European Region of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association

‘United in Diversity’ is the theme of ILGA’s European annual conference this October in Paris

Next week delegates from all over Europe will gather in Paris between 26 and 30 of October for the 27 th ILGA European annual conference.

Traditionally ILGA’s European conference is a great opportunity for ILGA members in Europe to share experiences, knowledge, skills, to plan and coordinate joint campaigns and projects, to learn about the latest ups and downs on the road to equality. This conference is also a place and a time for ILGA-Europe’s members to discuss various organisational issues, to evaluate the organisation’s strategic objectives and to elect a new board.

Since last year’s conference in Budapest there have been many significant developments in Europe. One of the most exciting events was the adoption of the same-sex marriage law in Spain which proved that Roman Catholic roots and heritage is not a barrier for building an inclusive and equal society. Swiss voters also approved the same-sex registered partnership law in a national referendum, the first of such kind in the world. New laws recognising same-sex partnerships were passed in Andorra, Slovenia and the UK also.

ILGA-Europe continued taking a more prominent role as one of the key players in human rights discourse in Europe. We provided substantial contribution to the formation of the EU’s Fundamental Rights Agency and organised successful human rights monitoring seminars for our members.

During the last year ILGA-Europe produced four publications – report on the criminalisation of same-sex acts in third countries, report on equality in employment, and two guidelines on the EU directives on free movement and asylum. We were successful in cooperating with the EU’s Parliament Intergroup on Lesbian and Gay Rights and achieved the adoption of several amendments dealing with human rights and equality in and outside the EU by the Parliament.

Sadly, during the last year we witnessed some less positive developments. The European Constitution, which if adopted would have become the first international treaty explicitly banning sexual orientation discrimination, faced serious challenges and its future now is very uncertain. We also witnessed a wave of increased homophobia and hate speech in Europe. In several Eastern European countries lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people experienced serious violation of their right to assembly and were subjected to massive hatred from some politicians, religious leaders and extremist organisations. We are very concerned with the raise of conservatism in this part of Europe.

All these and many other topics will be thoroughly discussed during the conference in Paris.

The conference will be hosted by a collaborative team of French LGBT organisations. We are pleased that our conference is helping national LGBT organisations to find a way for closer cooperation and promoting their interest and involvement in international solidarity. There are two pre-conferences, one on AIDS and Homosexuality and the other on LGBT parenting, and other LGBT events taking place just before and during our conference which would also help the local groups to attract greater visibility and interest from the media and general society.

The Paris conference organisers have done great work preparing the conference, organising fundraising and an interesting and intriguing social programme.

More information about our conference is available on our website: www.ilga-europe.org > About us > Annual conference.

For more information please contact

Juris Lavrikovs at + 32 2 609 54 16 / + 32 496 708 375

Notes to editors:

1. ILGA-Europe is the European region of the International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA) and works towards lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality at European level.

2. More information about the LGBT Parenting pre-conference at: www.conference-apgl.org

3. More information about the second pre-conference on AIDS and Homosexuality on the Paris conference team’s website: www.ilgaeuropeparis2005.org.