LGBTI equality and human rights in Europe and Central Asia

December 2019

Opportunities at ILGA-Europe, EP's  historic resolution, Court support for minor's LGR in Spain, 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. 291. December 2019. In this issue...


Bodily integrity

Equality and non-discrimination


Freedom of expression

Hate speech and hate crime


Legal gender recognition

Notice board


Make a New Year’s resolution for LGBTI equality

Across Europe and Central Asia, the LGBTI movement has celebrated many victories this year, from first Prides to legal victories. But at the same time we see forces working to limit our rights and deny equality. We need your support as we continue to work to bring about political change and legal victories, and empower activists across the region to fight against the rise of the far right and anti-LGBTI hatred.
Visit our website to take a look back on 2019 and set up a monthly donation of any size to support our work throughout 2020.

Apply now for consultancies at ILGA-Europe

ILGA-Europe has shared two new vacancies this month: We are looking for a person who can guide and steer the last phases of the development of the online resource hub and another person who would step in and support the membership with strategic communications during the temporary absence of our Senior Campaign and Programmes Officer.
Apply here for the consultancy to develop the online resource hub (Deadline is 23 January).
Apply here for the consultancy to support ILGA-Europe’s movement building work on strategic communications (Deadline is 7 January).

Join us for the webinar on the results of strategic communications needs assessment

ILGA-Europe conducted a strategic communications needs assessment to better understand how communications are currently being used, as well as the communications needs and capabilities of LGBTI organisations in Europe and Central Asia. On Monday 3 February, we will host a webinar on the results of the needs assessment that will inform ILGA-Europe’s capacity building work and donor funding strategies in the coming years. Speakers include George Perlov, Principal at George Perlov Consulting, Greg Czarnecki, Programme Officer at Open Society Foundation, Laura Piazza, Senior Campaign and Programmes Officer at ILGA-Europe, and Bjorn Van Roozendaal, Programmes Director at ILGA-Europe.
Read more about the interactive webinar.
Register here to attend it or receive the recording in your mailbox.

Stronger Together: Reporting on the ILGA-Europe Conference, Prague 2019


#DisRainbow: International Day of Persons with Disabilities

D/deaf and disabled LGBTI people face specific barriers and challenges when accessing human rights and most D/deaf and disabled LGBTI people continue to be marginalized in LGBTI movements across Europe and Central Asia. On 3 December, the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, we have celebrated the activism of D/deaf and disabled LGBTI people in our communities, organisations and spaces. The participants in the first ILGA-Europe gathering of D/deaf and Disabled LGBTI Activists shared messages under the hashtag #DisRainbow and a GIF with the hand sign for "disability-rainbow" that was repeated by many on social media.
Have a look at the #DisRainbow tweets.

What we learned from the first ILGA-Europe gathering of d/Deaf and disabled LGBTI activists

An exciting two-day event with 11 D/deaf and disabled LGBTI activists from nine European countries in November 2019 gave everyone involved some crucial take-aways and key priorities for future movement building. There is a pressing need for ensuring that D/deaf and disabled LGBTI experiences are fully acknowledged, visible and represented in our work and they are in leading positions. ILGA-Europe's Senior Programmes & Policy Officer Valeria Santostefano shared with us the main takeaways and learnings in two blog posts.
Read here our first blog about our insights from the gathering.
Read here the second blog with 7 practical takeaways from the gathering.


Bodily integrity

Apply to attend the 5th International Intersex Forum

ILGA World and an organising committee of global intersex leaders are holding the 5th International Intersex Forum between 30 March and 3 April 2020 in Bangkok, Thailand. The 4-day Forum will bring together intersex activists, advocates and organisations from all world regions to strategise, exchange and learn from each other. General applications are open until 13:00 pm CET on 29 February 2020. If you want to get a scholarship to attend the forum, complete the form by 13:00 pm (CET) on 12 January 2020.


