There are barriers to participation and visibility of lesbian, bisexual, trans and intersex women (LBTI) women in the LGBTI movement, which also causes a lack of representation. We have heard this message loud and clear – now it is time for all of us to tackle these obstacles together.
Most of us have grown up under the shadow of gender norms and power structures. Our actions can cement gender norms further, even accidentally. The good news is that everyone can make a difference on International Women’s Day, whether we identify as women or not.
We Can Do It - together!
The little things you can do to make a difference
Activists from across Europe have agreed to share their own personal stories. Their words should not just inspire, but motivate us all to start taking the steps needed to create change today.
Watch their videos, read the opinion pieces, recite the poetry. Join us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and tell us how you will work #Together4LBTIWomen
Evelyne on We Can Do It - Together
Evelyne Paradis, Executive Director ILGA-Europe, take stock of the campaign and why it needed to focus on barriers to participation and the visibility of lesbian, bisexual, trans and intersex women (LBTI) women in the LGBTI movement.
If you want to show your support for all women in the LBTI movement, why not strike a pose and spread the word?
What is it all about?
Watch 3 min with Joyce Hamilton & Paulo Côrte-Real, Co-Chairs of ILGA-Europe, on the little things you can do to make a difference for lesbian, bisexual, trans and intersex women in the LGBTI movement.
John Fisher, Co-Director ARC International
Maria Kozlovskaya, Russian activist
"I joined the Russian LGBT movement in 2010. It was during the second QueerFest in Saint-Petersburg organized by the Coming Out LGBT group. I read on my social networks that the venue for the festival had terminated the contract and QueerFest needed to find a venue for the opening ceremony and a photo exhibition. Being a corporate lawyer, I understood they should bring this case to court, so I contacted Coming Out and offered my assistance. After that, I started helping them with legal consultations for LGBT people and by writing requests to government bodies."
"As I see it, nowadays in Russia, the LGBT movement consists mostly of women but is frequently led by men. Sadly Russian society is sexist and LGBT-community is no exception. It makes LBTIQ-women invisible and less important. And LBTIQ-women sometimes take it as normal and common - it's hard to break this wall."
"A few months ago at the annual conference of Russian LGBT Network, I introduced an amendment on gender balance on the board. It was sad that some women said ‘we don't need gender balance’ and voted against it. Initiatives to create safe spaces for LBTIQ-women, as well as to address women-specific issues in the public sphere, often face criticism and even opposition from some members of LGBTI communities."
"Looking to fill these gaps, me and my colleague from Coming Out started a new initiative for LBTIQ-women."
Malin Björk, Member of the European Parliament (GUE/NGL, Sweden)
Marta Gianello Guida, Italian activist
||"I found the courage to go to the gay organization in Padova, my hometown. I spent one or two months outside the office of the organization, on the other side of the street, waiting. Then, one day I knew I had waited enough and I entered." "I started from the very beginning to be an activist in the organization. I was the youngest and I was the only girl." "I’ve always been strongly convinced that the type of activism that I wanted to be part of was a mixed one; boys and girls together. I think that it is important to recognise our differences, but I don’t think that we have to make them our boxes, mutually used to exclude each other from each other’s battle." "The same patriarchal gender dynamics that happen between heterosexual men and women often occur also in the LGBTI world. Men are often in charge. Men often command. Men often have more power." "...it is important for each of us that are part of this movement to give the other the opportunity to understand... the difficulties we are facing...I just feel this is a process of mutual understanding that can break the boxes and the stereotypes."
Arja Voipio, Co-Chair Transgender Europe
Susanne te Braak, Dutch activist
Søren Laursen, Chair LGBT Denmark
You identify as woman. I identify as man.
You are LBTI. I am GBTI.
We are non-cis-hetero. Most are not.
You have problems. I have problems.... wrong!
You have problems. We have problems.
I have problems. We have problems.
Our problems are not the same. The reasons behind them are.
Can we manage that mindset, we can manage our efforts.
We must take the responsibility, you and I.
We must do the work, you and I.
Fran Cowling, NUS LGBT Officer (Women's Place)
||"The National Union of Students (NUS) LGBT campaign has a long history of challenging sexism within the LGBT movement… and championing intersectionality within our own movement. This means that there are reserved places for specific groups within the LGBT community on the national NUS LGBT committee: trans, bi, black, disabled, international, women etc. There are two national officer positions; one reserved for ‘self-defining women’ and one reserved as an ‘open place’." "… one of the biggest barriers I have faced is trying to justify why my role exists as a reserved place for women in the first place and why LGBTQIA Women still have a big fight on their hands for equality and recognition in leadership roles." "Initially and when I first entered my role I would approach this kind of issue with anger and often argue back but this often just escalated the situation…Now I try to engage those who do not believe my role should exist by challenging the stereotypical ideas they have about LGBTQIA women." "Leadership isn’t about being chosen, it’s about standing up and be counted when it matters. You may not feel like a leader right now but you will find yourself along the way as long as you stay true to who you are and what you believe."