Rainbow Digest April 2022

Shelters need support in Ukraine, UK drops plans to ban conversion therapy, and much more…


Help transform realities for LGBTI communities across Europe and Central Asia.With your support we can do more. Make change happen here.

No. 319. April 2022. In this issue…



Equality and non-discrimination


Freedom of expression

Hate speech


Human rights defenders


Sexual and reproductive rights

Notice board

To the top


LGBTI shelters need urgent support, medication continues to be a major issue and more

On 15 April, we published a blog post with our latest update on what’s happening for LGBTI people either staying in or fleeing Ukraine, the ways we’re working to help, and how you can urgently help too. Two months after the Russian invasion began, many shelters for LGBTI people in Ukraine are running out of necessities. Trans and intersex people in Ukraine continue to experience difficulties accessing the medications they urgently need, as are people living with HIV. Particular attention continues to be paid to the situation of trans people who are in Ukraine.
Read more on our blog post.

Contacts if you are an LGBTI person fleeing Ukraine

We are constantly updating a list of organisations who are reaching out to help LGBTI refugees from Ukraine landing in countries across Europe. If you are an LGBTI person fleeing Ukraine, the webpage shows a list of contacts you can get in touch with.
Read more about the groups you can support in Ukraine.

Temporary protection and LGBTI people in EU member states

On 4 March, the Council of the EU adopted a decision to activate the EU Temporary Protection Directive. This is the first time the TPD has been activated since its adoption in the aftermath of the Yugoslav war. As organisations reach out to help LGBTI people who have fled Ukraine, some specific limitations to the TPD are being identified.
Read more on our briefing note.

PACE general rapporteur expresses deep concern for the rights of LGBTI people in or fleeing Ukraine

Christophe Lacroix, the General Rapporteur of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) on the rights of LGBTI people issued a statement saying “I am deeply concerned about the safety of LGBTI people in the context of Russia’s armed aggression against Ukraine.” He adds that LGBTI people in and fleeing Ukraine must be considered and protected.
Read the full statement.

The situation for lesbian women in and from Ukraine

Like all members of the LGBTI community who have either remained in Ukraine, or are on the move to a safer place, lesbians are facing specific challenges and needs. To mark the Lesbian Visibility Week, Dragana Todorovic, from the EuroCentralAsian Lesbian* Community, tells us about the work on the frontlines, the needs that are arising, and how you can support.
Read more on our interview.


Call for proposals to support strong communications by LGBTI organisations

We opened a call for proposals for multi-year project grants to support LGBTI organisations in Europe and Central Asia in strengthening their own strategic communication capacities.The aim of these grants is to support organisations to make communications into one of the core functions in their work and to amplify their existing communications skills and experiences. Grantee partners will have access to various learning opportunities and will be asked to share their own learning with ILGA-Europe and with the wider LGBTI movement.
Read more about the call and how to apply before 29 May.

The private sector and LGBTI equality: New podcast mini-series

Our new podcast mini-series was recorded before the war began, but with its deep dive into how actors in the private sector, from big corporates to small and medium businesses, can work with LGBTI organisations to shape a better future for us all, we think it is more important than ever to have this discussion. From making the business case for engagement, to exploring the different ways businesses can work with LGBTI organisations, to a case study in how the coffee giant Starbucks successfully worked with a trans youth organisation to help shift attitudes, this is a series with learnings for both businesses who want to help shape a better world, and LGBTI organisations seeking to work with them.
Listen to the mini-series of podcasts.
Find the previous episodes.

Panel discussion on the rights of LGBTIQ+ people in Ukraine and Europe

On the occasion of IDAHOBIT, on 17 May from 12:00 – 13:30 CET, ILGA-Europe and UNAIDS are hosting an event focusing on the rights of Ukrainian LGBTIQ+ people. The interactive panel session will be moderated by ILGA-Europe’s Senior Policy Officer Cianán Russell to discuss how to better protect the rights of LGBTIQ+ people in Ukraine and Europe. The event will feature the UN Independent Expert on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity as keynote speaker as well as other policy makers and community representatives from Ukraine.
Join the webinar with the passcode 737628.

Equality and non-discrimination

“It is the time for France’s leadership in Europe”

Ahead of the elections in France, on 6 April, ILGA-Europe joined our member organisation Inter-LGBT in calling on French political actors to put human rights and LGBTI equality at the core of their political agenda. The statement says “More than ever it is the time for renewed commitment and leadership in Europe”.

Freedom of expression

Public vote on anti-LGBT legislation was invalidated in Hungary

On 3 April, the same day as the Hungarian general elections, the ruling Fidesz party held a referendum asking the public to validate anti-LGBT legislation that was introduced last year. Orban’s party won the elections, but the referendum was invalidated which shows that many in Hungary are accepting and reject further stigmatisation of LGBTI people. The law, banning the “portrayal and the promotion of gender identity different from sex at birth, the change of sex and homosexuality", was decried by a majority of member states of the European Union, and led the European Commission to take infringement procedures against Hungary.


Step forward on recognition of more than two parents in Denmark

On 3 March, the Danish parliament adopted a bill to amend the Law on Parental Leave. According to these provisions, the two legal parents can decide to share the parental leave with social parents. In the public hearings of the bill, LGBT komiteen criticised the wording in some of the paragraphs, e.g., the use of the term “parent-like relation” for a social parent and “female employee”. The Government agreed on the latter only and made changes to the bill.

