LGBTI equality and human rights in Europe and Central Asia

December 2021

Marking our 25th birthday, celebrating landmark court rulings, and much more...

Show your solidarity by giving 25 euro (or whatever you can afford) to mark 25 years of activism.

No. 315. December 2021. In this issue...


Equality and non-discrimination


Freedom of assembly

Hate crime and hate speech


Human rights defenders

Legal gender recognition

Notice board


Happy 25th birthday, ILGA-Europe!

Time flies! ILGA-Europe was founded at the 18th ILGA European Conference in Madrid held 27-31 December 1996. Over the holidays, tune in to our channels as our staff, board, members and supporters from throughout the years look back on 25 years of building a strong, unified and resilient European LGBTI movement, taking huge strides forward for LGBTI rights and equality. Today, as anti-LGBTI forces across Europe are gaining strength, our vital work must continue.
Show your solidarity by giving 25 euro (or whatever you can afford) to mark 25 years of activism, and help our commitment to a future when all LGBTI people will live in equality.

Three exciting opportunities to join our Programmes Team

There are currently 3 exciting opportunities to join ILGA-Europe’s Programmes Team. Do you want to lead ILGA-Europe’s efforts to ensure the LGBTI movement has the funding, knowledge and skills they need? Consider becoming our next Programmes Director (apply by 17 January). Do you enjoy supporting organisations and activists in their efforts to shape public narratives, raise awareness and change public attitudes? Apply for the position of Senior Programmes Officer (deadline 10 January). Are you good at organising learning and coaching activities to support LGBTI activists’ communications work? Consider applying for a temporary consultancy opportunity (deadline 17 January).

New resources on supporting LGBTI migrants

To mark International Migrants Day, we have published two key resources for LGBTI organisations who wish to support migrants, both in their country of departure and their destination country. You can read the resources on The Hub, ILGA-Europe’s free resource sharing centre for LGBTI activists in Europe and Central Asia.

5 profound lessons we learned from working with disabled LGBTI activists and organisations

Making our work more inclusive is at the core of ILGA-Europe’s purpose. This is especially true in the case of disabled LGBTI people, who continue to be marginalised in our movement. In 2019 we hosted a gathering of 11 of D/deaf and disabled LGBTI activists from nine countries throughout the European region who clarified their priorities with us: connecting voices, visibility, educating organisations, and the fundamental necessity for D/deaf and disabled LGBTI people to lead this work. Following this initiative, we launched a funding call aimed at developing projects that would support activism at this intersection. In a new blog, we share some of our learnings from working alongside disabled LGBTI activists.

Equality and non-discrimination

EU holds firm in face of Hungary’s blatant lies surrounding anti-LGBTI law

On 2 December, the European Commission began the second phase of its infringement procedure against EU member state, Hungary, due to discriminatory amendments adopted on 23 June in the country, which ban the "portrayal and the promotion of gender identity different from sex at birth, the change of sex and homosexuality”. Hungary now has two months to remedy the breaches identified by the Commission. If they do not amend the law to remove the breaching anti-LGBTI provisions, then the Commission will refer the case to the CJEU.

Hungary’s anti-LGBT amendments incompatible with international human rights standards says Venice Commission

On 14 December, the constitutional law experts of the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission published their opinion on Hungary’s June 2021 law which targets LGBT people: the law breaches the ECHR, and democratic and rule of law standards. “The Venice Commission recalls that gender as a component of personal identity and homosexuality as a variation of sexual orientation, are protected under the ECHR and as such, cannot be deemed contrary to morals by public authorities, in the sense of Article 10§2 of ECHR.” Taking into account the democratic requirement of a fair and proper treatment of minorities, and the lack of reasonable and objective criteria to justify the anti-LGBT prohibitions in the law, the Venice Commission confirms the law discriminates on the basis of SOGI.

