LGBTI equality and human rights in Europe and Central Asia

April 2019

Annual Conference registrations and calls, over 600 signatures for the Come Out Pledge, 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. 283. April 2019. In this issue...




Freedom of assembly

Freedom of expression

Hate crime

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Get your tickets for the 2019 European Equality Gala

Across Europe and Central Asia, LGBTI activists are making change happen – from influencing policy-makers to providing services to the community, and from organising Prides and responding to crisis. This is your chance to fuel the movement. In addition to supporting LGBTI equality, your gala ticket includes a welcome glass of bubbly, a Syrian dinner by WeExist and music by DJ Azo guaranteed to keep the dancefloor full. This is your chance to make a difference!
Buy your ticket and join us at AREA 42 in Brussels from 19:00 on Thursday 27 June 2019.

Help us shape the programme of the Annual Conference 2019 in Prague

You can register for the conference by 3 September


The conference is an agenda-setting moment for the European LGBTI movements. ILGA-Europe offer the platform, but we need each and every one of you to help in making the conference a success! We welcome your ideas for workshops, consultations or other programme elements that speak to the conference theme and are relevant for a wide variety of activists. Deadline for programme contributions is Friday 7 June. Make proposals to the programme.
Make proposals to the programme.
Register for the conference.

Apply for a scholarship to the Conference and spread the word

Participants in our past conferences say that the ILGA-Europe Annual Conference is the most impactful event of the year they take part in. ILGA-Europe wish to enable more activists to benefit from this opportunity and this is why we offer scholarships for activists who would otherwise be unable to participate for financial reasons. Deadline for scholarship application is Friday 7 June.
Read more and apply for scholarships.

Support us financially to make the Conference a success

There are different ways to help make the Annual Conference a success for LGBTI activists across Europe and Central Asia. Supporting us financially can help us bring more activists to the conference and create larger impact. Whether it is by supporting activists to participate in the conference; sponsoring the conference or helping us to cover programmatic costs: your support is welcome. Contact us to discuss the different ways in which you can help, for instance by contributing to the Diversity Fund, offering sponsorship, or any other support efforts.
Support our Diversity Fund.



ComeOut Pledge has reached over 600 signatures

With less than one month to go, ILGA-Europe have received over 600 signatures from EU elections candidates across 25 member states for our ComeOut pledge. The pledge asks EU candidates to commit to protecting, supporting and advancing progress on human rights and LGBTI equality. Common Candidates came out and signed our pledge this month also – including Greens leaders Ska Keller and Bas Eickhout, Socialists and Democrats leader Frans Timmermans and ALDE Team Europa candidate Nicola Beer.
Visit our interactive webpage for the signatories of the Come Out Pledge.
Follow the hashtag #ComeOut4EU on social media.

2014-2019: What the European Parliament has achieved so far and what has still to be done

As the European Parliament’s legislative term came to an end on 18 April, ILGA-Europe extends our thanks our to MEP allies – most notably those of the LGBTI Intergroup - and fellow LGBTI activists that have worked tirelessly over the last 5 years alongside us to ensure the advancement of human rights of all LGBTI people in the European Union and beyond. This mandate saw working to secure the right of free movement for all LGBTI people and their families, the first resolution on intersex rights, approving a list of key LGBTI actions for the next term, and much more.
Read what the European Parliament has achieved so far and what has still to be done.

Tools, inspirations, and good practices for LGBTI organisations around elections

With the European Elections approaching at a fast pace, our campaign activities are picking up speed! In April, we hosted the European elections series of webinars providing tools, inspirations and good practices to support LGBTI organisations’ work around elections. You can watch three webinar sessions on our website before developing your elections campaign narratives.
Watch the webinars online.



Court rules in favor a trans women in Russia in employment case


Freedom of assembly

European Lesbian* Conference took place in Kyiv

The Second European Lesbian* Conference was held between 11 to 14 April in Kyiv, the capital city of Ukraine with around 300 participants from Europe and Central Asia. Although there were protesters from far-right and religious groups outside the conference venue who tried to block the access to the hotel, break into the premises and throw tear gas canisters, they were held back by the police. The Conference called for more inclusive societies across Europe and Central Asia and the protection of human rights, without stigma, sexual, domestic and reproductive violence and discrimination.

State of emergency ban on LGBTI events in Ankara has been lifted

Kaos GL and Pink Life NGOs in Turkey, successfully challenged the ban on LGBTI events in Ankara, which was introduced under the state of emergency. On 19 April, the Ankara 12th Regional Administrative Court lifted the blanket ‘state of emergency’ ban on LGBTI events in the city. Although the state of emergency is over, the Ankara Governorate sent a second ban to police department on 3 October 2018. Kaos GL brought the ban to trial and judicial process continues.