Equality and non-discrimination

Petition to call on Lithuanian government for trans inclusion

On the occasion of the Human Rights Day, trans activists in Lithuania launched an online petition to call on the government to include protection based on ‘gender identity’ and ‘gender expression’ in the proposed amendments to the Lithuanian Labour Code and the Law on Equal Opportunities. Last September, the Lithuanian Parliament began to review a new legislative proposal on Lithuanian Law of Equal Treatment amendments, initiated by the Office of the Equal Opportunities Ombudsperson.

ILGA World updates State-Sponsored Homophobia report

On the occasion of Human Rights Day, ILGA World launched an update to its latest State-Sponsored Homophobia report. The update to the Global Legislation Overview section of the report provides data on laws that affect people on the basis of their sexual orientation. Together with the Sexual Orientation Laws in the World map – which has also been updated to reflect the latest developments - they paint a vivid picture of the progress and setbacks that happened across the world in 2019.
Read more about the update and access the report.



Monaco approves the law on civil union for all couples

On 4 December, the National Council of Monaco unanimously adopted a bill allowing all couples to unite through a civil union contract. It will give rights related to illness and inheritance and allow couples to co-own a lease. "The legal regime of the contract has no effect on the rules of descent, of parental authority and on the rights of the child" said the National Council of Monaco. The recognition of civil unions will come into force after the promulgation of the text by Prince Albert II.
Read more about the new law on civil unions in Monaco (in French).
Read the draft law text.

Court in Croatia rules in favour of a same-sex couple to adopt a child

On 19 December, the Zagreb Administrative Court ruled that a same-sex couple, Ivo Segota and Mladen Kozic, can become foster parents after their application was turned down by the Social Services Centre. The Croatian couple's attorney, Sanja Bezbradica Jelavic, argued that keeping the two from becoming foster parents amounted to discrimination. Parallel to the legal battle over becoming foster parents, the couple is also fighting a decision that prevents them from adopting children. The verdict is still pending.
Read more from a news outlet.

“The new Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin’s going to be an able match for the far-right”

Raised in a rainbow family, 34-year-old Sanna Marin will lead a five-party coalition headed entirely by women in Finland. Her experience growing up with same-sex parents will shape her tenure as Finland’s youngest Prime Minister ever. “Finland will not be finished in four years but it can get better,” she said recently on social media. “That’s what we’re working on. I want to build a society where every child can become anything and every person can live and grow in dignity.”
Read more on our blog post.


Freedom of expression

Feminist activist charged with ‘anti- propaganda’ in Russia

On 11 December, the feminist activist Yulia Tsvetkova was found guilty of “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations to children” and is charged to pay a fine of 50,000 rubles because of being an admin of LGBTI online communities. Yulia is currently under home arrest and also faces criminal ‘pornography’ charges related to her drawings, which could result in a prison sentence of up to six years. The law used to bring these charges breaches international human rights standards and the fine, and Yulia’s house arrest gravely undermines fundamental rights. ILGA-Europe therefore condemned the judgement and sent a message of support to Yulia.

Hate speech and hate crime

Welcoming European Parliament resolution tackling the rise in hate against the LGBTI community

A resolution adopted by the European Parliament on 18 December made a strong call for an EU LGBTI strategy to counter the rise of official hate-speech and its consequences across the European Union. The resolution wraps up the debate on public discrimination and hate speech against LGBTI people that was held in plenary in Strasbourg on 26 November. The resolution calls on Poland to firmly condemn discrimination against LGBTI people and to revoke resolutions attacking LGBTI rights. The resolution also reiterates a call on the Commission to adopt an EU LGBTI strategy and a comprehensive, permanent and objective EU mechanism on democracy, rule of law and fundamental rights that includes the protection of LGBTI rights.

‘Bulgaria should counter harmful narratives endangering human rights’

Following her country visit to Bulgaria, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatović, said “The government should step up its efforts to fight the hate speech prevailing today in Bulgaria in particular against Roma, LGBTI people and other minority groups.” After meeting, among others, with LGBTI groups in the country, the Commissioner made clear note of the situation for LGBTI communities in Bulgaria and the government’s responsibility to address misinformation campaigns regarding human rights of all Bulgarians.