The far-right party VOX attempts to deny a wide range of rights to LGBTI people in Madrid

On 15 December, ILGA-Europe sent a letter to Spain’s Partido Popular, concerning a vote on 16 December in the Madrid regional assembly, requesting them to reject a parliamentary draft which would remove or water down the LGTBI Law and the Trans Law. Both laws were passed in 2016 with a wide consensus within the regional chamber. The draft was brought into parliament by the far-right party VOX, and can only be turned down if the Partido Popular rejects it. (Photo by Zarateman)

Alarming new research shows how LGBTI people are affected every day by inequality

Recent data shows that LGBTI young people perceive the labour market with fear and that most of LGBTI youth living with their families have experienced violence in different parts of Europe. These are among the alarming facts related to the impact of inequality and oppression in LGBTI communities, as identified through ILGA-Europe’s No One Left Behind initiative, which supported projects addressing socio-economic barriers for LGBTI communities in Europe and Central Asia. (Photo credit: Sand Crain / Unsplash)

Joint NGO letter concerning human rights and rule of law violations of Poland and Hungary

On 8 December, ILGA-Europe joined Amnesty and 16 other civil society organisations to call on the EU General Affairs Council and upcoming French Presidency to clearly state what is expected from Hungary and Poland authorities to remedy the long list of human rights and rule of law violations as part of the Article 7 (1) TEU procedure.

Civil society calls on the EU to put fundamental rights first in the Artificial Intelligence Act

On 30 November, 115 civil society organisations, including ILGA-Europe, European Digital Rights (EDRi) and others launched a collective statement to call for an Artificial Intelligence Act (AIA) which foregrounds fundamental rights. Artificial intelligence (AI) systems are increasingly being used in all areas of public life. However, the lack of adequate regulation on the development and deployment of AI-powered technology poses a threat to our digital and human rights. That is why the European Union (EU) institutions' proposal for an AIA is a globally significant step. But the AIA must address the structural, societal, political and economic impacts of the use of AI. This will ensure that the law is future-proof, and prioritises the protection of fundamental rights.


Top EU court recognises relationship of same-sex parents and their children under EU law

On 14 December, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ruled that if one EU member state recognises a parental relationship between a child and its parents, then all member states should, in order to give the child it’s right to freedom of movement. The CJEU ruled that it is contrary to the fundamental rights for the child to be deprived of the relationship with one of her parents when exercising her right of free movement or for her exercise of that right to be made impossible or excessively difficult on the ground that her parents are of the same sex. The ruling asserts that the Bulgarian authorities are obliged to issue an identity card or a passport to Baby Sara, which all other EU Member States are obliged to recognise.

Freedom of assembly

“Authorities failed to prevent IDAHOT event from the violent counter-demonstration in Georgia” the Court rules

On 16 December, the European Court Of Human Rights (ECHR) issued a judgment on the case of WISG and Others v Georgia, concerning homophobic attacks and violence against the peaceful demonstrators and LGBTI activists during the IDAHOT March in 2013. The Court found violation of Article 3 (prohibition of torture, inhuman and degrading treatment) together with Article 14 (non-discrimination) due to authorities’ failure to prevent IDAHOT event from the violent counter-demonstration, referring to the “indications of official acquiescence, connivance and even active participation in individual acts motivated by prejudice.” The Court further found that the authorities failed their obligations under violation of Article 11 (freedom of assembly) together with Article 14 (non-discrimination) by omitting to put in place effective measures to protect the applicants and ensuring peaceful gathering.

Hate crime and hate speech

European Commission includes LGBTI people in initiative to tackle hate crime and hate speech

On 9 December, with its initiative to tackle hate crime and hate speech across the European Union, the European Commission has recognised ever-growing violence and hate speech against LGBTI people by including sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics (SOGIESC) as protected grounds in the second step of the initiative. By doing so, the Commission has drawn attention to the prevalence of bias motivated violence and incitement against LGBTI people due to historical and structural discrimination and oppression, and sends a signal to the criminal justice system, potential perpetrators and victims of hate crime or hate speech that hate crime and hate speech against LGBTI people should be taken seriously.