Stand in solidarity with LGBTI+ students at Middle East Technical University in Ankara

The LGBTI+ students group from the Middle East Technical University (METU) in Ankara is calling for international mobilisation to ensure that their annual Pride march on the University campus take place in peace on 10 May. Although a local court lifted the blanket ‘state of emergency’ ban on LGBTI events in Ankara, the Pride march on campus is at serious risk of being banned. It is up to the university’s rector, Prof Mustafa Verşan Kök to ensure the safety of the march. In such a crucial moment for the LGBTI+ communities in Turkey, ILGA-Europe stand in solidarity with the students of METU, in their efforts to organise a LGBTI+ pride march.

Freedom of expression

Dangerous calls for an “LGBT propaganda” law in Kyrgyzstan

On 19 April, in the Kyrgyz capital Bishkek, the representatives of the so-called ‘International Assembly of Youth’ gave a media-conference calling the Members of the Kyrgyz Parliament, Interior Ministry and Prosecutor General to ban “propaganda of LGBT” in the country. According to the organisation, “LGBT people do not conform to traditions of Kyrgyzstan, they halt the country’s development and with only 6 million population, Kyrgyzstan could soon disappear”. The media-conference was organized in light of the rumours that LGBTI activists would join the march in occasion of the International Labour Day traditionally marked in Kyrgyzstan on May 1. A bill to ban “gay propaganda”, similar to that one adopted in Russia, was first initiated by the Kyrgyz Parliament in 2014 and has since been pending the third reading due to pressure from local human rights activists and international community.
Read more in Russian.

Hate crime

Anti-trans backlash and hate speech in Armenia

A wave of transphobia spurred in the Armenian society after Lilit Martirosyan - President of the NGO Right Side, spoke on behalf of the Armenian trans community and highlighted transphobic incidences targeting trans people for the first time in the Armenian Parliament on 5 April. The Chairperson of the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Protection of Human Rights and Public Affairs - Naira Zohrabyan condemned the speech, qualifying it as ‘a disgrace and as being disrespectful towards her personally and towards the parliament’. Death threats to activists followed the public incident installing fear in community members. Hate crimes and the death threats were reported to police and are currently investigated.

Police raid into a gay club in Ukraine

On the night from 19 to 20 April, the police in Dnipro, Ukraine burst into a local gay club “Potemkin”. The police raid and the shocking revelation of the ‘grounds’ for it demonstrate that it is high time for Ukraine to take concrete measures against bias-motivated violence and anti-LGBTI discrimination. Despite the progress that the country has made on some fronts, lack of a comprehensive approach and a real commitment to advancing equal rights allow for continuous and wide-spread violence and abuse against (perceived) LGBTI persons.

Homophobic attacks continue in Uzbekistan

A 32 year-old gay man was attacked by a group of homophobes in the Uzbek province of Samarkand in April 2019, according to the Radio Free Europe / the Uzbek Service. The victim had been chatting with one of his perpetrators for two months on one of the Russian based social media (popular for LGBTI dating in Central Asia) before he was lured into a set-up date. When the victim came, he was forced into a car by a group of homophobes and was brought to a canal where he was undressed, beaten and video-taped naked. The victim managed to escape by jumping into the canal and risking his life. He could not go to the police and report the attack since same-sex relations in Uzbekistan are punishable by jail-term according to the Criminal Code.


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Follow LGBTI news from Asia with ILGA-Asia’s newsletter

ILGA-Asia is one of the regional organisations of ILGA-World working on equality and human rights for LGBTI people in Asia. They share LGBTI related news from Asia every month with their newsletter, Rainbow News. If you are interested in the or Asian LGBTI movement, you should definitely sign up to read the Rainbow News from Asia.
Sign up for the monthly newsletter Rainbow News.
Read the latest edition of Rainbow News for April 2019.

Social Platform is looking for a Policy and Advocacy Coordinator

Social Platform is looking for a Policy and Advocacy Coordinator to join its Secretariat in Brussels. The post holder will oversee their own policy and advocacy portfolio, as well as coordinate and supervise the work of Policy Officers within the team. Application deadline is Wednesday 16 May at 17:00 CEST. CVs and cover letters should be sent to
Read more and apply 16 May.

Two open positions at

The Fondation Internationale pour les Défenseurs des Droits de L’Homme (FIDDH) - Secretariat of is currently recruiting a Programme Officer and a Finance Officer. The successful candidate will play a crucial role in the implementation of the project Comprehensive Support to Human Rights Defenders in Turkey. Both persons will be based in secretariat in Brussels and would have the necessary permit to work in the EU.
Read more and apply before 3 May.

‘The Transgender: Intersectional/International Conference’ to take place in UK between 28-29 May

‘The Transgender: Intersectional/International Conference’ is a multidisciplinary international conference bringing together trans, non-binary and gender diverse people and allies, for dialogues between researchers, activists, practitioners and artists between 28-29 May 2019 at the University of Edinburgh. Speakers will include Mauro Cabral Grinspan (GATE), Professor Stephen Whittle (Manchester Metropolitan University) and B Camminga (Wits University), author of Transgender Refugees and the Imagined South Africa. The conference is led by trans researcher and activist Gina Maya Roberts, with an organizing committee from the Universities of Edinburgh, Glasgow and Strathclyde.
A full programme of international speakers is on the website and registration is open.