LGBTI community in Estonia has become a target for right-wing attacks

This autumn, the Estonian LGBTI community has come under increasing attack from far-right groups and politicians. In particular, the right wing party EKRE, which forms part of the governing coalition in Estonia, has been targeting LGBTI events and calling for the state to stop funding the Estonian LGBT Association. Far-right and religious groups have joined the call to ban state funding, and are spreading misinformation about trans people.



Georgia's Constitutional Court lifts ban on blood donation

LGBTI activists in Georgia legally challenged the 10-year ban for men who have sex with men and gay men from giving blood donations. The Constitutional Court declared on 17 December that the ban is discriminatory and unconstitutional. The Court postponed abolishment of the disputed provision until 31 March 2020.

Guidelines to human rights-based trans-specific healthcare

Transgender Europe (TGEU) shared this month a brand-new guideline for the creation of healthcare legislation and protocols that are compliant with human rights. The guidelines depict what trans-specific healthcare should look like. It provides concrete examples of what trans people’s rights look like and what should or shouldn’t happen in trans-specific healthcare. It provides a set of recommendations for the creation of legislation and protocols.

Legislative situation on LGBT rights and HIV in Turkmenistan

This month, Eurasian Coalition on Male Health (ECOM) published a report on legislative analysis related to LGBT rights and HIV in Turkmenistan. Analysis reviews identify the legal barriers for people living with HIV, gay men, other men who have sex with men and trans people in exercising their rights in different areas. Both legislation and law enforcement practices were analysed in terms of their compliance with the international and European standards.

New report: Sexual and reproductive rights of LGBTQ people in Europe

Inspire, the European Partnership for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights launched their new report entitled “Queering SRHR: Report on the state of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights of LGBTIQ people in Europe”. The report starts by examining the rights of LGBTIQ families within Europe and by mapping the current state of LGBTIQ-centred discrimination across the world. It then proceeds to analyse in depth the sexual and reproductive healthcare barriers and inequalities that affect the daily lives of LGBTIQ individuals.


Legal gender recognition

Supreme Court in Spain in favour of a minor to change legal gender

The Supreme Court in Spain ruled on 18 December in favour of a trans minor to change his gender marker in his ID, and endorsed for the first time this year’s Constitutional Court decision lifting the age limitation for legal gender recognition. Questions remain about the need for an assessment of “sufficient maturity and stable situation of transsexuality,” a condition set in the Constitutional Court sentence.

Notice board

Research network on intersex rights is looking for a project manager

An international research network called INIA has been established by the University of Huddersfield in partnership with the Université Libre de Bruxelles, Dublin City University, the University of Zurich, the Andalusian School of Public Health and the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. INIA will enable a consortium of 21 organisations from 10 countries to work together on issues relating to intersex people and those with variations of sex characteristics, in a unique multidisciplinary and transectoral network. They are now looking for a project manager for this project funded for 48 months at University of Huddersfield.

Applications open for the online course ‘Monitoring the Human Rights of LGBTI Persons’

The Global Campus of Human Rights organise every year a massive open online course on collecting information and documenting evidence of human rights violations against LGBTI persons. This year’s course will be held between 20 January and 1 March 2020 and include three modules: international definitions and legal frameworks, contexts and challenges, and monitoring in practice of LGBTI rights.

European Commission’s call for proposals on policy experimentations

The European Commission launched a new call for proposals for projects related “European Policy Experimentations in the fields of Education and Training led by high-level public authorities”. European policy experimentations are trans-national cooperation projects led by high-level public authorities. They involve testing the relevance, effectiveness, potential impact and scalability of policy measures through parallel field trials in different countries. The submission deadline for pre-proposals is 21 April 2020.
Read more about the call and apply for funding.

Football for everyone: Apply for grants

Fare and Football v Homophobia are joining forces to offer small grants to organisations around Europe hosting initiatives challenging prejudice and exclusion of LGBT+) people during the Football v Homophobia month of action in February. Up to €500 in grants are available to support activities that make football more inclusive and welcoming for all, and to increase the participation and representation of LGBT+ people in football.
Read more and apply here by 5 January 2020.