New ECHR judgment concerning failure of authorities in Moldova to investigate a homophobic attack

On 14 December, the European Court of Human Rights issued a judgment in a case concerning failure of authorities in Moldova to investigate violence against a man who was the victim of a homophobic attack, on the grounds of sexual orientation. The court stressed that “The absence of such a meaningful investigation undermines public confidence in the State’s anti-discrimination policy”, and found a violation of Article 3 (prohibition of torture, procedural limb) and Article 14 (non-discrimination).


French parliament voted to ban so-called conversion therapy

On 14 December, France's parliament voted to ban so-called conversion therapy which are practices that seek to change a person's sexual orientation or gender identity. Under the proposed legislation, people offering “conversion therapy” could be jailed for up to two years and fined 30,000 euros, with even tougher sentences if under-18s or vulnerable adults were involved. The bill needs to be signed by the President before coming into effect.

Human rights defenders

Council of Europe’s new report on current challenges faced by LGBTI human rights defenders

On 9 December, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatović published a comprehensive report on the challenges faced by LGBTI human rights defenders in Europe. The report mentions restrictions on civil society and their impact on LGBTI human rights defenders, “anti-gender” and “anti-transgender” narratives, the COVID-19 pandemic, other challenges that LGBTI people face.

Meet these powerful activists in the intersection of LGBTI and disabilities

This International Day of Persons With Disabilities, ILGA-Europe had interviews with Dina, Ingrid and Louise; three LGBTI activists with disabilities based in different parts of Europe. They’re fighting for disabled LGBTI people to have a seat in LGBTI movements, and for equal rights in society. They told us about their aims and activism, and how everyone can be an ally under their motto: Nothing about us without us!

Legal gender recognition

New strategy to support gender identity services in Scotland

On 20 December, the Scottish Government launched a brand-new three year strategic action framework for transforming gender identity services. The Strategic Action Framework includes a series of commitments which will support and fund new work to address waiting times for accessing services, bring gender identity services within national waiting times standards, support new multidisciplinary models of delivering care, increase support available for people waiting to access services, improve collection of data and develop national standards for services, and provide a sustainable platform for gender identity service improvement from 2022.

Notice board

New EU funding to support cancer screening, diagnosis and care

LGBTIQ populations experience increased stigma and discrimination in healthcare settings, including with respect to cancer care, though there remains little data about incidence rates or mortality. A new EU funding stream within EU4Health, focused on breast, colorectal and cervical cancer screening programmes, provides an important opportunity to increase available data and improve detection services.
Read more and apply before 17 February 2022.

ILGA World is hiring for the position of Membership and Admin Officer

ILGA World seeks a Membership and Admin Officer to manage, develop and grow ILGA World’s membership, as well as manage the operations of the Geneva-based office. The role of the Membership and Admin officer is to support the membership of over 1,700 organisations worldwide, support regional offices with membership matters, manage the database (CRM), and develop process related to membership. Deadline for applications is Friday 21 January 2022, 1pm CET.
Read more and apply.

OII Europe is looking for a Policy Officer and Senior Policy Officer

OII Europe is looking for a 60% (24h/week) Policy Officer and a full time (40h/week) Senior Policy Officer to strengthen their policy team. Fields of advocacy will include, among others, intersex genital mutilation; gender based and domestic violence; hate speech and hate crime; inclusion of intersex people in anti-discrimination and victims’ rights policies and legislative frameworks; access to justice; societal and legal recognition of intersex people.

ESWA has two job vacancies

European Sex Workers' Rights Alliance - ESWA is recruiting a part-time Campaign and Communication Officer and a part-time Researcher. The Campaign and Communication Officer will be responsible for developing and leading campaigns for sex workers’ rights using our newly developed website and managing the organisation’s external communication. The Researcher will develop, lead and write research on access to justice and support the development of other resources related to ESWA Advocacy Priorities (including health, migration, gender, anti-racism, trafficking and digital rights).

IGLYO is seeking a Communications Officer

IGLYO is seeking a Communications Officer with skills in content creation for social media and copywriting. They are looking for a pro-active, communicative and LGBTQI policy-savvy person, wishing to lead the IGLYO team into strategic and effective communication, and bringing the added abilities and skills necessary for good design, video making, and maintaining websites.