taking place in a wonderful city of Budapest which is known for its hospitality and beauty. Háttér Support Society for LGBT People , which hosts the conference, has also prepared a colourful social programme for the delegates including the city tour, women’s disco and a dinner on the Danube. More information about the conference is available at our website: www.ilga-europe.org