Politics for Change
From Words into Action
This year’s conference will bring us to Brussels, and as such provide a unique opportunity to put out a loud call for action towards politicians, institutions, partners and other allies. Just ahead of the European Parliament elections and in the heart of Brussels, we are inviting everyone to embark with us on our journey to LGBTI equality and human rights in Europe and Central Asia.
In recent years, LGBTI movements have rethought strategies, adapted to changing environments and geared up to work in new realities. Facing the challenges of rising populism, growing opposition, increased insecurity for our movements, we have started to look into the mirror years ago to reflect on our strengths and weaknesses and to adapt our approaches. We have developed new strategies that are making us stronger every day. Our movements are becoming more and more diverse and activists in Europe and Central Asia are pursuing their work by changing the very fabrics of their organising.
LGBTI activists in Europe and Central Asia are leading change in ways that create sustainable change in the longer run. Change that is not just for today, but also for future generations. The very product of the work carried by activists throughout our regions is ILGA-Europe and the way in which it aims to be at the forefront of leading change. In difficult times, we have risen up. We are strong and more ready than ever before to address today’s challenges.
- Our movements have developed new strategies and new approaches to affect change. We know that how we once did our work is not the same way in which we do our work tomorrow. We have learned new skills, obtained new knowledge and started new partnerships.
- We have become more diverse. More people of faith, LGBTI Roma and many others have joined our movements, just like we have seen an incredible rise in trans and intersex activism. More and more companies are working with us and other allies are increasingly reaching out to us as well. We learned that endeavours to become more inclusive are successful when we truly take into account each other’s needs.
- We are rethinking about how improving our internal governance systems can keep us better accountable to those that we represent. The people that we represent are getting every more closely involved in the work that we do and the decisions that are taken that concern them. We recognize that democracy is a constant work in progress.
- ILGA-Europe has expanded its mandate by including Central Asia in our work, because activists from the region saw that their future is with us. ILGA-Europe now works in 54 countries. Once Brexit happens, we work in 27 EU Member States and 27 other countries.
- ILGA-Europe as international organisation hasn’t shrunk, but grown. We have tried hard to focus our work on the real needs of the movements we work with, we have listened and developed new areas of work that respond to those needs. This is the result of people believing in diversity, international cooperation and that creating change can only be done together.
What the 2018 ILGA-Europe Annual Conference is all about…
- The conference is an agenda-setting moment for European LGBTI movements. This is the moment every year when the LGBTI movements identify priorities for the coming year and strengthen effectiveness in bringing change that matters to LGBTI people.
- The conference connects activists and enablers of change. This year, the conference will take place in the heart of Europe, amidst European Union institutions. This is why we will focus on connecting political institutions to people. Our conference will be an important moment in shaping the agenda for the European Parliament elections in 2019. It will be also an opportunity to connect the LGBTI movements with other important allies, such as private sector and other civil society partners.
- The conference is about building on our diversity. The conference creates spaces for the wide diversity of voices from our movements to be heard, and enables important conversations about how we use our diversity as one of our greatest strengths. It is a space to find ever better ways of working, in full solidarity with each other. We bring understanding each other’s needs at the core of change making, because it influences the way in which we talk to each other, the way in which priorities are set and the way in which politics are shaped.
- The conference is a place to get inspiration and to be empowered. It is where you can come to get energy to continue the work towards more and better change. Change doesn’t happen overnight, it takes courage and inspiration. Change can be inspired and fuelled by positive stories and by using our energy to focus on areas of common ground.