Hate speech

The first judgement for discrimination against LGBTI persons in Bosnia and Herzegovina

On 4 April, the Municipal Court in Sarajevo issued a first instance judgement in which discrimination against LGBTI persons was confirmed by a court for the first time in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The judgement refers to a public statement made by a former member of the Sarajevo Canton Assembly, on social media. ”From a legal standpoint, it is critical to develop case law and strengthen legal standards concerning discrimination and hate speech. The Sarajevo Open Centre (SOC) is handling multiple lawsuits before several courts in the country” says Darko Pandurević, Advocacy and Programme Manager at SOC.


UK Government drops plans to ban conversion therapy for trans people

On 4 April, after a government leak indicating that the conversion therapy ban process would not go ahead, the government of the United Kingdom published a statement that says the plans to ban conversion therapy will go ahead, but gender identity will be excluded from any legislative ban. Following this decision, the LGBTI organisations and groups across the UK including Stonewall UK withdrew their support to a governmental conference entitled “Safe To Be Me.” ILGA-Europe joined calls from the UK LGBTI civil society demanding a ban which is fully inclusive of all LGBTI people.  

Community meeting on biomedical HIV prevention

The European AIDS Treatment Group, PrEPster, AVAC, AIDS Action Europe and ECOM are organising a community e-meeting “Developments in the Biomedical HIV Prevention Pipeline & PrEP Implementation Issues – an Update for Community Educators and Advocates”, which will take place on 18 May at 13:00 – 14:30 CET. The e-meeting will provide an update on the latest developments in biomedical HIV prevention research and implementation, new approaches and future challenges. Participants will discuss community preferences, uptake and access issues, as well as advocacy efforts to overcome policy and financial barriers at local, regional and European level.  

Human rights defenders

European Commission takes action on abusive lawsuits against human rights defenders

On 27 April, the European Commission launched an anti-SLAPP initiative which includes key remedies and safeguards needed in any effective anti-SLAPP legislation. The initiative, which focuses on cross-border cases, is a crucial first step forward in the fight against abusive lawsuits against public watchdogs in Europe. The abusive lawsuits are used against LGBTI activists, among many others, to silence their activism.


New academic journal focusing on Roma LGBTI people was published

On 20 April, the Critical Romani Studies, an international, interdisciplinary, double blind peer-reviewed journal, published a new issue that focuses on Roma LGBTI, feminist movement and scholarship. The thematic issue talks about a range of subjects such as representations of Romani queer and feminist identities, intersectional inequalities, and violence as well as art and litrature reviews.

New report on sex work and racism

On 13 April, European Sex Workers' Rights Alliance (ESWA) published a new community report that gives historical overview of racism in anti-sex work, anti-trafficking, & anti-immigration laws and policies in Europe. ESWA conducted a literature review on the history of sexualised racism in the European context and racism in global and national sex work policies and laws.

Sexual and reproductive rights

Join the research study on transmasculine people and sexual health

GATE and Columbia University are conducting a research study about transmasculine people and sexual health to learn about transmasculine people’s access to sexual health services and gender-affirmative care. In addition, the study aims to explore whether transmasculine people are interested in using PrEP, whether they have access to it, and where they would prefer to receive PrEP-related services. The survey takes approximately 10-15 minutes to complete.  

Notice board

EPATH holds a summer school on transgender health

European Professional Association for Transgender Health (EPATH) calls for applications for their first summer school about transgender health which will take place from 28 June – 1 July 2022, at Ghent University in Belgium. The seasonal school ‘Transgender Health: Interdisciplinary Approaches’ deals with the multidisciplinary approaches to the social, mental and physical well-being of transgender and gender diverse persons. Clinicians, other researchers and professionals, and students are encouraged to apply.
Read more and apply before 30 April.

Astraea seeks a consultant for a research on LGBQTI organising in Central Asia and the Caucasus

The Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice is seeking a research consultant(s) to conduct a Landscape Analysis. The focus of research will be to provide a legal, political, social and cultural context analysis as well as a movement analysis of LGBQTI organising in Central Asia and the Caucasus, particularly organising led by LBQTI communities. Astrea encourages LBTQI, BIPOC, young activists/researchers as well as research teams who are based in either/both of the research focus subregions (Central Asia and South Caucasus) to apply.
Read more and apply before 20 May.

New call for proposals to support strategic litigation on digital rights

The Digital Freedom Fund will open their next call for grant applications on 23 May and run until 1 July. You can submit applications for litigation track support or pre-litigation research. You can join two informal sessions about the call on 24 May or 9 June. The grantmaking process aims to support strategic litigation on digital rights in Europe that contributes to advancing human rights in the digital context.

Systemic Justice recruits a Head of Communications

Systemic Justice is looking for a Head of Communications to help them radically transform how the law works for communities fighting for racial, social, and economic justice. The Head of Communications will be part of Systemic Justice’s group of founding individuals and help shape its vision from the beginning. It is a full-time 1 year consultancy, with a remote work possibility.

Institute for the Study of Human Rights accepts applications for the Human Rights Advocates Program

The Institute for the Study of Human Rights (ISHR) opened the application for the 2022-23 Human Rights Advocates Program, which leverages the resources of Columbia University and those offered by NYC as a hub of NGOs and international organisations to provide human rights advocates with academic, skill-building, mentoring, and networking opportunities. The Program is designed for human rights activists working with NGOs on issues including sexual and gender-based violence, minority rights, LGBTQI+ rights, labor rights, indigenous peoples' rights, migration, health, social exclusion, environmental justice, disability rights, and corporate social accountability.

IGLYO organises a strategic messaging webinar

IGLYO is organising a webinar on strategic communications on 19 May at 13:00 CET. In the webinar, there will be opportunities to learn about reframing narratives to empower our communities, values-based communication, and testing messages. The webinar will also include hands-on exercises for participants to practice these skills.